To the uninitiated, the British TV comedy “The In Betweeners” is but a “horny teenager” movie writ large, peppered with the foulest British slang, a short series stuffed with jaw-dropping vulgarity and craven crassness.
Every boys-on-the-make cliche under the sun shows up in it. The kids are awkward, gawky, “types,” braggarts drooling with lust, in search of that first potential sexual conquest and that next taste of alcohol.
And the girls are every boys’ wish fulfillment fantasy — pliable, curious and if there’s sex to be had, we’re sure it’s pity sex on their part.
It’s all that, and more — corny and over-familiar in its sentimentality, edgy in its frankness (bodily fluids, excrement, etc).
“The Inbetweeners Movie” provides comical closure to the series, so “Oh no they didn’t!” daring in the UK, so watered down and de-fanged in its pale American remake, now on MTV.
Our four lusty lads graduate high school where they were forever “in between” the various social groups and in between adolescence and adulthood. And what do randy middle class boys from suburban London with limited prospects (no everybody is headed on to “uni”) go post-graduation?
To the party palaces of Malia, in Crete — home to beaches, bars and every British babe in their age range.
The bucktoothed, bespectacled wit Will (Simon Bird) has a mind to prove to his trophy-wived dad (Anthony Head) that he’s not all “pretentious pedantic chat.” Simon (Joe Thomas) has packed his hair gel with a notion of tracking down and winning back the fetching Carli (Emily Head, daughter of Anthony), who dumped him at graduation. Tall and gangly Neil (Blake Harrison) has left behind his girlfriend, borrowed her tan-in-a-can (just for his face, mind you) and is ready for a little cougar action — the older the better, apparently.
And big-mouthed “spasticated” Jay (James Buckley, perfectly obnoxious) is ready to add to his ready supply of whoppers about all the babes he’s bagged, all the “vag” and “gash” he’s scored.
“SHE’D get it,” he bellows at every passing skirt.
Their hotel’s a Cretan dive. Their chances of meeting and hooking up — just four more cretins on the prowl in Crete — are remote.
“All girls are out of my league,” the Jerry Lewis look-alike Will complains. “Look at me. Imagine my league.”
But naturally they meet four likely candidates (Laura Haddock, Tamla Kari, Lydia Rose Bewley, Jessica Knappett)
— one for each lad — and then spend the rest of the movie mucking up their chances.
The hilarity in this quartet is in their utter cluelessness. They have just enough information — about Crete, abut bidets, about girls, about how gullible customers are lured into loser-discos — to get into trouble.
“Are we players?” one wonders.”
“I’m not really sure what that means.”
They’re sexist, self-absorbed and incompetent at most everything a girl their age would find alluring.
But as predictably sophomoric as “The Inbetweeners” can be, it’s the ways you stay ahead of it that amplify the laughs. No romantic or sentimental moment is too tender to undercut, no grand gesture so grand it won’t be ruined by saying or doing precisely the wrong thing.
Simon goes on and on about Carli to the fetching and more available Lucy (Talma Kari), despite the fact that his friends punch him in the testicles every time he mentions Carli’s name. Lucy makes warm, moist-eyed and tender efforts to help Simon, and he stupidly misses every signal in his single-minded pursuit of the unattainable Carli.
Will uses his tactless, chattering charm to come on to Alison (Laura Haddock), who suggests pity sex “in a year” if he’s still a virgin.
“Can I get that in writing?”
Director Ben Palmer and the screenwriters stay true to the characters, but also serve up montages of them dancing (ineptly), pub crawling (ditto) fighting (yup, ineptly) and being bullied one last time before adulthood.
One could do without the graphic feces and masturbation jokes and the seriously unbecoming bits of full frontal nudity. But it’s all good, clean dirty fun, soft “American Pie” porn without the pastries.
MPAA Rating:R for strong crude and sexual content, some graphic nudity, language, alcohol and brief drug use
Cast: Simon Bird, Joe Thomas, James Buckley, Blake Harrison, Emily Head, Laura Haddock, Tamla Kari, Lydia Rose Bewley, Jessica Knappett
Credits: Directed by Ben Palmer, written by Iain Morris, Damon Beesley. A Film 4 release.
Running time: 1:34