By Adam Ray Palmer
Today’s review is the film version of the BBC sitcom Bad Education. This film is appropriately called The Bad Education Movie.
All the sitcom's regulars are back on board for this big screen reunion including Jack Whitehall, Harry Enfield, Mathew Horne and Sarah Solemani.
The 18 episodes prior to this feature film have been well received including an American pilot being commissioned due to its British success, but does the film follow that trend?
Continuing from the end of term in series three of the British sitcom, Mr Wickers (Jack Whitehall) and his class go on one final school trip after they finish their GCSEs to the south of England. Only madness, carnage and debauchery of the drug kind ensues.
Let me get this out of the way early doors… the cast and crew have cashed in on this film. The lure of a feature film has meant a bigger budget but also means making a narrative that usually fits a 25-minute episode, needing to stretch over a 90-minute movie. It just doesn’t work.
This movie serves as an education in bad filmmaking – get it? Never mind. I watched this film the other night and I actually decided that as it was that shocking, I wasn’t going to review it. But now, because I feel that let down by the film, I have decided to scribble down why it’s so poor.
I must state that I was not ambivalent going into this movie. I am a fan of the sitcom version and enjoyed most of the 18 episodes from the past three years. It’s just a shame that the film doesn’t live up to those expectations. The narrative is unoriginal, poorly executed, terrible acting and produced on the cheap.
This film would have had a few million pounds to spend in total so it could net back that amount tenfold. There lies problem one. The resource given to this film would have been minimal and therefore it is reflected in the final outcome. The cast, along with the originals, is made up with a bunch of who’s who from a conveyor belt of past bit-part comedy actors that have only ever played supporting roles in mediocre sitcoms.
Problem two is the comedy. The jokes-to-scene ratio is inadequate for a comedy film. I understand that every joke won’t be a belter and you can let a few duffs go, but when nearly all of the quips are immature and unoriginal; it wears pretty thin. The Bad Education Movie reminds me of a poor tribute to The Inbetweeners Movie – which was a below par tribute to The Inbetweeners sitcom!
Problem three is the plot. The narrative is simply ludicrous. What is a fully grown teacher doing hanging out with a bunch of 16 year olds after hours? Where are the authorities? The story goes so farfetched at the climax that I just prayed for it to end.
Problem four is the responsibility that Jack Whitehall has as the sole anchor to the film. The sitcom is so great because of his chemistry with his on screen dad Harry Enfield, his girlfriend Sarah Solemani and his head teacher friend Mathew Horne. Barring slight screen time at the beginning and the end, you never see the above trio throughout. If they all had serious roles in this film, it would have been so much more enjoyable; let alone believable! How can a teacher go on a vacation with school children on his own? Come on!
In the end, the amusing sitcom has been marred by a lumbering piece of work. From the off, you just get that feeling that you should turn it off so the sitcom will be your lasting memory. But in the back of your head, you’re hoping for the original Bad Education goodness to prevail. Even if I was still watching it now nearly a week on, I’d still be waiting.
Cineroom Rating: 1 Star
The Bad Education Movie is now available on DVD or download – certificate 15