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The Festival review - a funny if forgettable film from the creator of The Inbetweeners

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Verdict: a funny summer flick that leaves no lasting impact.

This film follows Nick, played by Joe Thomas (Simon, from The Inbetweeners) who, after being dumped by his university girlfriend Caitlin (Hannah Tointon, also from The Inbetweeners) is encouraged to get out of his post-breakup funk by going to a festival with best pal Shane (Hammed Animashaun). Of course, absolutely nothing goes to plan and hilarity ensues. 

The film begins with a graphic and clumsy sex scene between Nick and Caitlin set to Khia’s heavily explicit song ‘My neck, my back’ that ends with certain bodily fluids ending up on Nick’s graduation gown, I won’t detail exactly which bodily fluids but you get the idea. This marks the opening scene and its fair to say sets the tone for the rest of the film, overly crude but no doubt hilarious. 

Following Caitlin’s swift breakup with Nick as his mum attempts to take a picture of the ‘happy couple’ and Nick’s meltdown on stage at their graduation, begging for her back only to be rejected in front of the entire graduating class, Nick descends into the classic post-breakup depression.

Fast forward a few weeks and Nick’s best friend Shane, played by wonderfully charismatic newcomer Hammed Animashaun, finally encourages him to get out of bed and join him at the festival they had planned to go to before Nick’s brutal dumping. After some persistent convincing, Nick reluctantly agrees and off they go. 

Without spoiling it for you the rest of the film becomes a never-ending cycle of injury, embarrassment and rejection for Nick, whose desperate attempts to win Caitlin back result in nothing short of pure carnage. Unwanted tattoos, cringe-inducing nipple piercings, carnal relations with a goat, and the theft of a false leg are just a few examples. This film leaves nothing to the imagination; there really is something for everybody.

Australian actress Claudia O’Doherty (of Netflix’s Love) plays the sweet but eccentric Amy who joins the two best friends early on in the film. Amy’s bizarre anecdotes and enthusiastic delivery of otherwise serious subjects are some of the weirdest moments of the film. At one moment she excitedly points out that ‘this is just like that time my sister got kidnapped!’ O’Doherty’s character, although amusing, has a tendency to drift into the ridiculous, becoming less of a character and more of a caricature. O’Doherty could’ve done with being brought back to earth slightly instead of running wild with her eccentricities which in excess, don’t really do her character any favours.

Director Iain Morris does well to bring the relatable charm that made The Inbetweeners series the success it was, to the bring screen. However, some of the jokes in the film are somewhat implausible; a scene involving a local druid gathering in the woods conducting a bizarre wedding ceremony certainly could’ve done with being left on the cutting room floor. 

Despite the film’s implausibility in parts, it is still a funny and heart-warming effort lifted mostly by Thomas’ solid performance as main man Nick. Thomas plays the uptight, unlucky in love protagonist with wonderful sincerity and a good sense of humour. Unsurprising, in that the character of Nick is identical to that of Simon in The Inbetweeners, which Thomas played for three seasons and two feature films. 

The character is so similar, it almost felt as if the film was a continuation of Simon’s story, only further emphasised by the appearance of Hannah Tointon as Nick’s frustrated girlfriend (the same role she played in The Inbetweeners as Simon’s shrill girlfriend Tara). The striking similarities are slightly disconcerting at first and speak to a certain degree of a lack of originality but it does work. Morris, through his casting of Thomas is taking advantage of an established character we already know and love. It is a guaranteed recipe for success that does in fact pay off.

The Festival is a ridiculous, crude, and ultimately hilarious foray into exactly what not to do at a festival. Its slightly formulaic plot is redeemed by decent performances from its cast and Morris’ uncanny ability to turn ridiculous bad luck into comedy gold; that same talent that made The Inbetweeners the modern comedy classic it is today. The Festival will undoubtedly have you crying with laughter and cringing with discomfort, but in terms of originality and plausibility it sadly falls short. Also, just as a disclaimer, this film is not one to watch with parents, no need to thank me. 

The Festival is out everywhere now. Check out the trailer below. 

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