The Festival
dir Iain Morris
prd Claire Jones
scr Keith Akushie, Joe Parham
with Joe Thomas, Hammed Animashaun, Claudia O'Doherty, Jemaine Clement, Hannah Tointon, Kurt Yaeger, Chris Geere, Emma Rigby, Hugh Coles, Lizzy Connolly, Theo Barklem-Biggs, Noel Fielding, Nick Frost
release UK 17.Aug.18
18/UK Film4 1h38
The Festival
Tent city: Animashaun and Thomas

clement geere odoherty
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
The Festival An up-for-it cast almost provides enough energy to make this silly British comedy watchable, but the script is so undercooked that the movie feels like an annoying stranger who chatters endlessly on about nothing. The script is packed with jokes, which the actors deliver without hesitation, even though none of them are funny. And the vague plot struggles to string the random set-pieces together.

After his girlfriend Caitlin (Tointon) unceremoniously dumps him, Nick (Thomas) is convinced by his best pal Shane (Animashaun) to risk running into her at a massive music festival. En route on the train, they meet Amy (O'Doherty), an annoying stranger who chatters endlessly on about nothing. Amid a series of excruciatingly humiliating experiences, Nick uses a fling with a Smurf (Rigby) to get over seeing Caitlin with a new man (Yaeger). But he's so self-absorbed that he sabotages Shane's dream to meet his idol DJ Hammerhead, requiring Shane's over-involved stepdad (Clement) to bail them out.

The movie consists of spurious slapstick sequences that generally centre on embarrassing sex, with added illegal drug use, bestiality, food poisoning, piercings, amputee antics and of course bodily fluids. Not one of these builds to anything resembling a punchline, so the filmmakers abruptly cut into the next scene to distract us. Some of the more grotesque humour is so tasteless that it's aggressively alienating. And the film's only message is that being a jerk doesn't make you a bad person.

Thankfully, the brightly energetic cast manages to be relatively amusing. Thomas, Animashaun and O'Doherty bounce off each other with enjoyable charm, even if their characters are paper thin and spend much of the time doing things that are frankly awful. Perhaps they're vaguely likeable simply because everyone else is even more obnoxious. Meanwhile, Clement quietly nails every scene-stealing moment, as does Geere in an astonishingly thankless role. And Frost and Fielding manage to spark a few chuckles in their cameo appearances.

There's probably just enough rude innuendo for this movie to connect with its target audience. It also looks terrific, shot at an actual enormous music festival with a sea of tents and mammoth partying audiences. But while many gags are enjoyably unhinged, most of the humour feels very lazy, pushing the expected buttons while pretending to be sexy and/or disgusting. This leaves everything on screen feeling somewhat underpowered. And without a proper sense of a journey, the characters get lost in the crowd.

cert 15 themes, language, sexuality, violence, drugs 14.Aug.18

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