The Inbetweeners 2 review: Bigger and bolder, if not quite better (brilliant!)

Against the odds, The Inbetweeners sequel just about gets away with it

Film Title: The Inbetweeners 2

Director: Damon Beesley , Iain Morris

Starring: Simon Bird, James Buckley, Blake Harrison, Joe Thomas, Belinda Stewart-Wilson

Genre: Comedy

Running Time: 97 min

Thu, Aug 7, 2014, 21:24

   

The sequel to the most startling box-office smash of recent years collapses over the finishing line with barely a breath of air still in its lungs. That’s enough, methinks.

By most sane reckonings, The Inbetweeners 2 shouldn’t work at all. The lead actors are all closing in on 30 and, though they are now playing third-level students, the dynamic is still very much that of the school form-room. (Brilliant!)

Moreover, the folk behind the continuing franchise cannot be questioned on their dearth of imagination. Following a tradition established in the 1970s, the cast of the hit sitcom were, as a way of making the first feature seem less constrained, sent off on a not particularly glamorous holiday.

Bigger and bolder, if not quite better, The Inbetweeners 2 offers only slight variation by dispatching the blokes to a more distant location. We are in Australia, a country that allows any number of broad “down under” jokes (brilliant!) and endless opportunity for noisy drunkenness.

It’s not even as if they bothered to honour the series’ own conventions. The new picture begins with worried Simon (Joe Thomas), anal Will (Simon Bird) and thick Neil (Blake Harrison) perusing an email from priapic Jay (Simon Cooper). The self-proclaimed swordsman has emigrated to Australia and, if this missive is to be believed, now owns a nightclub, lives in a mansion and regularly juggles amorous advances from one Minogue or another.

Of course, we (and they) know by now that Jay is not to be believed. Nonetheless, without bothering to reply, they travel to Australia, where they discover their pal working in a lavatory and living in a tent. (Brilliant!)

Against the odds, however, the Inbetweeners mob just about gets away with it. Simon’s dry asides remain caustically withering; Jay’s sexist banter is still undermined by his poorly concealed vulnerability; and Neil continues to be an amusingly cretinous beanpole.

The film is to be particularly commended for composing a deliciously vicious attack on the pompous, dreadlocked, middle-class traveller who prides himself on being “a spiritual person”. While sitting around a campfire, offering negative emotions to the songlines, one such goon tells Will that there are “no wrong answers”.

Our hero bristles. “Well, clearly there are,” he says, before suggesting more than a few. (Brilliant!)

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