THE INBETWEENERS 2. Starring Simon Bird, James Buckley, Blake Harrison, Joe Thomas, Emily Berrington, Belinda Stewart-Wilson, David Field. Directed by Damon Beasley, Iain Morris. Rated MA15+ (Strong crude sexual references, nudity and coarse language). 96 minutes.
The synopsis for The Inbetweeners Movie described the four central characters as “socially troubled”. Publicity for films doesn’t usually go for understatement, but this is a case in point. They are definitely “socially troubled” and more, much more.
At one stage in this sequel, Jay is asked whether he is a moron. It is surprising that they needed to ask the question! Any impartial observer, or even a partial observer, would readily declare that Neil is definitely a moron – or worse. Simon has tendencies either way, often moronic, sometimes indicating that, deep down, he may have some common sense. While Will is not a moron – he continually wears his spectacles, even while swimming, and no matter what – he is definitely one of those “silly-ass” Englishman, educated accent, strong vocabulary, but prone to get caught up, because of his low self-image, in too many of the multi-moronic activities.
Audiences who have enjoyed the television series and wondered whether, because of television restrictions, it could have gone further in its gross-out episodes and language, will find a ready and frequent answer to their questions. The language is crass, not just in the swearing, but in the almost-perpetual obsession with sex and sexual activity (and a lot of false boasting there). and, if audiences are wondering about bodily functions, excrement, urine, vomit, then there is quite a bit, and often quite grossly explicit.
The main interest for Australian audiences is that the four find their way to Australia, Jay has come in search of his lost love (since Australia is an island he was under the misapprehension that if you went down to the shops he would run into her), pretending that he has an important job in a hotel (whereas he is really supervising the toilets). With boastful messages and phone-images to the other three about his beyond-Lothario sexual activities (visualised explicitly for the audience in case they did not understand what he was talking about). The other three are having problems of their own, impulsively deciding that they should come to Australia.
When they arrive and discover the truth, they find that Jay is camped out in a tent on his uncle’s lawn. Australian actor David Field is the main Australian contribution to the film, apart from the locations, and is no mean contributor to crass language and suggestions.
The tone of Neil’s moronic capacities is quickly observed when he mistakes the Opera House for an alien craft. Then, where else should this kind of British tourist go but to Byron Bay and a water theme park. Plenty of opportunities for malfunction here, especially Neil feeding a dolphin with fast food and its quick demise. Will is beguiled by a school friend who is a tour guide and he think she is in love with him. After some disillusionment, he flies from Byron Bay/Ballina airport directly to Birdsville and chases his friends who have driven there to find the long-lost love. The final comedy is their being stranded in the desert, no idea of the size of Australia, no idea of traffic on the Birdsville track, no water, no petrol, thinking that they were dead and ready to give up the ghost when they are rescued and are told that they have been out there for two hours!
So, there are some amusing moments of course, but a lot of the characterisation, dialogue and episodes are quite crass and tawdry.
Fr Peter Malone MSC is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.
Out August 21, 2014