By any reasonable measure of calculation, the fact that the Inbetweeners have a sequel would make you think that it would fail due to the law of diminishing returns, but you would be half right. The sequel that takes place nearly a year after the events of the first picture is a great reminder of the appeal of the show. At its best, it depicts scenes of absolute toe curling awkwardness that it is almost artful. This trend continues with the sequel that varied from members of the group feeling out of place during social interactions and a cringe-inducing musical number that had my audience laughing hysterically like hyenas.
The most-surprising aspect of the film is in its direction that was provided by the show creators- Iain Morris and Damon Beesley. The film is filled with ambitious sequences that feel immediately cinematic. For example, a sequence at the beginning of the film involves a long email from Jay, and he narrates it in a scene that feels like an amusing homage of earlier 2014 picture, The Wolf of Wall Street and tourist television adverts. It is a sequence that is steeped in character and gets the plot into motion in a funny and engaging way.
Additionally, there is a scene later on that involves a gross-out gag, and it plays out like tragic sequence that could have been in a Tim Burton film, complete with sad overtones in the score, reminiscent of Danny Elfman. Said scene also highlights the commendable silent work of Simon Bird who above and beyond steals the movie from his co-stars. He seemingly channels Woody Allen at times while also embodying the awkward spirit of the picture, in a performance that is equal parts serious, comic and heartfelt.
However, despite all the positives, the fundamental problem with the film is in its portrayal of women. It starts with what is done with the girls in the last picture. Will’s girlfriend- Alison is nowhere to be found, and her absence has no explanation other than chalking it down to bad sequel screenwriting 101. Additionally, Simon’s girlfriend- Lucy is a complete 180 antithesis of what she was in the first picture, resulting in a one note joke that becomes tiresome and the constant presense of a character for the audience to be amused by in rapid succession.
Even the girls that exist within the fabric of a group that is meant to be mocked for their pretentious of being deep feel like carbon cutout laughable figures. There is no humanity or personality to most of the girls in this film, with Jay’s ex- girlfriend being sucked into this whirlpool towards the end of the picture. By the end the film does fall apart, with its fan service providing the awkwardness and an inane montage of credit sequences that repeat jokes from the Hangover movies in a way that feels rather distasteful and out of place. It is a shame as the film prior to these five minutes was mining untapped levels of drama that the characters had not dealt with before.