The raunchy teenage/young adult male sex comedy is one of those ubiquitous sub-genres that won’t be going away anytime soon. From Animal House to American Pie, these movies are usually good for a chuckle or two so long as the laughs are good-natured, the leads are loveable and the female characters aren’t too appallingly written. But does The Inbetweeners 2 pass this litmus test? My review after the jump.
With their European trip in The Inbetweeners behind them, Simon (Joe Thomas), Will (Simon Bird) and Neil (Blake Harrison) have all gone to college but still find themselves on the fringes of popularity and social acceptance. When their buddy Jay (James Buckley) emails them about the sexual debauchery and decadent lifestyle he’s been enjoying in Sydney, Australia, it’s not long before the other three Inbetweeners make the big trip down-under in an effort to join in on the fun.
As someone who enjoyed the first installment, I found myself laughing heartily a good number of times during the sequel. Among other things, it pokes fun at privileged hipsters trying to one-up each other by talking about who traveled to the most remote holiday destinations while being the most environmentally friendly. Will’s (Simon Bird) awkwardly no-holds-barred acoustic cover of ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’, complete with falsetto, was a thing of beauty. But even at a relatively scant 96 minutes, it all began to wear a bit thin quite quickly. I think I began losing patience around the point that Will raced an enormous turd down a water theme park slide and ends up with a good chunk of the stuff on his face before promptly projectile vomiting everywhere.
The movie’s ultimate failing is not knowing the point when a gross-out gag goes from being amusing to just plain distasteful and awkward. As one of the many teenagers who laughed their asses off while watching Jason Biggs sodomise an apple pie 15 years ago, this may sound a little hypocritical coming from me. In my defence, I dare you to disagree after watching one of the characters peeing in the other’s mouth. And yes, we see everything. Also, while poorly written female characters don’t automatically make a movie unwatchable, when the female characters range from a psychotic overly attached girlfriend, a promiscuous older woman who hits on younger men right in front of her husband and a token blonde who’s dumber than a bag of hammers. It gets really tiresome to watch.
The movie does have a number of saving graces. Most of the time, the main four characters are likeable and have an easy-going chemistry. A tense moment towards the end of the film sees the foursome in serious trouble and even leads to a rather touching moment of friendship between them. As mentioned above, a number of the jokes do hit the mark and when the film hits its stride, it’s hard not to go along for the ride. It’s just a pity that all this is spoiled by the lengths the filmmakers go through to shock and offend when a more restrained touch would have sufficed.
By Johnson Hii
Director: Damon Beesley, Iain Morris
Writer(s): Damon Beesley, Iain Morris
Starring: Freddie Stroma, Tamla Kari, Belinda Stewart-Wilson, Simon Bird
Runtime: 96 minutes
Release date(s): Australia: August 21 2014; August 28 2014