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The Inbetweeners 2 movie is spun off from the popular Channel 4 sitcom, and its lead characters are all in their late teens, but the actors playing them now range in age from 26 to 30. So, how much longer can the stars of The Inbetweeners convincingly pass for in-between?
The original show was about the everyday horror of being stranded between childhood and adulthood. Adolescence comes with obsolescence built in. Happily, they’re not past it quite yet, although fans of the series will be aware that these characters won’t be with us for much longer, so there is hope that their final appearance will do them justice. The Inbetweeners 2 movie makes that hope come true.
The Inbetweeners 2 movie is mostly set in Australia, and like the first movie taking place on a package tour to Malia, the plot is prompted by a group holiday. Jay (James Buckley), who is mid-way through a gap year in Australia, emails his former classmates inviting them to come and experience his loud and libidinous new life. The message, as sweetly gullible Neil (Blake Harrison) reads the message aloud and Jay picks up the narration, says that Jay is swaggering around a mansion crammed with half-nude supermodels in a Scorsese-spoofing tracking shot. Of course, Neil and his former school friends Will (Simon Bird) and Simon (Joe Thomas) fly out immediately to Sydney to meet Jay. Then, Jay’s claims of a playboy lifestyle quickly unravel and undeterred. The foursome decide to travel north to the resort town of Byron Bay, lured by the same phantasm hope of sex that has driven every raunchy teen comedy from Animal House to American Pie and beyond.
The original Inbetweeners movie was paced and shot like a triple-length episode of the sitcom, and resultantly began to flag after an hour or so. Still, this early sequence hints that the sequel has bigger, more filmic ambitions, which it goes on to breezily live up to. In fact, The Inbetweeners 2 full movie has been directed with unexpected dash, and it fits cleanly into that genre. Perhaps, the biggest compliment you could pay the movie, apart from being hysterically funny, is that it is unmistakably movie with a smoothly arcing plot and gross-out moments staged with the verve and ceremony of an action-movie set-piece.
The Inbetweeners 2 sound track by Purcell makes a kind-of-bold-new-high-for-comedy-in-the-cinema scene becomes hilarious when it’s staged at hideous length, in slow-ish motion, with the panic ramped up. That’s a scene shaking your gut as well as wrenching it.nLater, when the four boys find themselves utterly alone in the Outback, and the background noise fades down to almost nothing, the movie momentarily strays into Waiting for Godot territory, and you can’t help but be impressed by its easy self-assurance. Not fitting in has seldom looked so confident.