From modest beginnings on E4, "The Inbetweeners" became - in my view - one of the greatest British TV comedies of recent years. If you'd ever been a teenager in suburbia, you could relate to Will, Simon, Jay and Neil's ham-fisted efforts to get drunk, impress girls and navigate their hormonal way through sixth form.
The transition to the big screen brings a few moments of sheer comedy gold, such as the hilarious nightclub dance and hotel pool scenes, but the movie generally doesn't have the same wit or invention as the TV series. Whereas the TV episodes were short, sharp and usually ended with the boys' failure and humiliation, the movie is drawn-out and sentimental, and a happy ending is telegraphed from early on.
The film's plot, which revolves around the group's encounters (and growing bond) with four holidaying girls, doesn't really convince. The girls themselves are well played, but their interest in the boys - despite the latter's charmless, gauche and sometimes obnoxious behaviour - beggars belief. None of the romantic possibilities in the series were ever so forgiving, and four attractive girls on holiday in a party resort are hardly going to hang around after being ignored and offended. Elsewhere, the main 'villain' of the piece (a nasty club rep) doesn't get enough screen time or play a coherent role, and Simon's tedious obsession with Carli is overdone. A couple of amusing cameos from sociopathic teacher Mr Gilbert simply remind you how much better the series was.
While the story allows the boys to mature a little - even Jay gets a poignant scene when he realises that he and Simon will soon go their separate ways - I had the feeling that none of the lads travelled far enough along their character arc to justify the movie's upbeat conclusion.
Overall, despite its weaknesses, this is a nice postscript to "The Inbetweeners" that will entertain fans. Sure, it's lewd, it's crude and it's unsophisticated, but the movie's depiction of teenage boys, and their typical drunken holiday antics, is faithful and amusing.