The Festival is sure to leave even the most resilient viewer squirming in their seat
The first shot of The Festival, the new feature directed by Inbetweeners co-creator Iain Morris, looks up at Joe Thomas as he has sex towards the camera – immediately landing the audience into the film’s familiar gross and awkward tone. Like the Inbetweeners movies, this one prides itself on sexual frustration and gross humour that’s sure to leave even the most resilient viewer squirming in their seat.
Nick (Thomas) is bluntly dumped by his girlfriend Caitlin (Hannah Tointon) on graduation day and suffers days in bed staring at the ceiling with post-breakup depression. Through some persuasion, his best mate Shane (Hammed Animashaun) drags him out of his squalor and they go to Leeds Festival together. Unfortunately, Nick bumps into his ex at the festival, and he’s determined to win her back.
The script by Keith Akushie and Joe Parham maintains a consistent hilarity with weird and ridiculous scenarios (even for a music festival), but the story suffers the same old predictable paths and resolutions. The characters are lovable and hatefully watchable: Nick acting as the voice of reason in a maniacally uncomfortable environment and being treated as a miserable outsider as a result. The film tries to cure his reticence to have fun but isn’t too convincing about it.
There are also times when Morris and the writers strain to juggle all the supporting characters (despite not having too many), especially when certain paybacks in the second-half appear rather weak. But the players are memorable, none more so than the friendly but talkative Australian, Amy (Claudia O’Doherty), who joins Nick and Shane in their strange adventures and easily steals the film. She deserves her own spin-off.
The Festival has plenty to laugh and cringe at; however, it doesn’t leave the audience with an especially satisfying story. Instead of an engaging narrative, it’s more of a tapestry of reasons why festivals are intrinsically horrible. (It’s only a relief that Morris has kept the DJ-music down to a minimum – he’d rather play Mr Brightside on repeat.) Inbetweeners fans will enjoy the humour, but it’s doubtful that The Festival will achieve the same kind of resonance.
The Festival is released nationwide on 14th August 2018.
Watch the trailer for The Festival here: