Unlike most people, I am a fan of film adaptations of TV shows. There are the ones that people snub there noses up at like The Simpsons Movie and The X Files: I Want to Believe (which are both thoroughly entertaining) and then there are those that are genuinely good like South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, Serenity and In the Loop. I’m not sure where The Inbetweeners Movie will land with most audience members but in my eyes I say this is a genuinely good adaptation. Following on from the TV series we join Will (Bird), Jay (Buckley), Neil (Harrison) and Simon (Thomas), the four hapless teens that are just trying to get through life. Now they’ve finished sixth form and are off on holiday (because what big screen adaptation of a British sitcom wouldn’t be complete without taking the cast to a foreign island) to Malia, whilst there they get drunk, fight with the locals and share embarrassing moments that might make David Brent cringe but in the end, will they grow up? Kind of.
The biggest question to ask when adapting a TV show to film is whether you have a story that really needs to be seen on the big screen and the answer here is sadly no, there is no real reason for this show to be transferred to a movie, at points (especially to moments that take place in the UK) the film feels like seeing an episode projected, you start to wonder where the E4 logo has gone. Saying all that, it is nice to see a film like this in a packed cinema, as it is easily one of the funniest of the year. Like the TV show there are some gags that do fall flat (nobody in my screen seemed to buy the idea that Simon would actually give all his clothes away) but when they hit, they hit hard, giving big summer comedies like The Hangover Part II, Bad Teacher and Horrible Bosses a run for their money (though coming nowhere near to the glory that is Bridesmaids). So whilst the film never feels the most cinematic (though some club scenes feel more realised than those seen in the upcoming Weekender) bringing this level of comedy to the big screen is always a worthy cause.
The four leads are treading no new ground here, whilst the characters do seem to grow up a bit in the film, the performances stay the same, but no real complaints here as they are as funny as ever with certain amounts of charm oozing (apart from Buckley who is far too crude to be charming). The rest of the cast is rounded out mainly by newcomers, special nods go out to Theo Barklem-Biggs as one of the funniest supporting characters of the past few years (and a scarily realistic portrayal judging by some of the kids I see at university) and Laura Haddock as Alison who is sure to capture many a heart in this role. It is a shame that characters from the show like the psychotic teacher Mr. Gilbert (Greg Davies) and all the parents are relegated to such small roles as they are all very funny performers and their characters suit them wonderfully, but alas that is the strain when adapting to the big screen.
Has director Ben Palmer changed the way we view TV and film from now on? No, instead he has taken screenwriters Iain Morris and Damon Beesley’s wonderfully funny show and put a version of it on the big screen, which isn’t bad really. The film may not be incredibly cinematic but it is funny enough to make you question cinema can’t make you laugh like this all the time. The Inbetweeners Movie is not required to be seen at the cinema but I’d recommend it as a fun night out but nobody will blame you if you wait for DVD.