There's rude, there’s crude... and then there’s lewd. And the bad is news is that this eagerly-anticipated sequel crosses the line from temptation to sin.
Will (Simon Bird, now 29), Jay (James Buckley, 26), Neil (Blake Harrison, 29) and Simon (Joe Thomas, 30) remain a likeable foursome with a screen presence that’s believably familiar.
With The Inbetweeners Movie, they enjoyed the third biggest hit of 2011 by pretending to be 18-year-olds aiming far too high above their station on a first holiday abroad. Now they’re three years older in real life, but less than a year head with their characters, immature student credulity is stretched wafer thin.
While the original film egged everybody on in true, teenage holiday spirit, it stayed on the right side of decency, too. Its old fashioned charm even included a sense that the British film industry has regions outside of London.
This Australia-based sequel makes the odd verbal references to ‘Bristol’ and ‘Coventry’, but if you’re expecting any kind of exportable ‘culture’ forget it – a mistake given that the first movie did 80 per cent of its total business in the UK.
The sexual jokes are over-the-top from the early moment Jay emails his friends claiming to be a hugely successful DJ in Australia. The camera cuts directly to Jay enjoying the kind of heady social life which makes Leonardo DiCaprio look like he was playing Andy Pandy in The Wolf of Wall Street.
Soon, Will, Neil and Simon are flying halfway round the world for a piece of the action.
Inevitably, all is not what it seems and it’s no surprise that Jay has been economical with the truth about life in The Bush.
With original director Ben Palmer now in post production with Simon Pegg’s Man Up, creators and co-writers Damon Beesley and Iain Morris have both directed this sequel which lacks an emotional arc to create momentum.
If there isn’t an attempt to hit the lowest common denominator with the next bodily function gag, there’s not much happening at all beyond the shouted dialogue. Yes, it can be funny, and you’d have to be a prude not to laugh, even when the going gets seriously rough in the water park. But the endless, alliterative phrases for sex and countless in-your-face sight gags dilute the characters and turn the mood wearingly lewd.
Like Nick Frost’s The Cuban Fury earlier this year, The Inbetweeners 2 takes a funny premise – and then ruins it.