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Between you and me, I reckon there’ll be another sequel

PUBLISHED: 17:00 23 August 2014

The Inbetweeners 2

The Inbetweeners 2

The biggest film of the summer looks set to be not a blockbuster flick or superhero action romp, but a follow-on to a hit film adapted from a TV comedy series about four rather unlikely leading men and their gap year adventures.

The Inbetweeners 2 last week passed £22million at the UK box office and by the end of this weekend may even surpass the £30m mark – quite something for a sequel, a British comedy, and one up against geriaction flick The Expendables 3 and Marvel masterpiece The Guardians of the Galaxy – both made with huge budgets.

Only Rise of the Planet of the Apes (the top grossing and arguably strongest blockbuster of the summer so far) and the Lego Movie (one of my favourite films of the year) have passed £30m at the UK box office in 2014, so if Will, Jay, Simon and Neil can hit that standard (which is highly likely) then the continued statements from the cast and crew that this is the end of the sex-obsessed quartet’s quest seem less and less likely to ring true.

Simon Bird, who plays straight-laced Will, has said: “Once you see the film you’ll see it feels like they’ve all moved on with their lives, so unfortunately this is it. It’s a great way to say goodbye.”

But when the two films have taken a combined £80m and counting at the box office, with more in DVD sales and downloads, it’s hard to imagine that a product so cheap to produce won’t be stretched to another sequel.

The success all stems from the brilliantly-written original E4 TV series, which is still on an almost constant repeat rotation on Chanel 4’s digital little brother.

The four main characters – supplemented by a strong supporting cast including a stand-out turn from Greg Davies as head of sixth form Mr Gilbert – fill perennial archetypes from high school days.

The blagger whose tall stories are always just on the funny side of ridiculous; the gentle idiot who comes out with profoundly stupid comments; the romantic who yearns for a girlfriend and as soon as he gets one can talk about nothing else; and the geeky new boy who’s just trying far too hard to fit into new surroundings but just ends up getting it all wrong.

There were only 18 episodes of the TV show, from three series that aired between 2008 and 2010 and each was the top rated show on E4, with the final series averaging about 3.5million viewers (up from around 350,000 for the first series).

What is it about the Inbetweeners that makes the films such a success story when set against the failures of the likes of Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie and the Harry Hill Movie – both have their roots in TV comedy and both flopped on the big screen.

To be fair to Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie, it’s taken more than £14m against a £3.6m budget – so it could be considered a financial success, but with just an 8% rating at review aggregators Rotten Tomatoes, it can hardly be deemed to have set the world on fire.

It seems like the Inbetweeners have struck a major chord with the key movie-going demographic and the films have been released at a perfect time of the year, just as groups of teenagers head off to holiday islands or prepare to go back-packing on a gap year.

I expect kids across the country will be retelling the “bants” gags from this new film and playing “nudges” – just like there were many recreations of Neil’s famous dodgy dance moves from the first film.

Yes the humour in this new movie is at times bordering on the offensive, the sequence where Neil meets a dolphin is just not funny, and the female characters are very thinly drawn, but the movie works and the originality of the writing and the ability to recognise themes from sixth form/university days and translate them onto the big screen (after doing so in such a successful way on the small screen) means that I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of these four likeable berks.

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