The feature film version of Bad Education, starring Jack Whitehall, is in release in the UK.
By the sound of several reviews it’s one that should please fans.
If you didn’t like the Bad Education TV show, you won’t enjoy the movie. And even those that did like series might tire at the mid-way point of this feature. But stick with it as Whitehall and co-writer Freddy Syborn make some unexpected narrative choices, director Elliot Hegarty directs in a style that transcends the show’s small-screen roots, and ultimately there are enough good jokes to make the feature a worthwhile endeavour.
Much like the Inbetweeners films, the film centres on a trip gone wrong, and from the Amsterdam-based beginning, it’s clear that lowbrow is the order of the day. Anything that can be tripped over, dangled from or accidentally consumed is attacked with boundless enthusiasm by Whitehall, who puts it all on the line (in some cases quite literally) in pursuit of a laugh……Silly and certainly not for the faint-hearted, The Bad Education Movie will leave newcomers either offended or bemused, and it’s hard to see where any potential sequel could go from here (maybe that trip to Vegas?). Nevertheless, it achieves its goal to entertain fans of the TV series with much of the same, on a wider canvas, including a typically chaotic finale.
Written by Whitehall and the TV-show’s co-creator Freddy Syborn and directed smartly by TV’s Elliot Hegarty, making his feature debut, Bad Education is not by any means well-funded but marries a strong sense of comic timing with a visual ambition which knows its limitations. Unlike others of its type, this film isn’t at all harsh on the eye, and Hegarty makes playful cinematic references throughout which underscore the performances and some snappy writing.
The plot begins promisingly but degenerates into a confusing and offensive mess that paints the people of Cornwall as revolutionaries-slash-terrorists-in-waiting. As for the jokes, they rarely rise above the level of bad taste / gross-out humour; it says something that the best gag involves Alfie being dared by his obnoxious ex-schoolmate (a wasted Jeremy Irvine) to tea-bag a swan. It all adds up to a dismal disappointment, with Whitehall’s likeably goofy comic presence failing to compensate for the poorly structured script and general lack of laughs.