17th Aug2018

‘The Festival’ Review

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Stars: Joe Thomas, Hammed Animashaun, Claudia O’Doherty, Jemaine Clement, Hannah Tointon, Kurt Yaeger, Noel Fielding, Nick Frost, Theo Barklem-Biggs, Leigh Williams, Lizzy Connolly | Written by Keith Akushie, Joe Parham | Directed by Iain Morris


The team behind the enormous British cultural phenomenon The Inbetweeners returns to screens with The Festival after multiple dips in form with sizeable stabs at original content in both cinema and television, with little to no acclaim or success in either medium.

Revisiting the Inbetweeners franchise has been a mixed bag for writer and directors Iain Morris and Damon Beesley. In 2011 they launched a cinematic event with a feature film that stirred an impressive success earning $88,025,781 worldwide. Three years later they turned to the well of predictability, already dry and running on empty with a sequel that ultimately neglected any common sense contextually that angered fans and led to a reduced box office reception and incredibly tepid reviews. An exploration into television followed in 2017 with the BBC series White Gold that had satisfactory viewership in its first season but was cast into indefinite uncertainty with the controversy circling lead actor Ed Westwick coming under fire for sexual misconduct allegations from three separate women.

The Festival comes at an incredibly important time in both creators careers, the option for both innovation or the often muted possibility to plunge back down into the well of The Inbetweeners grows more and more of a delicate settlement. It is quite reasonable to state that the film in question is a middle ground of evolving material and regurgitated property. Aesthetically speaking in regards to production design and script this can be easily misled as ‘The Inbetweeners. It’s not suggestable whatsoever, and to say its an overly calculated decision is an understatement. The familiarity of-course will resonate quite dearly with devotees of the famed television series, however clearly the casting of Joe Thomas is one of only a few main draws to the picture that simply can’t escape the derivative fashion of either trope storytelling and the long fermented humour of 2008.

The screenplay from Keith Akushie and Joe Parham is ironically a joke within the borders of itself. Incredibly insufficient on the side of engaging humour and drastically degrading in mostly every fashion of the word. Jokes are drastically too long, only to elongate such incompetence, that results in very dry cringe moments that perhaps work on paper, yet flops on screen in such a monotonous fashion. An element that perhaps speaks for itself in the work of the writers and director being a foregone conclusion on backward comedic work that hasn’t been relatively topical for almost a decade. A similar strategy for the snare in which the Farrelly Brothers fell into with dire results in Dumb and Dumber To in 2014.

Both films endure(d) the wrath of audiences and the genre of comedy far evolving and growing from that of the creators’ belief to be either relevant or the fundamental crux of how comedy works or what makes it tick. The conclusion of The Festival‘s witticism is brain numbing to endure. It delivers flat and very basic moments that thirteen-year-old kids will find hysterically mind-bending stuff, with the ironic notion hanging over that they can’t legally see it, which I find far more humorous than anything in Iain Morris’ film.

The Festival is in UK cinemas now.


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