Mary Poppins Returns
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All Critics (40)
| Top Critics (2)
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| Rotten (13)
'The Inbetweeners 2' is riddled with contempt: for its characters, for its audience and most notably for the entire female gender.
"The Inbetweeners 2" happily dissolves ... lofty concerns in giddy gales of hilarity.
The perpetual straddling of the line of poor taste feels less a challenging of the audience's risqué threshold and more a slightly desperate attempt to gain cheap kudos.
Let's end this franchise whilst it's still funny, and before inferior sequels threaten to tarnish it.
Passingly amusing, adequately performed and fast-paced enough to hold anyone's attention, yes, but The Inbetweeners 2 also proves that there's an endpoint to every franchise.
I loved the fact that the film which is masterfully written and directed by the series' creators, Damon Beesley and Iain Morris is merciless in its attack on Trustafarians who travel the globe with guitars on daddy's money, while claiming to be spiritual.
The boys are back, as hilariously filthy as ever, this time in Oz. Parents will be horrified, but this is the comedy of the summer.
Whereas the TV series peeled back the friends' puerility to reveal an essential sweetness, at feature-length their antics are simply crass.
The humour is getting a bit too grubby, even for fans. For, as we all know, you're really scraping the bottom of the comedy barrell once you start hitting people in the face with fecal matter for the sake of a laugh.
The dialogue is relentlessly fast but never funny, unless you consider four-letter words funny in themselves.
The leap from TV to feature film comes with risks, and again they're not negotiated entirely successfully.
The focus remains firmly on the delusional quartet, confidently drawn and depicted. Things fall away around them, however: the supporting characters are less deftly written, and the female characters are particularly disposable.
Pointless sequel to a movie test should have been left alone. Loved the series, but these movies aren't so great.
I've spoken on many occasions about how screenwriters or novelists don't always make the best directors. As much as we bemoan a director's vision for a given film not gelling with that of the writer, when writers get behind a camera they often fail to grasp the difference between cinematic and literary storytelling. This is true of the cult classic Westworld, the would-be cult classic Sir Henry at Rawlinson End, and the coming-of-age drama The Perks of Being A Wallflower.
The Inbetweeners 2 sees Damon Beesley and Iain Morris, the creators of the TV series, stepping behind the camera for a film which bids farewell to the famous foursome. Just as the first film was an exception to the rule that all films based on British comedies are terrible, so this film is an exception to the rule that writers can't direct. While some of the comedy still doesn't belong, it is both an improvement on the first film and a fitting way to say goodbye.
The first big success of The Inbetweeners 2 is that it actually looks and feels like a film. This may seem an obvious point, but it's one that you can very rarely say about British comedy adaptations, both in the past and in recent times. While the production values of The Inbetweeners Movie were pretty decent, it still looked and felt like an extended TV episode. This is all-round more cinematic, with better compositions, a wider choice of angles and a glossier feel.
The explanation for this is not straightforward. Had Beesley and Morris jettisonned all the old crew upon taking the helm, it would be easy to put this transition down solely to their creative talents. But the film is shot by the same person as before (Ben Wheeler), edited by the same person (William Webb) and produced by the same person (Christopher Young, for Film4). Most if not all of the production team have done the bulk of their work in television rather than feature films.
The true explanation lies in a combination of creative freedom and an understanding of direction in terms of purpose. Directing a film is not just about making sure that all the constituent parts fit together in a workable order: it is about communicating a story, theme or idea with a clear and preferably unique voice. Not only do Beesley and Morris have more freedom following the success of the first film, but they have a clear idea of where they want to go, regardless of audience expectations.
The second big plus of The Inbetweeners 2 is that it adds depth and humanity to the characters. This is also one of the characteristics which makes it feel more cinematic: we actually see the characters grow in a meaningful way (well, meaningful enough) over a long period of time. This is something that can be done on both film and TV but in different ways; while TV episodes can space out and break up character development, on film it has to be much more seamless, as it is here.
The difference between this film and its predecessor is a dominance of character over situation. The Inbetweeners Movie was essentially a genre exercise: it dropped these characters into overly familiar surroundings and sat back to see what would happen. This film may share some familiar characteristics of episodes, particularly in the Splash Mountain scenes, but this time the characters drive any given situation and the progression from one scene to the next feels a lot more natural.
Most of the boys have an emotional arc which we can follow through the film and which makes them more rounded and believable. Will's relationship with Katie sees him disown his friends, only to realise the emptiness of both his prep-school friendship with her and the lifestyle that she and Ben have chosen to inhabit. His tirades around the camp fires are right on the money, puncturing both the pretentiousness of spiritual tourism and the egos of the people who take part in it.
Simon's relationshipwith Lucy (who has become a complete yandere) sees him finally stick up for himself when it comes to relationships; even if it's resolved in a rather convenient manner, he at least goes through the process of deciding who he values and why. Jay, arguably the least likeable character at face value, is developed the most when we discover his capacity for both remorse and genuine love. His insecurity and regret regarding Jane is very welcome and it prevents the film from repeating itself. The only one short-changed in this department is Neil; while arguably he's already happier than all the other boys, he's ultimately reduced to out-of-context comic relief.
