Bringing successful sitcoms to the big screen has always been a treacherous game. Trying to re-capture the success of a small-screen hit has more often than not been the final nail in the coffin after the last few fleeting seasons of a show. Sure, in the case of The Inbetweeners, most critics found themselves eating their pre-emptive words, but amidst the cavalcade of utter disasters (Kevin and Perry, Mrs. Brown, even On the Busses), that was truly a surprising and delightfully lewd diamond in the rough.
Hoping to follow in the footsteps of The Inbetweeners. Jack Whitehall brings to the big screen his childish, irresponsible teacher Alfie Wickers, along with the members of Abbey Road`s Class K, in The Bad Education Movie. Being one of BBC3`s most successful sitcoms of all time, it was inevitable that a Bad Education movie was on the cards at some point, but given the outstanding series finale (which said a heartfelt and apt goodbye to each of the show`s youthful stars), even for this fan, the film seemed a somewhat superfluous idea.
In order to celebrate the end of the GCSE exams, Mr. Wickers (Whitehall) decides to take his class on a celebratory trip to Cornwall (having had his dreams of a Vegas vacation quashed following a rather unfortunate incident in Amsterdam involving magic mushrooms and an Anne Frank mannequin), promising them the rowdy trip of a lifetime. Hindered by overbearing mothers, the Cornish Liberation Army and a two thousand year old foreskin, the misfits of Class K certainly have a holiday to remember, culminating in them being mistaking for terrorists by MI5.
Fans of the show will find some enjoyment in the film version, but there is little here for new audiences, perhaps explaining the picture`s rather soft release. Indeed, with Whitehall himself doing his best impression of, well, himself, for the film`s ninety minute run, he seems to have forgotten that what made the show so watchable was the performances of the kids. In the screen-time they are given, young cast members Nikki Runeckles et al remind us why we loved the show in the first place, and it’s a shame that in his self-written script, Whitehall decided to use the film to showcase his own acting rather than that of his promising young colleagues.
Replacing the show`s heart with a steady stream of testicular mishaps, The Bad Education Movie will no doubt raise a few laughs, but ultimately fails to recapture the magic of its forerunner. The Inbetweeners this is not, but nonetheless, there are worse ways to spend ninety minutes.
Cornish strip clubs for example.
Dir: Elliot Hegarty
Scr: Freddy Syborn, Jack Whitehall
Starring: Jack Whitehall, Iain Glen, Matthew Horne, Harry Enfield, Sarah Solemani
Prd: Pippa Brown, Ben Cavey
DOP: Pete Rowe
Music: Rupert Hollier
Run time: 90 mins
Bad Education is in cinemas now.