One of the films this year that I was both looking forward to and was trepidatious about has been The Inbetweeners 2. Being a teenager in the UK I am a fan of The Inbetweeners and I thought that the first film was one of the only good films based on a TV show so I knew that a good film could be made. At the same time, The Inbetweeners Movie was also a pretty clear end to the series, serving as a cap up to the characters meaning that there wasn't a real need for a sequel, with further warning signs being raised due to the film not being screened for critics, and since the last films not screened for critics were Mrs Browns Boys D'Movie and Pudsey the Dog: The Movie. My worries though were unfounded as The Inbetweeners 2 is a really funny film.
The plot takes place a few months after the events of the first film with Will and Simon at university, Neil working in a bank and Jay taking a gap year in Australia. After getting an email from Jay which goes into his life in Australia (which he is obviously lying about, with the acting out of the email reminding me a lot of The Wolf of Wall Street), Will, Simon and Neil decide to go there. Whilst there, Will bumps into an old friend from before the events of the series, Katie, and he tries to fit into her backpacking group. Alongside this, there is also the issue of Simon's girlfriend from the first film, Lucy, becoming very possessive of Simon and Simon wants to end the relationship, along with finding out the real reason why Jay chose to take his gap year in Australia. One of the problems I have with the film comes through how it seems to ignore a lot of the character development that happened in the first film, mainly in regards to Will. One of the most important elements of the first film was his relationship with Alison and how that helped to improve his personality, but in this film, it is just hand-waved off, with Alison not even being mentioned by name and there are a lot of missed opportunities that come from the removal of the character, especially with the introduction of Katie. It feels a lot like the decision to remove Alison was last minute due to the actress that played her, Laura Haddock, being cast as Meredith Quill in Guardians of the Galaxy. There is also an issue in regards to Lucy, which also feels like a step back from the first film. The whole point of Lucy in the first film was to show that Simon's obsession with Carli was making him blind to how nice Lucy was and how she was a much better person that Carli, but with Lucy becoming a possessive girlfriend here it feels like Simon's whole character arc in the first film was pointless. That said, there are a lot of elements that do work. I really like the clash between the more touristy side of travelling represented by the leads and the backpackers, with this also leading into one of Will's best rants concerning the overall hypocrisy of backpacking. The main element of the film that works is the one that needed to work the most, the comedy. The Inbetweeners has always been a top example of cringe comedy and that trend continues here, with this film having some of the funniest examples of cringe comedy to be seen, in particular a scene where Will plays a White-Guy-With-Acoustic-Guitar song incredibly badly. Aside from the cringe humour there are also great scenes of gross-out humour, with this film being one of the rare films that makes gross-out humour work, in particular a scene involving a water park slide. I also really like how the film uses on-location shooting and how it doesn't shy away from the more dangerous elements of Australia, mainly a scene set in the Outback, which serves as both funny and touching at the same time.
Another thing that really works is the cast. Simon Bird, Joe Thomas, James Buckley and Blake Harrison perfectly embody each of the characters, with the chemistry between the four being excellent and each one gets some great comedy moments, with the standout in terms of humour being Harrison as Neil, who generates the biggest laughs in the film. Out of all of them though, the standout in this film is Buckley as Jay, with the film giving Jay great character development over his relationship with Jane from the first film and how that fell apart, mainly shown by a lip wobble that shows how facial ticks can make for great humour and the film goes to great lengths to show how damaging his family has been to him and we see him become a better person over the course of the film. Bird meanwhile gets some of his most cringeworthy moments that perfectly fit the character, along with having one of Will's best rants. There are also good performances from Emily Berrington as Katie, who brilliantly shows the hypocrisy that can be seen amongst some backpackers and the chemistry that she has with Bird is great, which adds to the idea of them being a couple, along with her showing that Katie is, on the whole, not a nice person. Freddie Stroma is also good as Ben, brilliantly playing the upper class dick who thinks that he understands what he sees when he just seems to be exploiting them for his own means, whilst Tamla Kari brilliantly shows how possessive Lucy has become and how toxic she is to Simon. There are also great appearances by Belinda Stewart-Wilson as Will's mum, Martin Trenaman and Robin Weaver as Simon's parents and David Schaal and David Field as Jay's dad and uncle.
Overall, The Inbetweeners 2 is a good, funny film, which does provide a good close to The Inbetweeners. Whilst I think the first film is better on the whole on a character level, and I still think there was no reason for this film to be made, along with there being quite a few wasted elements from the first film, the humour is excellent, the on-location shooting gives it a real cinematic feel and the cast is excellent, with James Buckley being the standout. This is another one of the rare comedies based on a TV show that works.
My Rating: 3.5/5