The Inbetweeners Movie: Four boys become men

Entertainment

Hailing from the small, virtually unknown London suburb of Ruislip, I thrive on little claims to fame. So when I first saw The Inbetweeners in 2008, I was over the moon. Filmed at Ruislip High School, it flawlessly encapsulated the dynamic of London lad culture: the banter, the booze, and most importantly, the birds. But when I heard about The Inbetweeners Movie, I must admit: I had my doubts.

For those that have never watched The Inbetweeners, it’s a British sitcom with a simple concept: four eighteen year-old boys struggle to achieve respect in suburbia. They repeatedly and hilariously fail. It’s lewd, crude, and has you cringing in your seat — but it hits the nail directly on the head. The writers, Damon Beesley and Iain Morris (called “the fourth and fifth Inbetweeners” by co-star James Buckley), know exactly when and where to draw the line, and they write from personal experience. It’s probably for that reason that it’s been nominated twice for a BAFTA and won Best Sitcom in the British Comedy Awards this year. Catchphrases like “bus wankers”, “bumder”, “car friend” and “clunge” have become so engrained in popular culture that they should probably be given their own dictionary entries.

But despite the success of the sitcom, I wasn’t convinced that it would make the cut at the Box Office. It’s not in every sitcom that a boy marches proudly down a catwalk with one testicle hanging loose, vomits on a child’s head, or punches an innocent fish to death. “A lot of the comedy of The Inbetweeners is the comedy of horrible, squirming embarrassment,” said TV critic Mark Lawson. It’s absolutely true. But I had my doubts that this ‘comedy of embarrassment’ would translate well onto the silver screen.

I was wrong. On its first day of release, The Inbetweeners Movie grossed more than £2.5 million, outperforming Cowboys and Aliens. From the minute it began, I could see why. For fans of the show, it tied up loose ends; for newcomers, it was an instant hit. Mingled laughs and shrieks filled the cinema as we watched Jay (Buckley) sitting stark naked in a snorkelling mask, furiously masturbating — only for his mother to walk in and tell him that his grandfather has died. An unforgettably ghastly opening sequence — and a stroke of true Inbetweeners genius. Morris and Beesley do not disappoint: the movie is as vulgar as the show, this time with the added shock of full-frontal nudity.

But it also has some unexpected emotional weight. After watching the four boys cling to the bottom rung of the social ladder for three seasons, we finally see them earn respect not just from girls, but from each other. You can’t help but cheer when geeky, bespectacled Will (Simon Bird) finally gets a kiss from the beautiful Alison (Laura Haddock). It’s clichéd, but we love it. Simon’s (Joe Thomas) obsession with childhood friend Carli (Emily Head) becomes more than a little trying — something that carries over from the show — but he’s so adorable, and Thomas’ delivery so good, that I soon forgave him. But it was Neil (Blake Harrison) that made the film for me: “I used to believe in God. Then I realised it was just ‘dog’ spelled backwards”. Classic Neil, and classic Inbetweeners.

So if you can’t decide between comedy, romance and softcore porn this weekend, The Inbetweeners Movie is probably for you. Which may or may not be good thing. And remember to take your wellies: you’ll be knee-deep in clunge.

 

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