WHEN OUR hero Nick is dumped publicly at his graduation, his best friend Shane insists they go on a rite of passage by attending a music festival, and doing loads of drugs in a muddy field in the middle of England - this is basically The Festival's entire premise.
After a slow, and frankly unfunny opening 20 minutes, the film comes to life when the friends arrive at the titular festival. Not a coincidence, this is also when we are introduced to Amy, a well meaning, but annoying festival veteran, played by the incredibly charismatic (and for my money the funniest person on the planet ) Claudia O’Doherty. She has a Midas voice as every sentence she utters just cracks me up.
Life lessons are learned and gross out gags are had, with one particularly stomach turning combination of a nipple piercing and a chain link fence that legitimately elicited an audible gasp from the audience at the screening I attended. Another stand out moment is when Nick imagines a life with a girl he hooks up with who is dressed as a Smurf. It is genuinely incredible. Throw in the best homage to Pulp Fiction yet seen, and The Festival delivers three moments worth the price of admission alone.
Director Iain Morris knows to keep the story moving so we never really spend too long on a gag or set piece. The cameos come hard and fast with the likes of Noel Fielding, Nick Frost and Flight Of The Conchords' Jermaine Clement, all contributing well. Yes there are times when this feels like an extra long episode of The Inbetweeners but is that a bad thing, particularly when the two Inbetweeners movies were both rubbish and forgettable. Overall I can’t believe how much I enjoyed The Festival. After a summer of let downs in the cinema this is a welcome surprise.