The Festival is directed by Iain Morris, who co-created and wrote The Inbetweeners show and subsequent movies. It feels just like another Inbetweeners movie too, especially as star Joe Thomas plays what appears to be an exact copy of his Inbetweeners character Simon, pining for his girlfriend and obsessing over her throughout the movie. The result is a fairly likeable and enjoyable comedy, still a lot better than most movie comedies these days, and with some laugh out loud moments. But, you can’t help comparing it to The Inbetweeners and, unfortunately, it’s just nowhere near as good as that.
In The Festival, Joe Thomas plays Nick, preparing to graduate and soon to head off to a festival with best friend Shane and girlfriend Caitlin. After a cringe-worthy ejaculation gag involving his mother, getting dumped by Caitlin and having a breakdown on stage at his graduation ceremony, Nick becomes depressed and it’s up to Shane to try and drag him along to the festival and moveon with life. On the train to the festival they meet up with Amy, who’s also on her way to the festival, and when they do finally get there they end up camping right next to ex-girlfriend Caitlin and her friends.
Your level of enjoyment throughout The Festival is going to vary depending on how you feel about festivals as a whole. If you’re like Nick for much of the movie, then you’re going to share his discomfort with the mud, the toilets and the cramped camping arrangements, laughing at him and his frustrations with it all (“I just want to go home and have a nice shower and a poo!”). If you’re a festival goer yourself then you’ll revel in the whole experience lived out on screen, as the movie was actually filmed during a real festival. Along the way there’s drink, drugs, druids(!) and nudity for Nick to endure as he hopes to get back with Caitlin, and then later on a blue smurf girl who he hooks up with for a one night stand.
The supporting cast are all fairly funny, particularly Hammed Animashaun and Claudia O’Doherty as friends Shane and Amy. But, it’s the brilliant Jemaine Clement as Shanes stepdad who manages to steal every single scene he’s in and is just hilarious. Sadly though he’s not in it as much as he should be.