HOLLYWOOD has a long history of stealing story ideas for films from elsewhere, usually some foreign language territory which made a great movie. But Americans don’t like reading their films, so Hollywood cashes in on a good story and remakes it in Americanese.
And it doesn’t restrict itself to films; TV series also make the transition across the big pond. Think Shameless or The Office.
Now there’s The Inbetweeners. That British TV series was the first sitcom commissioned for the British E4 channel (after Skins, it was only the second TV series created for the channel), and it ran for three seasons between 2008 and 2010.
MTV picked up on the idea and redid it for American teens, airing the show in the second half of last year on a Friday night. But it never really picked up and got cancelled late last year.
South Africa, being the place where TV series come to die, is now catching up with the US because not only are we getting the TV series courtesy of MTV (it premiered on MTV – DStv Channel 130 – on Monday), but we also get a film.
The TV series revolved around four friends trying to survive teenagehood, and what was a drama in England became a sitcom in America. This being a comedy of the sitcom variety, being a teenager here means being awkward and humiliated in good dollops.
While the four characters aren’t total losers, they aren’t the popular kids either, occupying the dubious midground of being mostly ignored. So, in true filmic style, the way the characters cope is by mocking each other.
Coming back to the film, it follows the sex-obsessed boys to a notorious Mediterranean hotspot where they try their hardest to break their losing streak with the ladies.
Will (Joey Pollari), Simon (Bubba Lewis), Jay (Zack Pearlman) and Neil (Mark L Young) reprise their roles from the MTV series, which had as many detractors as fans.
Online reviews of the film suggest that opinion varies between disappointment that a horny-teen comedy has been turned into a gross-out comedy, to surprise that various personalities actually make it a fun watch.
Coming in at 97 minutes, the film carries an over-16 age restriction because of drug use, language, sex and nudity.
The film was not previewed to local reviewers and Ster Kinekor probably didn’t even make the link between the TV series which has just started and the film which is about to open on circuit.