Take The Office, The Royle Family and Peep Show. Now imagine them as films with sweeping helicopter shots, character arcs and happy endings. Novelty aside, it should be a pretty unpleasant thought. But the writer’s of The Inbetweeners are far too clever for that: they’ve made a sitcom episode and called it a movie. The only problem is that it goes on for ninety-seven minutes.
It’s the summer after A-Levels and the feeble four are off to Crete, where “sun, sex, sand, booze… and sex” will help Simon (Joe Thomas) get over his ex-girlfriend, Carli (Emily Head). Unfortunately, she’s also there with her mates. On the first night, the boys meet some girls in a club and implicitly pair-off: Simon with Lucy, who he immediately uses as an agony aunt for his breakup; Will (Simon Bird) with Alison, who is both “out of his league” and taken; Neil (Blake Harrison) with a girl who looks like his sister; and Jay (James Buckley), in a running joke, with the fat one. It will all come together at the end-of-holiday boat party, where Simon must choose between Carli, his “soulmate”, and Lucy, who “actually likes him.”
There are great moments, like Mr Gilbert’s (Greg Davies) leaver’s assembly, which begins with the words ‘I’ve never liked any of you…’ and ends with him warning students never to approach him once his legal obligation to them is over. Then there’s a dance floor scene with the boys ‘on the pull’, and later, a failed romantic gesture by Simon which is a nice parody of the American rom-com. But – as with all sitcoms – a series of moments is all you get. Furthermore, the film never quite hits the heights of, say, the Thorpe Park episode from series 1 or the fishing boat sequence in series 2, which shocked you with gross-out humour, but were also charmingly honest. There are a few too many jokes which pass unnoticed in the film, and it suffers most when we feel we’ve been here before, like when Jay is caught doing something which, if you’re familiar with the character, you can probably guess at.
A flawed film then, but one that guarantees laughs for people who enjoyed the show. In the words of one reviewer after seeing The Simpsons Movie in 2006: ‘It’s nothing but an extended episode, but what did we expect?’