It has been forever the staple of British TV comedy that when the dust settles on the half-hour formula then there follows a feature film where the characters inevitably go on holiday.
It was the same for On the Buses, Are You Being Served? and Kevin and Perry Go Large before them which marked a disastrous nadir to each of those franchises, so there was an understandable sense of trepidation when it was announced that the four lads from Rudge Park Comprehensive – Will (Simon Bird), Simon (Joe Thomas), Jay (James Buckley) and Neil (Blake Harrison) – were ditching the school bags for some cinematic 18-30 action in Malia on the island of Crete.
One of the most appealing aspects of the success of E4’s homegrown hit is that for all the scatalogical and prurient antics of the group (particularly Jay and Neil) the four characters were inherently schoolboys: punching above their weight, showing their inept immaturity when it came the opposite sex and always finding someway of turning every potential sexual encounter into a disastrous and embarassing failure.
So the threat of sun, sea, sangria and clunge is perhaps a more apt and less shoe-horned concept than the comedy shows of the past (even Kevin and Perry seemed somewhat out of place as DJs in Ibiza).
Cue four new female characters (Laura Haddock excelling as Will’s foil Alison) to act as catalysts for the boys initial clumsy fumblings but ultimate triumph against a backdrop of evil club reps, boat parties, local non-swimming children and a handicapped girl who “doesn’t even need a sun-lounger!”.
What is perhaps brave of the distributors is the inclusion of the extended cut (bizarrely termed The Writer’s Cut) which moves the certification of the Blu-ray up to an 18 (the DVD is the theatrical cut and hence stays a 15) and thus potentially denying Christmas present buying parents the chance of including it as a stocking filler for the target audience.
Irreverent and amusing, it’s definitely worth a watch once the memories of the summer holiday are long since past and though Mr Gilbert (Greg Davies) still doesn’t get a big enough share of the running time after his superb leaving speech, the core concepts of The Inbetweeners are very much apparent and ultimately create an excellent send-off for the characters and show (until the inevitable sequel is green-lit in a summer to come).
Extras: The offending extra scenes are unsurprisingly Jay-centric and – whilst often funny – are necessary omissions from the already slightly sagging running time of the original. Other extras include deleted scenes, bloopers and a look at the London premiere as well as slightly more “filler” featurettes such as Joe Thomas: Dangerman and Things We Did Instead of Rehearsing. Both the DVD and the Blu-ray also feature a ‘making of’ documentary which is nearly as long as the movie itself.
Released on DVD and Blu-ray on Monday 12th December 2011 by 4DVD.
Watch the trailer for The Inbetweeners Movie…