All right, let’s try to keep this as brief as possible.
“The Inbetweeners” is a British sitcom that ran between 2008 and 2010. (An American version premiered on MTV last month.) It’s about four high school misfits. Will (Simon Bird) is very bright and nerdy. Simon (Joe Thomas), the oldest, has an on-again, off-again girlfriend. Jay (James Buckley) is maniacally sex-obsessed. Neil (Blake Harrison) is sack-of-doorknobs dumb, but a babe magnet.
Hearing “British television sitcom” you might perk up. “Fawlty Towers”? The Ricky Gervais “Office”? Uh, no. There is one thing, and one thing only, to be said in favor of “The Inbetweeners Movie.” It’s definitive proof that there’s no such thing as British cultural superiority. Crude, moronic teen sex comedies aren’t an American monopoly. Who knew that when the “Porky’s” movies (finally) died, they went to England?
To celebrate their high school graduation, the lads decide to go on holiday to Crete. As if Greece didn’t have enough problems. What ensues is as flat as it is predictable. There are alcohol jokes, vomit jokes, excrement jokes, penis jokes, gay jokes, fat jokes, and sex jokes. To paraphrase Groucho, there are more sex jokes than you can shake a stick at — if that’s your idea of a good time.
The problem isn’t so much the predictability of “The Inbetweeners Movie,” or even its unremitting coarseness, as how flat and mechanical the whole thing is. Raunch and crudeness have a place in the world. But raunch and crudeness without gusto are as pointless as jokes without punch lines. Where are the Farrelly brothers when you need them? It doesn’t help that the four leads range in age from 24 to 28. These inbetweeners are beyond, not between.
Bird is the best of them. He’s like a beefier, more self-aware version of the young Matthew Broderick. Laura Haddock, as Will’s prospective love interest, carries herself with an amused grace that under the circumstances seems either heroic or inexplicable.
If nothing else, “The Inbetweeners Movie” earns itself a footnote in any comprehensive history of local movie exhibition. This has got to be the first time a wedgie has been inflicted onscreen at the Kendall.Mark Feeney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.