The Inbetweeners 2
Surprisingly decent sequel to the comedy spin-off starring Simon Bird and Joe Thomas
Putting paid once and for all to the notion that travelling can remotely change you, those four eternal teens known collectively as the Inbetweeners head down under. Given that the first film's phenomenal success was in contrast to its flagging humour, The Inbetweeners 2 might seem cynical (and it probably is) but at least everyone involved gives it some welly.
Written and directed by the sitcom's creators Damon Beesley and Iain Morris, it marks the return of simple Simon (Joe Thomas), Neil and his gaping gob (Blake Harrison) and filthy fantasist Jay (James Buckley). Simon Bird is back too as Will, whose trademark sarcasm is well directed at a group of posh backpackers (including Freddie Stroma's enjoyably awful Ben), and whose pedantic superiority reaches its zenith when he takes on the concept of spiritualism.
The quartet are travelling across Australia in what is, quite literally, a Peter Andre tribute vehicle in pursuit of Jay's lovely ex, Jane (Lydia Rose Bewley). Sadly, the female characters with the most screentime are outrageous tease Katie (Emily Berrington) who Will wincingly serenades, and psycho Lucy (Tamla Kari) who Simon accidently becomes engaged to, although both actresses attack their roles with gusto.
Unafraid to go for the cheapest chuckle and the guiltiest guffaw, The Inbetweeners 2 heaves with bad-taste humour, including a bravura water park sequence. It's to the central quartet's credit that, although their ongoing adventures are stretching four fairly one-note characters just shy of snapping point, this time round it actually feels less tired.
If the chemistry and performances are by now admirably honed, the formula is refreshed by energetic, flagrantly populist direction and scenarios where no humiliation is too eye-gougingly embarrassing or gross-out. Diddly squat is learned but there's bickering, 'bants' and some truly spectacular stupidity. Nothing changes then.
General release from Wed 6 Aug.