I’m trying, folks, I am really trying, but I can’t think of the last comedy I saw that made me laugh less than The Inbetweeners Movie. A reprehensible as it was, That’s My Boy gave me a few chuckles. Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie made me laugh, albeit just twice. I managed only a single, solitary smirk during The Inbetweeners Movie, at a failed attempt to slap a dude’s balls, and only because the many successful ball-slaps preceding it had established a pattern of predictable buffoonery.
The Inbetweeners Movie, I have been made aware, is based on a British television series called “The Inbetweeners,” which was presumably popular enough to warrant its own film. From this information I can determine one of two things: either the show was a lot funnier than this, or I have no idea what British people like anymore. Has tea been outlawed? Are the “Doctor Who" ratings in the gutter? Is this what we get now, an American Pie riff without the geniality or (perhaps mercifully) the oppressively conservative shame? The “Inbetweeners” guys don’t experience much guilt or embarrassment from their attempted sexual escapades, but unlike the American Pie cast they really should. They’re kind of horrible people.
Recent high school graduates Will (Simon Bird), Jay (James Buckley), Neil (Blake Armstrong) and Simon (Joe Thomas) are dorks on vacation in Malia, Greece. They’re out to get laid, because half of them are virgins at least, and to help Simon get over his recent breakup with his high school sweetheart Carli (Emily Head), who also happens to be vacationing in the same spot. Whoops. That’s wacky.
Their adventures are foul, contemptuous and awkwardly paced. Jay’s a sex-driven fiend without neither the success ratio or innate innocence necessary to make the character trait acceptable. Neil constantly finds loopholes allowing him to cheat on his girlfriend (if only the tip goes in, it must be okay), Simon won’t shut up about Carli even when confronted with a nicer, prettier and more available love interest, and Will’s the kind of over-intelligent self-deprecating loser we’d root for if he wasn’t a hypocritical snob all the time. They repeatedly run into a quartet of young women whom they constantly abuse in one form or another, and who inevitably fall for their nonexistent charms. Children are drowned, handicapped people cry at the cruelty of their antics, random women feel molested, and slightly overweight women are repeatedly insulted. Oh, the hilarity.
I’m hoping, in my naïveté, that the “Inbetweeners” television series established these characters in a kinder light, so that their adventures in this film will seem like forgivable, even likable escapades to existing fans. To noobs like myself, it’s a torturous motion picture experience that I don’t recommend to anybody more mature than the protagonists. I sincerely hope that’s most of us.