The Festival review – mud, drugs and jolly druids from Inbetweeners crew | Comedy films

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Director Iain Morris first enlivened this quiet-to-dead corner of the cinematic silly season with the astonishingly successful Inbetweeners diptych. Having packed those boys off with a happy ending (stop sniggering), he now attempts something only slightly different: bussing Joe Thomas – perhaps the most immediately available ’Tweener – and a grab bag of emergent talent to the Leeds music festival to recreate this muddily parochial rite-of-passage for an audience too young, too late or too worldly-wise to snap up day passes for this year’s festivities. Chasing the youth pound this flagrantly is always a risk, as those who suffered The Bad Education Movie can attest, yet The Festival’s pursuit remains broadly likable, and Morris again backs it up with real comedy nous.

This film-maker is now so confident that he can toss off a genre-regulation misdirected-ejaculate gag within the first two minutes – what we might call a coarse record. Nudging Thomas’s twerpish Nick towards self-knowledge after a graduation humiliation is the main event, but The Festival gets there by deploying disparate, sometimes random, mostly winning ideas (jolly druids!). Morris has a knack of pushing a joke just far enough that the stretching itself becomes funny. Disproportionately devoted dad Jemaine Clement performs an agonising three-point turn to the strains of Crowded House; Theo Barklem-Biggs’ arch-caner Gordy does one big ketamine hit, then spends the rest of the film yammering in holes.

If The Festival’s framing still resembles an extended E4 special – drizzly medium shots predominate, distinguishing the British festival experience from ultra-glam Coachella – the consolation is that it fills the screen with people you’d happily share a yurt with. Thomas, who spent the entire Inbetweeners project quietly mastering the playing of sexual frustration, deserves the Robin Askwith prize for self-abasing nudity.

He builds a nice, easy double act with baffled wingman Hammed Animashaun, particularly when replaying Magic Mike with wellies; and Claudia O’Doherty, whose spacey-perky rhythms elevated Judd Apatow’s Netflix series Love, is a genuine ray of sunshine as a fellow traveller the pair encounter en route. Very soon, O’Doherty will be the headline act in comedies like these, but this good-natured crowdpleaser generously lets her steal whole stretches.

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Source: The Guardian
Keyword: The Festival review – mud, drugs and jolly druids from Inbetweeners crew | Comedy films

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