How to Have Sex

15 Blu-ray, DVD

Going away to another country with your mates on holiday is often a seminal moment in a young person’s life. The first whiffs of independence, breaking away from the security of a family, and, more often the not, the opportunity to make a complete tit of yourself. And of course it doesn’t matter, as you’re on foreign soil.

It can also be the first throes into exploring one’s sexuality, allowing you to express yourself with confidence that you wouldn’t necessarily get back home.

Molly Manning Walker’s directorial debut is a glimpse into just that, with three British teen girls on a mission to have their best holiday ever.

boom reviews How to Have Sex
I've never known anyone to be so attached to an inflatable flamingo before.

With the start of the summer it’s time for 16-year-olds Tara (Mia McKenna-Bruce), Em (Enva Lewis) and Skye (Lara Peake), to leave the worrying about their exam results behind and head off to party central on the island of Crete.

They want it all, the partying, booze and sex - especially that last one for Tara, who is still a virgin.

It’s made a little easier by the fact there’s a group of young northerners on the opposite balcony at their resort, with one catching Tara’s eye. But when things don’t go to plan, their perfect holiday quickly turns sour.

boom reviews  How to Have Sex
It's a new herbal alcohol-free cocktail i'm working on...

There’s a heady mix of braveness and stupidity for anyone attempting this type of film, particularly after the phenomenal success of 2011’s The Inbetweeners Movie, but that’s exactly what Walker has done. Sure it’s from a female perspective, and it’s a more dramatic piece – of sorts – but there’s no denying the same template of themes.

The problem is however, the writing, which isn’t good news for Walker, as she wrote it. It’s woefully generic throughout, with a narrative to match, lacking any kind of personality or identity. It relies more on what’s unsaid than said, which is fine, if there was anything remotely interesting in what was said in the first place.

It’s clear from the outset that Walker struggled with what to do with her characters; she had a handle – just – on Tara, but the other two are weak supporting characters. There are no real heart to hearts between them, no sense of them being friends for life, or any tangible bond.

The young actresses all do their best, but with the fault lying squarely with the flat material, there’s not much they can do. The same could be said of the film’s star McKenna-Bruce, who recently picked up a Rising Star Bafta, for which her portrayal here clearly contributed to, but you just think that both her, and the film itself, could have benefit from a stronger script and concept, that told an original story well.

With a number of shorts under her belt, you get the sense that perhaps Walker wasn’t quite ready for the jump to features, as this effort illustrates; you could see it working well as a short, but a feature is just outside of her current skillset.

Even the title has a salacious edge to it in the hopes of marketing it as something it clearly isn’t, with the exact opposite a sentiment being far more accurate.

Even with its low brow humour, The Inbetweeners Movie captures everything this film doesn’t, everything from the awkwardness that comes from being a hormonal teenager, to having friends - or should that be “friieeeeeeennnnds” - around you just when you need them.

This then is more like the holiday abroad that most teens experience, in that it doesn’t live up to its promise, making for a disappointing outcome, lacking that emotional rollercoaster that often is integral to it.

we give this two out of five