The Inbetweeners 2 (2014) Australian Adventures in Gormlessness

Poster for The Inbetweeners 2
It may not be as well known on this side of the pond, but The Inbetweeners is a bit of television gold, no…platinum. Featuring the adventures of a group of lads who bring a whole new meaning to the term gormless, the show ran from 2008 to 2010 and made stars of Simon Bird, James Buckley, Blake Harrison and Joe Thomas. Produced by the E4 network, a part of channel four, the show was an instant hit and spawned first one, then two films.

Fans of the show are again treated to the misadventures of Will, Neil, Jay and Simon aka Si. The last film had the boys heading to Malia in Cyprus, Simon was chasing the love of his life Carley and the rest of the lads acted normally, or gorm-ally.

This time round, the girl that Simon found to replace Carley in the first film has now turned into the girlfriend from hell. She cuts his hoodies off and is smothering him. Jay, according to a grinder message he sends Neil, is living it large in Australia. He claims to get “a blowie from a different bird every morning” in his spacious mansion. He is known as DJ Big Penis and runs his own club. He invites Neil to visit.

Will, Simon and Neil decide to head down under. Simon wants to get away from Luci and Will can’t stand the thought of being at university with a group of people who constantly make fun of him. Once there Will bumps into an old junior school friend, female, who is delighted to see him. She talks him into hanging with her group of friends and Will turns his back on Jay, Simon and Neil.

The first thing the lads learn is that Jay, is still Jay after all. His mansion is a two-man tent, he works in the toilet at the nightclub and there are no birds in the morning. He is staying in his uncle’s front garden and the man is an Aussie version of Jay’s dad back in England, in a word; insufferable.

We follow the lads as they bumble their way through many social settings. It could be said that the sequel to The Inbetweeners Movie, is pretty much a copy of the first one, four English inept lads in a foreign country. The gags in the film however, are a bit closer to the bone than the first one.

There is a riff, or homage, on the Babe Ruth scene in Caddyshack, except this is no candy bar and the payoff is much more disgusting. It is, however, very very funny. One laughs in horrified glee while simultaneously gagging at the sight. There are a number of ‘R’ rated moments, a set of bollocks hanging down at a pub, along with a dog licking them, and a urine scene towards the end that is grossly funny.

The Inbetweeners 2 is amusing and entertaining. However, the humor is tinged with sadness. We feel that this will be the last time Will, Jay, Neil and Simon will crease us up with their antics. The film felt a little hollow somehow. Perhaps it was seeing James Buckley in the 2014 horror movie The Pyramid. He played a bit more of a grownup in that feature, he was a cameraman and never once said “clunge”

He never said it in The Inbetweeners 2 film either. It was as though Jay, the part James plays in the show and the films, was an imitation and not the real thing. Sort of how the film itself felt. The whole thing felt more like a imitation of the original, addictive humor of the TV show. Despite the the bollocks jokes and the fecal funnies.

Still, fans of the show will find this entertaining, if not a bit disappointing since Carley is not in it, “beep, beeb, beep, beep.” Despite this shortcoming, made up a bit with the appearance of Will’s mum with Mr. Gilbert, a sight that leads her son to declare that they have all died and gone to hell, Edith Head was missed.

A good solid 4 out of 5 for this last visit with the boys and anyone who disagrees is a “Bumda!

2 June 2015

Michael Knox-Smith

Neil Armstrong (August 5, 1930 – August 25, 2012) Gone But Never Forgotten

I was sad to hear that Neil Armstrong died yesterday. He was a true American hero and pioneer. He will be missed but he will live on in the history books of the world as the man who walked on the moon and said those iconic words as he planted the American flag on the moon’s surface.

I say that he was a hero. Of course he was. My somewhat limited definition of a hero is pretty straightforward. A hero is an individual who generations of schoolchildren and other more adult people look up to. They are touched by their achievements and strive to live their lives as the hero in question does.

I also say that he was a pioneer. My definition of a pioneer is also quite straightforward. As a child raised on stories of the settlers in the early years of America making their way across a country so vast to find places that no man had seen before, Armstrong fall in that category easily. He was making his way across space.

All the astronauts were heroes and pioneers, and they still are. Like the Star Trek narration states at the beginning of every episode, “To boldly go where no man has gone before.”

I was ten, almost eleven, years old when the moon landing was televised worldwide. I can remember sitting with my parents in front of the television and watching the ‘scratchy’ and noise filled images that came from space of these brave men and their first steps on the moon.

All of us in the room that day were excited and fearful. No one knew what this might mean to the world. We had not only broken our earthly boundary but we’d landed on another ‘planet.’ We were all very proud to be Americans that day. The first country in the world to put a real man on the moon to interact the the existing ‘man’ on the moon.

I do remember, much to my embarrassment, that just after Neil Armstrong had utter those words destined to go into the history books, I turned to my parents and said, “How come we can land on the moon, but we can’t get a decent picture of it? Why is it so fuzzy?” If I remember correctly I think both my parents laughed and then told me to ‘Quieten down’ until the broadcast was finished.

You can read books that were written about that time that have nothing to do with space and a lot of them will have made a reference to that event. The date 20 July 1969 is an important date for all of mankind not just for America. I remember reading a book by John Ketwig called …and a hard rain fell: A GI‘s True Story of the War in Vietnam. In it he tells of walking around the countryside in Thailand and telling, and showing with the aid of matches and a rubber band,  local villagers about the moon landing.

Neil Armstrong hero, pioneer, father, brother, man. Like Icarus, he flew and challenged the Gods. His words, “One small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” Will be his legacy for generations to come.  Neil has made his last journey, one that has taken him higher than the moon.

Neil Armstrong gone, but never forgotten. RIP great man, we’ll remember you as long as we breathe. I know for certain that I will.