Inbetweeners 2: the law of diminishing returns

Film

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Let’s clear one thing up from the start. Filmmaking and storytelling is hard and one of the hardest of the lot is comedy. When the Inbetweeners first aired as a TV show it made waves. The comedy was well observed, the characters were brilliant and the interplay between the four main actors was the show’s secret weapon.

A film version was a gamble, but a calculated one. And it paid off massively. So… a sequel was inevitable. The trouble is, many would argue that this sort of quick fire, gross out comedy is best in short doses. Over the length of a film (even a short one) it doesn’t hold up. Well the first film proved it can work… just about.

But what of the sequel?

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Well, it has its moments. For the first film Will (Simon Bird), Simon (Joe Thomas), Jay (James Buckley) and Neil (Blake Harrison) went on a lad’s holiday to Malia. This time round they cross off the next rite of passage and attempt to do a ‘gap yah’ and go travelling.

A sequel is no easy thing in comedy. If your first film is a hit then the pressure is on. Audiences want more of the same but also fresh laughs, new gags – all that jazz. To be fair to the writer-directors Damon Beesley and Iain Morris they do try and deliver on both fronts.

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Like the first one, Will quickly befriends a ridiculously pretty English girl (Laura Haddock in the original, Emily Berrington here – the latter most recently seen in 24: Live Another Day). She’s out his league and he fails to realise it (or fit in) with the traveller way of life.

The story loosely revolves around Jay wanting to go in search of his ex-girlfriend from the first film who’s somewhere in the outback. This leads the lads to Byron bay and a water park (as Will pursues his love interest), then into the wilderness (as Jay pursues his).

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It’s clear the four leads haven’t lost the chemistry they had in the TV show and the first film, and some of the gags and set pieces go down a treat (look out for an excruciating song round a campfire), but there definitely feels as if there’s been a loss of momentum. Some of the comedy feels forced and the story isn’t perhaps as strong or focused as the first film.

Some of the quieter moments where the lads cut the banter and allow some drama to seep in work really well and help contrast the comedy. Had there been more of this it would have made the story much stronger, as you really do feel for their characters as there’s an inherent sweetness to them (yes, even when they’re puking and shitting everywhere).

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It perhaps just feels like the writers have had the world grow up around them, but kept the lads stuck in an adolescent timewarp. Or maybe they’ve just taken these characters as far as they can go. Either way, it was a solid sequel, but it’s time to call time on these loveable briefcase wankers.

May they grow up (or not) in peace.

 

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