How Ruthless Editing Made The Inbetweeners Movie

Posted by August 18, 2011 Comment

Dominic Frisby went to the cast and crew screening of The Inbetweeners. Here’s his report for Bleeding Cool:

The Inbetweeners on the big screen picks up a little while after The Inbetweeners on the small screen came to a close. The four lads, the ‘inbetweeners’ of the title, have just finished school. “Don’t kill anyone,’” their headmaster advises the leavers in his good bye speech, “it reflects very badly on us.”

Will’s dad’s got re-married and didn’t invite him to the wedding. Simon’s just been dumped. Jay’s just been caught by his mum masturbating with a mask and snorkel on (for the fourth time). And Neil… well, Neil’s Neil.

There’s only one thing for it: a holiday to Crete. By the time it’s over, Jay assures them, they’ll be ‘knee deep in clunge’. Of course, it doesn’t quite work out like that. Lots of booze, not a lot of shagging.

Over next two weeks everything you could ever imagine that could go wrong in a first parent-free trip to Crete does so. And more.

But by the end the four bozos might actually get the girls. Hard to believe, I know…

The film is very funny – in a filthy, puerile, Inbetweeners kind of way. There are jokes even before the opening music starts and the torrent doesn’t stop till the final credit has rolled. To give you an idea of densely packed it is, writer Iain Morris tells me there were some 30,000 words in the script. Most 100 minute films have half as many.

But that’s one of the things with comedy. Nobody knows quite what’s going to work.

A beauty of a joke on the page might not translate to the screen. And something quite ordinary might turn into something quite special if it’s performed well. So one of the secrets is to start with too much and cut back. How many sketch shows have you seen which would have been much better had they cut huge chunks of the material?

Andrew Zein of production company Tiger Aspect says that in their more successful sketch shows they film at least a third more material than they need and the more material that gets left on the cutting room floor, the better the show.

And so it was with The Inbetweeners. On their £3.5 million budget, they filmed something like 140 minutes of material. In the edit they ruthlessly killed lots of their babies and the result is 97 minutes of joy that flies by. A “gag fest”, and it’s going to be the comedy hit of the autumn.

And Mike Skinner’s soundtrack is going to be a hit too.

Some might consider The Inbetweeners rather ‘low brow’. It is. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t good. The perfectionism that has gone into it is that of the true comedy nerd. One of the strengths lies in the casting of the four lads. That might look like something that just happened – they got lucky. But over a thousand people were auditioned before they made their minds up.

And even though they clearly have a hit on their hands, all Morris and Beesley seemed to worry about as they watched the premiere were the so-called flaws. These are the perfectionist qualities that are essential for all top notch comedy.

This is apparently the last time we’ll ever see The Inbetweeners. What a shame. But what a send off it is. Credit to everyone involved.

And by the way, the balding bloke in the supermarket in the first scene? That’s me.

The Inbetweeners is a bona fide smash here in the UK, with cinemas adding extra screenings and a massive £2.5 million haul last night, its first evening in cinemas. Think about how small this country is for a moment… this film is a genuine blockbuster.

(Last Updated August 18, 2011 5:25 am )