Director: Iain Morris
Starring: Joe Thomas, Hammed Animashaun, Claudia O’Doherty, Jemaine Clement, Hannah Tointon, Kurt Yaeger, Noel Fielding, Nick Frost, Theo Barklam-Biggs
Run Time: 98 mins
The Festival is the first project by the creators of the Inbetweeners, which spawned three hilarious television series and two flawed but serviceable films that took their characters on tour. The narrative and settings are very much in the same vein in The Festival. The film follows two university graduates, Nick (The Inbetweeners’ Joe Thomas) and his friend, Shane (Hammed Animashaun). Nick has recently gone through a break-up with his university girlfriend, Caitlin (conveniently played by Hannah Tointon who was also a love interest for Simon in The Inbetweeners) and spends the beginning of his Summer ‘cry-wanking’ surrounded by buckets of fast food chicken. After Shane manages to lure him out of his room, they head to a music festival, which as one would expect, is filled with mud, sex, drugs, bodily fluids, and conveniently Nick’s ex. Claudia O’Doherty plays Amy, a quirky but likeable Aussie traveller who Nick and Shane first meet on the train journey to Glastonbury. Amy is happy-go-lucky, a chatterbox, a little awkward and talks away to various people before they leave her. At first, she gets on the nerves of Nick and Shane but then conveniently they all begin to bond, Shane more so.
After a fairly funny but familiar opening, once the titular festival arrives, what follows is a succession of awkward, cringeworthy gags that are at worst, familiar, but at best, rib-tickling and surprisingly heartfelt. It also just about manages to shake its televisual feel with its festival set piece. There are a couple of clumsy references to other films such as The Wicker Man in an extended set piece and the plot is rather absurd, but it all just about hangs together.
Both Joe Thomas and Hammed Animashaun are reliably funny and pass for playing characters much younger than their real ages. The rest of the young cast are all sound and the film has the usual comedy slew of celebrity cameos that are welcome relief when there isn’t much for the film to do. What We Do In The Shadows’ Jemaine Clement is particular funny as one of the boys father, who has many of the film’s best lines and gags.
Ultimately, The Festival is a likeable and well-natured comedy that manages to capture the reality of a British music festival. In the wake of The Inbetweeners, it proves to be a perfectly entertaining diversion. It may not be the most memorable film and probably will be forgotten fairly quickly, but the film ultimately succeeds in its primary target of making audiences laugh and shouldn’t be overlooked.