Ben Palmer’s “The Inbetweeners,” is essentially a British version of “American Pie” in Europe. It’s about four friends who go on a wild and crazy, sex-and-alcohol fueled trip. Except it’s British, so that means there’s a whole new lingo.
Instead of “vacation,” they say “holiday”; instead of “hot,” they say “fit.” You won’t hear any one call each other “bro” or “dude,” but “mate.”
As with all of these kinds of movies, laughs are sure to be found, and the young (mostly male, but some female, too) demographic that the film is made for should be mildly entertained at the very least.
But at the same time, “The Inbetweeners,” in the eyes of an American audience, isn’t anything they haven’t seen before. When I said, “British version” before, I should have said “knockoff. “
Stop me if these characterizations sound familiar: There’s Will McKenzie (Simon Bird), the super-nerdy, annoying virgin; Jay Cartwright (James Buckley), the obnoxious, sex-crazed one; Neil Sutherland (Joe Thomas), the love-sick, sensitive boy, who’s just been dumped by his longtime girlfriend; and finally, there’s Neil Sutherland (Blake Harrison), the weirdo of the group who seems to have a fetish for old ladies. Although, a general term to describe these four is…losers.
More of the same, tame
They’ve just graduated from high school, and before they go their own ways in life, the four friends (or, since this is a British film, I should say “lads”) decide to go on one final summer adventure together in Greece.
What happens on the journey isn’t any thing you wouldn’t expect coming from a movie like this. Most of the movie consists of the four lads going around partying, trying to have sex but not being successful, making fools of themselves in public.
They do, at one point, meet a group of friendly girls.
But all of the major plot points and realizations at the end, you can see coming from a mile away.
Also, the film becomes repetitive, and it runs out of gas at the end.
The screenplay, by Iain Morris Damon Beesley, contains the usual set of raunchy jokes, involving drugs, alcohol, sex, embarrassing parents, crazy locals, hangovers, pranks, etc. There are some inspired bits here and there, but by and large, it’s more of the same.
In fact, I would even say “The Inbetweeners” is just a tad cleaner (in content) than “American Pie,” and “American Pie,” by today’s standards, is fairly tame. Sure, there are a few gross-out gags, and we do see a penis, but it wasn’t nearly as shocking as I thought it would be.
All four of the young lads (that’s the last time I’ll use it, I promise) do what’s expected of them in regards to performances, but they don’t go beyond their originally drawn outlines.
The film is based on a 2008 cult British television show of the same name, and it’s easy to see why this would be popular in England. This is their native version of “American Pie.” I would guess that if you watched it you’d probably get more out of the movie. You would have gotten to know the characters over a longer period and understand some of the non-American jokes (what few there are).
But a movie needs to stand on its own, and as a movie alone “The Inbetweeners” offers a very mildly fun diversion, with nothing new to bring to the teen-sex-comedy table.