Rude, gross and even more vulgar, Channel 4’s adolescent comedy returns for its second big screen adventure. This time Inbetweeners Will, Simon and Neil fly out to Australia to catch up with Jay, who claims his rampant libido and superstar DJ status are winning him a new girl every night. Fans of the series might well wonder why the rest of the guys fall for Jay’s hyperboles – he’s actually working in a toilet and living in a tent. And so comedy’s favourite teens embark on a traveling holiday down under that’s packed with bad dick jokes, vomit, poo and, unsurprisingly, failed attempts to pull girls.

This plot from series’ creators Damon Beesley and Iain Morris is as directionless as they come, breaking down into a few bite size chunks of action that include a trip to a water park and getting lost in the outback. The segmented approach might be less conspicuous if The Inbetweeners 2 were swarming with laughs but, heaping on the coarse, laddish banter, the majority of Beesley and Morris’ gags fall completely flat. Jay (James Buckley), whose one track mind goes into overdrive this time around fares worst of all and Buckley has a hard time keeping him on the right side of likeable.

As nerdy and marginally more sensible Will, Simon Bird’s dry sarcasm is critically underused. Instead Will devotes most of his screen time to wooing obnoxious middle class traveller Katie (Emily Berrington), feigning spirituality in an effort to get her in the sack. Yet Will, along with Beasley and Morris, wins back some integrity during a sharp verbal showdown with love rival Ben (Freddie Stroma) that nicely takes the mickey out of bourgeois gap years. It’s a momentary glimmer of what could have been, in a largely unpolished comedic adventure.

The two funniest moments come courtesy of the ridiculous and the gross, offering welcome relief from the obvious chauvinist banter – Simon Bird does a ridiculous serenade and there’s a disgusting water-flume gag that takes film to a new level of gross. Yet The Inbetweeners 2 largely fails to rekindle those genuine laughs of its first series that so shrewdly explored teenage anxiety. It doesn’t help that these first year under-grads are now clearly played by actors in their late twenties, leaving us to question how much longer these “bumders” – as Jay would say – can get away with such moronic behaviour. With their selfish chauvinism and pathetic inability to save themselves from a dehydrated spell in the outback, The Inbetweeners’ sympathetic characters are wearing thin and now on the road to repulsive. Thankfully Neil’s (Blake Harrison) warm hearted stupidity rescues the gang from the completely loathsome. Beesley and Morris insert a few reasons for compassion – Jay is in love and Simon (Joe Thomas) is still suffering at the hands of a horrendous bunny-boiling girlfriend (Tamla Kari) – but it’s easy to feel glad when the guys are faced with death by thirst. Even then the overdone dick jokes rule as Simon tries to drink Jays urine. It’s a far cry from the grounded comedy of The Inbetweeners’ terrible first cars, rubbish caravan holidays and embarrassing prom nights.

“The Inbetweeners 2 strays a little too far from its roots”

Overkill on the coarse banter, The Inbetweeners 2 strays a little too far from its roots. It’s easy to call out the chauvinistic interpretation of female characters – we’re given a bunny boiler and little more than a sex object – but the lads are just as unpleasant. The combined charisma of Simon Bird, James Buckley, Joe Thomas and Blake Harrison just about save this one from the toilet, but only just. Fans may find something to like here but newcomers should seek out the original, and brilliant, first series instead.


VERDICT:  ✭    1/5


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