The Festival is a British comedy film centring around two friends who attend a musical festival. One Nick, (Joe Thomas) goes to the festival to recover from a messy breakup and the other Shane, (Hammed Animashaun), goes to meet his hero DJ Hammer Head- hijinks ensue. Those who are familiar with the Inbetweeners, (a British comedy tv series), will find a lot of similar tissue here, due to similar creative teams. These similarities are my biggest issue with the film, many of the gags and jokes seem a little too familiar, and Thomas’s Nick is a near replica of his character of Simon from the Inbetweeners. However, that said, these similarities are not wholly a detriment to the film. If anything, they show this film for what it was a missed opportunity, as it could have easily been called the Inbetweeners 3 and it would have gained more fanfare.
The film’s humour is a perfect mix of cringe comedy and hilarious moments; working to great effect throughout. The standout character in this regard is Shane’s stepfather Robin, (Jemaine Clement), who steals every scene he is in; never failing to make me laugh.
As well as the film’s humour it also shares what the inbetweeners did so well, relatability. A false Hollywood esque studio comedy this is not. The film also manages to make most of the characters memorable and likeable, with the obvious example here being the effortlessly charming Amy, (Claudia O’ Doherty). Amy easily has some of the best lines of the film, and the relationship between her and Shane felt very genuine; O’Doherty is the breakout star of the film. Sadly, this likeability is not shared by the film’s lead. Thomas’s Nick is an annoying character in many ways, as such he is hard for root for; though I do think this was a conscious choice on behalf of the writers.
Finally, this film is a treasure trove of cameos from British comedians, with the likes of Nick Frost and Noel Fielding making terrific appearances.
Overall, if you loved the Inbetweeners, this is more of the same. The film’s greatest sin is that some of the side characters, like Amy, don’t get the attention they deserve, but this pales in light of the funny and relatable tale told.
Reviewed by Luke