The third big plus of The Inbetweeners 2 is that it is funnier than its predecessor. It's still every bit a gross-out comedy which treads the fine line between edgy and offensive, but there's much less of a reliance on set-pieces, and what set-pieces there are are much more memorable. With the log flume incident, it's as though Beesley and Morris saw Caddyshack, got to the infamous pool scene, and thought: "how can we make this even funnier?".
Many of the funniest moments in the film will simultaneously make you howl with laughter and grimace in disgust. The scene involving Neil in the pub with the dog may feature unconvincing prostethics, but for the brief glance we get (which is all we'll ever need), it does its job. The same goes for Will's falsetto singging around the camp fire, the aforementioned log flume incident, and Simon getting urinated on by Neil in the Outback.
While these scenes are funny, however some of the more sexual jokes are completely unnecessary. The scene where Simon is accused of being a paedophile is really uncomfortable; it's not attempting to say anything clever or expose any kind of absurd attitude, it's just plain gruesome and should have been cut. The same goes for the various mentions of rape which pop up over the running time. While the film holds back from out-and-out using sexual violence as a punchline, it seems content to use the word as a cheap laugh when it should be anything but.
There are other moments of the film which on deeper reflection don't make a lot of sense. The scene with the four boys holding hands in the Outback as they die of thirst is very touching, being somewhere between the existential loneliness of Walkabout and the incinerator sequence in Toy Story 3. But then you notice that the boys are avoiding their only source of shade, and leaning against a car which is roasting hot. It doesn't throw the film completely off-balance, but it's a niggle that lingers afterwards.
The Inbetweeners 2 is an improvement on its predecessor which merits its existence as a means of deepening the characters. Beesley and Morris both write and direct well, with better jokes (by and large) and a greater focus on the characters rather than the situations in which they find themselves. Just like its predecessor, it's not without its problems, but if this is the last we see of Simon, Will, Neil and Jay, then it's a fitting way to finish.
An unsubtle, amusing, if not slightly disturbing comedy.
So after the somewhat mediocre affair of the first film the boys are back for more vulgar adventures, this time down under. That's pretty much my whole synopsis right there, this film is virtually the same spiel as the first film but set in Australia, game over.
The film follows on from the last movie with Simon having relationship issues with the girl he met in Malia and Will doesn't seem to be with the nice blonde he met in Malia anymore. Neil has also moved on from his girl but Jay has run off to Oz to find the chubby bird he also met in Malia. So most of what happened in the last movie has been jettisoned for a clean slate and basically the story revolves around Jay going after his bird from the first movie.
No sooner have the guys met up in Oz and discovered Jay is actually working in a nightclub toilet (nicely done), Will bumps into an old flame and all four are dragged off up the eastern coast to Bryon Bay following her. After a slow start the story does pick up a bit when we meet Jay's uncle in Australia, I can't deny the obligatory stereotypical beer swilling racist foul mouthed Aussie is a hoot if somewhat predictable with the verbal gags. From there on the movie does nail each and every stereotype perfectly from the guitar playing, bead wearing, bracelet adorned, backpacking UK hippies with their silly head wear and earrings.
I guess its no surprise the whole film is one big predictable cliche, we all know that right, we know to expect that but does this make for a fun flick? In all honesty no it doesn't, I still can't quite work out how or why this film has done so well here in the UK, well I know why...its because the TV show was so popular and it has a huge following that's why. I must declare I found myself second guessing almost every scene, every line of dialog and every gag, the whole scenario, the whole setup...everything was just so formulaic and predictable it really felt quite lame dare I say.
Sure there are scenes and lines that made me laugh of course. The most horrendous of these must be the lumps of poo shooting down the water chute after Neil has an accident at the top. This wasn't exactly funny...more utterly disgusting as the lumps of poo did look very real and the fact they hit Simon in the face followed by him gushing vomit did leave me actually gagging. Seeing Jay wanking under the covers as Will comes close to getting laid was very amusing, the lads getting stranded in the outback brings up some good lines despite the fact you knew right from the start that whole scenario was [b]bound[/b] to happen and Will having a spiritual campfire moment (and outburst) with the hippies was quite good.
I did find myself enjoying this in places but generally it all felt extremely repetitive in my opinion. Its all a thinly disguised rehash of the first movie, the plot is near identical and follows the same routine. The lads try to get in with the pretty folk, one or two of them manage to nab a sexy bird somehow, they all fall out over silly issues, they almost get their leg over but end up getting dumped in the end for a jock and then finally making up with each other. Hell even the verbal and visual gags are almost the same stuff rehashed but just slightly altered, instead of the 'pussay patrol' its now the 'banter brigade', worth a giggle but meh. The location this time made things more interesting and visually more exciting which I liked although I wish more had been set in the wilds of the outback. The short teaser trailers did tend to make you think that but alas twas no more than a tease.
The finale is again all the same guff from the first movie literately scene for scene including the end credit extras, plus it does feel like they shoehorned in as many cast regulars from the TV show as possible when they didn't really need to be there (Jay's dad?). In the end I do think this is better than the first movie outing but only marginally. The Aussie setting is great but lets be honest here...this film could of been set anywhere as they don't really take much advantage of that Aussie factor. I do believe (personally) that this franchise has now run its course and should quite while its ahead, its become very repetitive and making another in yet another location may not succeed.
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