At first glance, this film seems like a rip-off of the “American Pie” series, with all its crassness and gross-out teenage humor, and surely there’s a bit of that influence here. However, this British production is much more intelligent and is better at putting forth social satire. By social satire I mean that the Brits know how to make fun of themselves as opposed to glorying their pubescent conquests, unlike the American Pie kids.
Four mates have just graduated from high school: There is Will (Simon Bird), the articulate nerd whose social skills need some developing; there is Simon (Joe Thomas), who has just been dumped by his long-term girlfriend and who is heartbroken; Jay (James Buckley) is obsessed with girls but lacks the manners or etiquette to respectfully communicate with them; and finally Neil (Blake Harrison) is the tall and sweet guy who is a bit dimwitted. The thing about these characters is that although they might seem like typical stereotypes of this genre, they are not. The more we get to know them, the more we realize that they are just normal kids who have the normal teenage problems and conflicts, here supported by properly written character arcs. You actually end up caring for this lot of goofs!
The foursome decide to take a holiday to Crete as their graduation celebration and end up on the beautiful Greek island only to realize that their dreams of paradise are not exactly fulfilled -- not surprisingly, they have been tricked into taking one of those cheap tours in which the photos don’t match the results. The hotel they are accommodated in is a pit in the depths of the inner island and they can’t really encounter any authentic locals since the island is invaded by English tourists young and old. Sound familiar? Anyhow, it’s not all that bad, since these four stallions are really here for the “girl hunt.” Oh, they are full of themselves, these boys, but luckily scriptwriters Iain Morris and Damon Beesley do not spare them for their ineptitude and arrogance since the boys constantly end up in awkward and humiliating situations that they deserve.
Oh, but even in the depths of the hormone-fueled brains and hearts of these young men it is clear that what they really want is to fall in love as opposed to satisfying their instincts. And in comes our group of four adorable ladies that will befriend and guide this band of brothers out of stupidity and crassness. Although the film is written and directed by men and possibly targeted at a male audience, the filmmakers make it abundantly clear that it is the wisdom of girls that can help the opposite gender in their journey to adulthood. The girls include Jane (Lydia Rose Bewley), Allison (Laura Haddock), Lucy (Tamla Kari) and Lisa (Jessica Knapet). They are also young Brits on holiday to celebrate the end of the school year.
The finale is a hilarious and emotionally tender sequence on a boat tour, where all our characters learn to deal with their problems and become the better versions of themselves.
“Inbetweeners” is highly recommended for those who would like to initiate their summer holidays with an entertaining and emotionally genuine comedy. Some of the one-liners and dialogues are so cleverly written that it makes us wonder why we don’t get to see more of such witty films that do not underestimate young audiences. Not everyone wants to see pointless explosions and moronic gags that present themselves as “real humor”; thankfully the makers of this film and its original TV show respect this notion. Take a chance with this film, and forget your prejudices concerning juvenile comedy. It will not disappoint.
Directed by: Ben Palmer
Voice Cast: Simon Bird, James Buckley, Blake Harrison, Joe Thomas