Somewhere in between tiresome and loathsome, the Brit teen comedy The Inbetweeners might raise a few sniggers with fans and its target audience of 17-year-old boys, but it’s too gross, too blunt, too puerile to provide much entertainment for anyone else. Yes, it does manage to capture some of the dreadful awkwardness of being a not-quite-man, but, let’s face it, the world of hormone and alcohol fuelled boys behaving badly is not a pretty sight.
Based on the sit-com of the same name, the ‘inbetweeners’ are four friends – Will, Simon, Jay and Neil, who have all managed to somehow complete the last year of school. Just as their Aussie counterparts might head to the Gold Coast for schoolies week, they decide on an ultra-cheap package holiday in Crete. Wearing matching pink t-shirts emblazoned with the words “Pussay Patrol” it’s clear what they are after – and standing between them and the many objects of their desire are a number of obstacles – mainly their dreadful personalities. Simon is depressed after breaking up with his girlfriend Carli, and the only conversation he can make is about her. Permanently chirpy Neil has decidedly flexible relationship ethics and spends most of the film chasing distinctly low-class middle-aged skirt. Jay is the foul-mouthed extrovert of the group, ensuring the humour and energy of the film comes from the bottom of the barrel, and Will is the geek. Although he has some wit and charm, his ambition seems to be little more than turning into a prat like his three friends.
What little plot there is involves the four lads drinking, throwing up, bantering in detail about what they will do to women and then staggering back to their shabby hotel. Their collective naivety is breathtaking, making them easy targets for a series of misfortunes at the hands of screenwriters Iain Morris and Damon Beesley, who also wrote the TV show. Director Ben Palmer keeps proceedings simple, allowing the four cast members to do what they do best – aim low and repeat.
Although the mostly under-twenty male audience in the cinema with me laughed and groaned along with the constant wash of crude slapstick and off-colour humour, the characters, story and tone all wear thin after about 30 minutes. Now, isn’t that the length of a sit-com? You have been warned.