Now I’ve made it clear when I reviewed the films that I am a fan of The Inbetweeners. It’s one of those shows that perfectly captured the experience of being a teenager (even if virtually none of what happened to the characters in the show happened to me). So when it was announced that Iain Morris, one of the creators of The Inbetweeners would be making a new film, reuniting with Joe Thomas (who played Simon in The Inbetweeners) I was excited. However, I should have limited my excitement as The Festival is a terrible film.
The film focuses on Nick, whose girlfriend breaks up with him the day he graduates from university. To help take Nick’s mind off things, his best friend Shane convinces him to use his tickets for a music festival, which his ex is also attending (seeing how it was through her that Nick and Shane got their tickets in the first place). Whilst at the festival, Nick and Shane run into Australian visitor Amy, who has been going to the festival solo for years, with the rest of the film being their experience at the festival, There isn’t really much to say about the plot of the film, the two main strands being Nick wanting to get back together with his ex and Shane wanting to meet a DJ idol of his, most of the film being an excuse to get to the jokes. The problem is that, aside from one or two lines, none of the jokes are funny. Virtually all the jokes in the film are based on the cringe comedy style that The Inbetweeners perfected but whereas the jokes in The Inbetweeners still hold up, the jokes here are just lazy. A good portion of them are reused from The Inbetweeners, and most of them are gross out jokes. Just as an example, the first joke in the film is Nick ejaculating onto his graduation gown, and then his mum puts it in her mouth later, thinking it’s toothpaste. A lot of the jokes are like that in the film, a lot of them coming across as more disturbing that funny. It also doesn’t help that the characters are either annoying, unlikable or both. Nick is one of the most selfish, irritating protagonists in a comedy film in recent years, with him, on two separate occasions, stealing someone’s prosthetic leg, one of those times being to show his superiority to someone else. It also doesn’t help that I find the whole music festival scene just uncomfortable with my personality, with the idea of fun the characters experience in the film being something like hell for me. I could say that it’s just me, but I hate the nightclub scene even more than this and I had a lot of fun with The Inbetweeners Movie, so it is more the film not properly conveying why festivals are supposed to be fun,
The cast try to give some redeeming qualities to the film, but the script really lets them down. Joe Thomas as Nick is essentially playing Simon from The Inbetweeners again, but without any of the charm and insecurity that made Simon an endearing character. He plays Nick as an obnoxious self centred arse, with no amount of times the character is called out for his behaviour makes up for how bad he is as a character, with a good portion of the second act being him trying to get together with someone whose name he doesn’t even know and it doesn’t feel like he learns anything from the film. Hammed Animashaun as Shane is fine, but he comes across as incredibly bland, having no real personality outside of being the friend to Nick, getting no moments on his own to really define him as a character. Claudia O’Doherty as Amy is insanely annoying, and again whilst the film calls attention to this, it doesn’t excuse how annoying she is throughout the film. Hannah Tointon is pretty forgettable here, with the whole arc between her and Thomas being just a rehash of their characters in The Inbetweeners, but a lot less funny, whilst Emma Rigby is incredibly annoying, this annoying quality being true for the performances from Theo Barklem-Biggs, Lizzy Connolly and Hugh Coles. Kurt Yaeger meanwhile is just an arse in the film, again the character is written that way, but the way it’s presented doesn’t provide any laughs, it’s just uncomfortable how mean he is to Nick. That’s probably true of the whole cast, they aren’t funny, they’re just uncomfortable to watch. It also doesn’t help that the three funniest cast members, Noel Fielding, Nick Frost and Jemaine Clement, are completely wasted, although Clement did get me to laugh at the delivery of one of his lines (it also strikes me as a weird coincidence that people involved with What We Do In The Shadows are involved in the worst media spinning off from The Inbetweeners, Clement in this and Taika Waititi directing a few episodes of the American Inbetweeners).
Overall, The Festival is just an uncomfortable experience. It’s clearly trying to capture the spirit of The Inbetweeners, but the writing is nowhere near strong enough, especially for the characters, to create good jokes. I only laughed once during the film (and most of the audience I was with didn’t laugh much either), none of the characters are likeable in any way and it doesn’t have any of the charm that made The Inbetweeners work so well. I was just cringing throughout the film, and not in the way I think was intended.
My Rating: 1/5