‘I’m normally a huge advocate for British-comedy but this is not a prime example of what our little island can produce’
The Festival, 2018
Directed by: Iain Morris
Starring: Joe Thomas, Hammed Animashuan, Claudia O’Doherty
What happens when you have some of the creators of The Inbetweeners and a couple of actors also from The Inbetweeners? You get The Festival, a cheap, knock-off version taking place in a music festival. Nick (Joe Thomas) has recently been dumped by his girlfriend Caitlin (Hannah Tointon) but is dragged to a music festival by his best-friend Shane (Hammed Animashaun), who is determined to meet his musical idol.
When The Inbetweeners movie came out, I hadn’t watched any of the TV series so didn’t know any of the characters or their personalities, but that didn’t hamper my enjoyment of that movie in any way. This film, though, barely introduces any characters (instead chooses to give people different quirks or traits), and Nick, our protagonist, is basically Simon from The Inbetweeners; the first time we meet him he is even having an awkward sexual encounter with his then-girlfriend Caitlin, something which Joe Thomas and Hannah Tointon have done before . . . in The Inbetweeners. Nick then goes away (to a festival whereas Simon went abroad) and, lo and behold, his ex-girlfriend is there (as Simon’s ex-girlfriend was in Malia with them). Nick then spends the early part of this film trying to win over Caitlin’s heart (as Simon did with Carli (Emily Head)), but she’s got her heart set on someone else (as Carli did), and Nick soon ends up arguing with his friends (as Simon did) and meets another girl who takes his mind away from his ex-girlfriend (as Simon did). Absolutely no thought must have gone into the writing of his character, instead instructing him to be Simon.
The plot is also very basic (Shane wants to meet his masked DJ hero to show him his own tunes) and most of the characters are just quirks: one girl forgets everyone’s name (there’s her character), one guy is rich (there’s his character), one guy thinks Nick is Harry Potter (there’s his character) and one guy has a wooden leg and calls Nick ‘Lick’ (now he also has a character). I’m normally a huge advocate for British-comedy but this is not a prime example of what our little island can produce.
There are moments of redemption for it, the dance scene with Nick and Shane being one of the funniest moments (there was also a comedic dance scene in The Inbetweeners. . .), and I did like the character development between Shane and odd-ball Aussie Amy (Claudia O’Doherty), and generally when those two were on screen together the film picked up. It’s such a shame they weren’t the main focus of the film, instead giving us Nick who hates festivals (the film is set in a festival. . .), hates crowds, is depressed at being dumped, stalks girls all weekends, steals a car, doesn’t care that his friend wants to see Hammerhead (Noel Fielding), lies to Amy so they don’t have to pitch a tent near her, then later tells Amy that they aren’t friends, ruins everyone’s graduation by proclaiming his love for Caitlin, defaces someone’s car and steals a man’s wooden leg. Does all that scream a character we should majorly invest in? Shane is hilarious and caring, and Amy is funny in her own quirky way and is sweet, yet those traits aren’t good enough to be the main character. It’ll make money and there are moments of humour, but it’s all too easy and too cheap and is too obviously trying to be an addition to The Inbetweeners’ universe.
Personal: * * Acting: * * * Writing: * * Presentation: * * *