Inbetweeners sequel offers middling fare
THE INBETWEENERS 2 (R16)
Directed by Damon Beesley and Iain Morris
After the mayhem of Malia, the four members of Rudge Park Comprehensive's Banter Brigade have scattered to the four winds.
Will (Simon Bird) is Bristol University least popular undergraduate, Simon (Joe Thomas) is stuck with his paranoid girlfriend Lucy (Tamla Kari) in Sheffield, Neil (Blake Harrison) has tried and failed at a succession of jobs, while Jay (James Buckley) has headed to the antipodes, supposedly in search of fame and fortune.
After the still British-based trio endure a disasterous night "dressed as magic in an old mans' pub" they decide Jay's tales of sun, beer and women on tap in Australia are too good to resist. But when they arrive in Sydney, they discover him working in a nightclub toilet and living in a tent on his Uncle's lawn.
However, with Will besotted by a chance encounter with primary school friend Katie (Emily Berrington), Simon trying to work out how to dump Lucy via Skype, Neil wanting to learn to be a dolphin trainer and Jay desperate to try out water-park Splash Planet, they all decide to head for Byron Bay where adventure surely awaits.
A second spin-off movie from the Bafta-nominated E4 comedy series, The Inbetweeners 2 offers a relentless combination of slapstick and smutty schoolboy humour throughout its 96-minute running time.
Decamping to the home of '70s Ozploitation and British sitcom spin-offs (Are You Being Served? was situated there for two seasons) is a natural fit for the quartet and writers-turned-directors Damon Beesley and Iain Morris make the most of the differences between the Ashes rivals, their respective landscapes and the double entendre potential of phrases like down under.
However, while the scattershot, whirlwind approach to the visual and verbal humour lands its share of laughs (a memorable version of The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face , Jay's initial Australian fantasy sequence), the cringe factor sometimes becomes overwhelming.
A scene clearly inspired by Caddyshack's famous pool sequence is taken too gross-out extremes, while the inevitable outback sequence goes to some pretty dark places.
While comparisons to the American Pie series are inevitable (substitute Will for Jim, Jay for Stifler), this offers additionally salty language and virtually none of Pie's sweetness and where the first Inbetweeners film offered girls who gave as good as they got this only offers ball-busting and fleeting fantasy roles.
And as even Will points out, ''saying the same word over and over again is not a substitute for amusing conversation''.
The film feels under-scripted and the characters more cartoonish before (heck it almost makes Adam Sandler's similarly themed Grown Ups movies look polished in comparison), with our foursome like a British 20-something version of the Madagascar series regulars. Next stop Africa then?