Starring: Joe Thomas, Hammed Animashaun, Claudia O’Doherty
Director: Iain Morris
Running Time: 98 mins
The Festival is a British film about a group of friends who go to a music festival after graduating university, but things soon get out of hand once they arrive.
I generally find this brand of crude, moronic and chaotic juvenile comedy pretty hateful, and for the most part, that’s exactly what I thought of The Festival. With terrible humour, irritating characters and a story with absolutely no direction for the first two-thirds, it’s a real chore to endure, but if you manageto make it through, then you’ll be rewarded with a far more enjoyable final act, albeit one that’s still far from perfect.
Let’s start off with the first two acts, however, which are pretty much unbearable. The Festival comes from the team behind The Inbetweeners, so you know exactly what you’re in for with this film, and so proves the case as it spends an hour flinging unintelligent, basic and pointless ‘jokes’ at you while you’re somehow meant to be enjoying the loose-moralled world of a music festival.
From the beginning, the comedy is as crude and stupid as can be expected, and while it fortunately refrains from ever taking a mean-spirited approach, it’s certainly not a likable watch, as you follow a bunch of moronic characters that, for the first two-thirds of the movie at least, seem to have no redeeming qualities whatsoever (with the exception of the supporting characters played by Hammed Animashaun and Claudia O’Doherty).
In fact, while there’s very little to laugh at or even enjoy in the slightest for the first hour of the movie, its one saving grace is a little side quest that Animashaund and O’Doherty find themselves on. It’s a little less loud and a little less grotesque – albeit featuring irritatingly predictable comedy – but it makes for a really pleasant island of bearable watching in the midst of a sea of sheer idiocy.
The lead performance from Joe Thomas is whiney, irritating and simply moronic, and he does very little to make his character in any way endearing to you, rather acting in the most childish and idiotic manner in the hope that it will fit in with the film’s woeful cringeworthy vibes.
Of course, if you’ve seen The Inbetweeners, you’ll understand that the main objective of this brand of comedy is to make you cringe and feel uncomfortable. However, there’s a difference between genuinely cringeworthy, awkward sitations and watching a bunch of people just act like morons for an hour and a half, and The Festival’s juvenile, basic comedy means that even its main intention falls flat throughout.
As a result, I hated almost every minute of the first hour of this movie, feeling that it was a real waste of my time, and even worse than the horrors of the likes of American Pie. Somehow, though, The Festival manages to salvage itself in the final act, with a far more enjoyable and at least bearable climax.
It’s amazing what a bit of direction to a story will do, because while the first hour is just a series of random mishaps at a music festival strung together, the final act brings a little bit of direction to proceedings, with the lead trio following a clear objective that gives the movie so much more structure and energy.
In that, the mishaps that happen along the way don’t feel quite as gratuitously moronic, but rather enjoyably ludicrous things the characters have to do to get to the final goal. I won’t say that the final act is in any way exciting or unpredictable, and even the comedy isn’t that much better, but as it tones down the sheer idiocy of the first two acts and gives a little bit of direction to the story, it means the film ends on a relative high note.
Overall, I wasn’t much impressed by The Festival, but things could have been a lot worse. With a painfully irritating, juvenile and directionless opening hour, it’s a horrible watch that feels like a terrible waste of time, but the whole film is thankfully salvaged in the final act, where things become a little more sedate, and a little more structured, making for a brief period of genuine entertainment at the end of an exhaustingly annoying mess, and that’s why I’m giving The Festival a 5.4.