But, thankfully, it’s not. The Inbetweeners 2 is incredibly funny, so much so that it’s actually better than its predecessor.
The Inbetweeners 2 opens up focusing on three of our four leads, with Neil now a workingman whilst Simon and Will are at university. Despite the group’s lives moving on past school, they’re still very much the same people they always were (Will and Simon haven’t made any new friends), except now they all feel a bit miserable with the direction that their lives are taking. But then the final member of the quartet, Jay, pops up through an email and informs the lads via an over-stylised and over-the-top fantasy sequence, introducing himself as a womanising, Koala-beating superstar DJ in Australia. It’s very funny. The trio want in on the action, and decide to visit Jay over Easter, at which point things really get going.
And get going it does, as The Inbetweeners 2 moves along at a rapid pace, with Will’s chance encounter with an old and very attractive school friend (Emily Berrington) setting the boys off an adventure across Australia that’ll see them get covered in pretty much every bodily fluid there is. Apart from cum. No spunk problems to be seen here.
Writing duo Iain Morris and Damon Beesley also take on directorial duties this time around, and they put in a confident, pacey effort that proves to be a success. Kudos must be especially given for a particular shot that lingers just long enough to pull out the laughs (featuring Neil) that is almost as excruciating as watching Solomon Northrup in that lingering shot from ’12 Years A Slave’. Well, sort of.
The entire central quartet pull out great performances. Neil (Blake Harrison) is as gormless and endearing as ever, Simon (Joe Thomas) is still the master of throwing hissy fits and being pissed off, whilst Jay (James Buckley) is still excellent at being delivering his usual shtick, but thankfully there is some heart to the performance (perhaps Jay has ulterior motives for travelling to Australia…) that keeps the relentless Jay-spiel “Top bunk wanker” from wearing thin. But, as with the original TV series, at the centre is Will (Simon Bird), who still holds on to his duty as narrator. Bird steals the show with his rendition of ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’ and his OTT bodily-fluid antics at a water park. Indeed, the water park sequence is so gross that it may be pushing the boundary a bit too much for some, but, personally, I thought it was hilarious.
The Inbetweeners 2 is a great film. It’s definitely the funniest film of 2014 so far. That said, it’s not all funny, with a section featuring a dolphin, and an in-car conversation about fish food, falling totally flat. Furthermore, the final third of the film where the lads get lost in the outback does, apart from the odd gag, drag quite bit. As a result, the film’s pace, along with it’s laugh per minute rate, drops severely. Which is a shame. But it’s not a major issue, because the rest of The Inbetweeners 2 is so ‘Top Bants’ (you’ll get it when you see it) that you can’t help but enjoy yourself. Although Simon Bird has said in an interview that this will be the final outing for the boys, the film looks set to shatter even more commercial records for a UK comedy than its predecessor, so don’t be surprised to see a third outing. After all, as film critic Chris Hewitt said, ‘Isn’t everything a trilogy these days?’
Words: Lucas Fothergill