It breaks down exactly zero barriers, but offers a target audience something partially fresh

There is something immensely calming about a film like The Festival, despite its sick and twisted sense of humour. Full of British sitcom mainstays, the story focuses on raising multiple ‘hilarious’ issues, letting them play out, and resolving them in around 90 minutes. The Festival certainly hasn’t nailed this criteria, but it’s added in flavour of Inbetweeners style crudeness, modern-day approachability and a keen sense of fun that makes it feel different, even if most of its ideas have been done before, multiple times.

On graduation day, Nick (Joe Thomas) is dumped by his girlfriend Caitlin (Hannah Tointon) leaving him devastated. Bound by his duty as Nick’s best friend, Shane (Hammed Animashaun) drags him to a music festival hoping he will get over his broken heart, pronto.

SHOWBIZ Film The Festival 092704
Undated film still handout from The Festival. Pictured: Joe Thomas as Nick. See PA Feature SHOWBIZ Film The Festival. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Entertainment Film/Nick Wall. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature SHOWBIZ Film The Festival.

Some of the humour is not just crude but outrightly hideous, and there’s certainly a feel that it does take things too far. The Inbetweeners got away with it because half an hour of balls hanging out was just long enough, but its two feature films were too long for it to continue to get away with the dirty humour. Essentially a third Inbetweeners film, but only following Simon, The Festival suffers similarly from being too long for its own good. There was a cushion between the adverts and The Inbetweeners filthy humour, The Festival only has its end credits.

Not all of the jokes are completely cringe-inducing with some hitting the mark, but perhaps not in quite the same frequency many of its contemporaries manage. Heralded in by Joe Thomas, who manages to hold his own, and a wonderful introductory performance from Hammed Animashaun, there’s a British comradery that spurs The Festival through the weaker passages of dialogue.

Yet, the real star is Claudia O’Doherty, bringing her wacky loner Amy to the forefront of every scene in which she features. A real star shining through the muddy field, her performance equals that of the chatty and overbearing personality she was originally written as. O’Doherty is the real puzzle piece that separates The Festival from being just an Inbetweeners copycat and a comedy in its own right.

Feeling homely, sort of relatable, and very British, there is a sense of accomplishment about The Festival. It breaks down exactly zero barriers, but offers a target audience something partially fresh, without offending anyone in the process.


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