After such healthy returns at the box office and DVD market, whether you wanted another Inbetweeners movie or not is a little out of your control. But then, as much as people roll their eyes and say that the cash cow’s udders are dry, sometimes it’s hard to resist the lure of puerile escapism. Make no mistake about it, The Inbetweeners 2 offers puerile escapism by the bucketload.
Will, Simon, Jay and Neil once again leave the comfortable confines of their relatively idyllic and unknowing suburban lives, this time heading for the land down under (on the most flimsy of pretences, mind you, but again, what do you expect?) for what they hope will be a wild old time of birds, booze and bonking.
Jay, on a gap year in Oz and ever the teller of tall tales, regales the trio back home with his exploits as the country’s hottest new dancefloor filler: DJ Big Penis. Obviously, he’s shagging his share of supermodels, living in a mansion and wiping his arse with money. Impressed by his story, the three homeboys decide to jump ahead a few pages of the script and book, arrange and pay for a four-week trip to the other side of the world.
Look, I’m not saying we need ultra-realism in every movie, but the record shows that these boys can’t even buy a bag of crisps without getting tangled in some out-there existential crisis, so it just seems a bit out of place.
Sure enough, it turns out Jay’s bragging was a lot of old nonsense (with justification, but that’s a major plot point!) and the quartet soon find themselves on familiar ground: getting into scrapes with the locals, following their dicks when it comes to girls and a load of gags (almost literally) involving shit and vomit.
Remaining too are the series’ lifeblood of jokes: Neil’s dad is “bent”, Will’s mum is “fit” (she really is) and there’s even a cameo for their sociopathic former teacher Mr Gilbert, who as per takes the boys to task with his sharp tongue.
Points are awarded for the movie’s parodic slant on the liberal sprinkling of idiots that backpacking tends to include. Will’s love interest, Katie (played by Emily Berrington), is top dog in these stakes; her constant shiny-happy-goodness and “Oh I drank soooo much last night” demeanor should remind us all of somebody we love to hate.
It’s hard to find some kind of balance when casting a critical eye over films like this. Play it too serious (i.e. “This isn’t Citizen Kane and I don’t like it!”) and you risk outing yourself as an absolute moron. Play it too off-the-cuff and people end up wondering why you bothered in the first place. You can essentially boil it down to two outcomes: if, for some insane reason, you have zero knowledge of this series and decide to see it on a whim, you might not be too impressed. If you’ve enjoyed the series and first film you know exactly what to expect.
That being said, let’s hope this is the last we see of them. School-based shows have a tendency to carry on with their actors nearly at middle age (Happy Days, I’m looking at you here!). But hey, when the money’s rolling in who gives a fig for logic?