The Inbetweeners movie 2, film review: Men will be boys in a lewd, likeable comic return

(15) Damon Beesley, Iain Morris, 96 mins Starring: Simon Bird, Joe Thomas, James Buckley, Blake Harrison, Emily Berrington
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The Independent Culture

Lads' mags may have fallen out of fashion but the spirit of Nuts and Loaded lives on in this cheery, intermittently hilarious and unremittingly crude sequel to the 2011 box-office hit. The boys – who are actually now young men – head to Australia ("the sex capital of the world") where Jay (James Buckley) is on a gap year. No pun is too crude for writer-directors Damon Beesley and Iain Morris.

The jokes about what happens "down under" don't take long in coming. The film has barely started when we are treated to a shot of Neil's (Blake Harrison) dangling testicles as he plays pool in a mini-skirt. The comic gambits include a tribute to the turd-in-a-swimming-pool sequence in Caddyshack, and a grim moment in which one friend drinks another's urine after becoming stranded in the outback.

Much of the charm of the original TV series lay in the fact that the four friends were "inbetweeners," perched between adolescence and adulthood. There was a naiveté about them that helped atone for their excesses. It's a testament to the likability and comic ability of the four actors that this charm and innocence remains largely intact. It helps that the story, even at its most extreme, is rooted in experiences that have at least a grain of reality in them. When Jay's bottom lip quivers as he fights back tears, or Simon looks on in dismay as he watches his girlfriend on Skype shred his hoodies, we feel for them.

 

We root for cerebral, rational Will (Simon Bird), who always seems bound for humiliation as he struggles to impress the beautiful Katie (Emily Berrington) by serenading her in excruciating fashion. The four friends follow in a tradition of goofy British comedy about loveable losers that stretches back to Will Hay and the Crazy Gang.

Some of the ideas are feeble. The early fantasy sequence in which we see Jay living a life of sex-filled luxury plays like a bad spoof of The Wolf of Wall Street. (The reality is that he is a toilet attendant who lives in a tent.) The clichés about Australia might have made Barry McKenzie blush. For every dud scene, though, there's always one or two that play out perfectly. The comedy works by a process of attrition. When one gag fails, another follows it until, eventually, the film hits the funny bone.

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