The Festival offers filthy-minded fun

The creators of The Inbetweeners venture into a muddy field for their coming-of-age comedy The Festival starring Inbetweeners survivor Joe Thomas

Inbetweeners man Joe Thomas stars as Nick in The Festival
Damon Smith

THE FESTIVAL (15, 98 mins)


Starring: Joe Thomas, Hammed Animashaun, Claudia O'Doherty, Hannah Tointon, Hugh Coles, Lizzy Connolly, Theo Barklem-Biggs, Kurt Yaeger, Jemaine Clement, Noel Fielding, Emma Rigby. Director: Iain Morris.

Rating: 2 stars

THE Bafta Award-winning creators of The Inbetweeners continue to suckle on the teat of puerile, laddish humour in The Festival – a filthy-minded comedy of awkward sex, recreational drugs and rock'n'roll.

Shot on location at last year's Leeds Festival in Bramham Park, Iain Morris's sporadically hilarious film trades in humiliation, body piercings and bestiality with one hand down its trousers and a goofy grin on its face.

Scriptwriters Keith Akushie and Joe Parham open with a fleeting glimpse of leading man Joe Thomas's bottom and a splash of bodily fluids to set up a predictable gross-out punchline shot in excruciating slow motion to maximise squeals of derision from the target teenage audience.

Subtlety isn't invited to the party and The Festival would rather go big than go home with its contrived set-pieces including a striptease for a hen party and a medical emergency involving an epi-pen.

Some gags squarely hit their target and Jermaine Clement from Flight Of The Conchords is a deadpan delight as an uncool stepfather with an idiosyncratic appreciation for "house music".

However, once you sluice away the filth, the hastily sketched characters are largely unsympathetic and it's hard to care when Lady Luck slaps them repeatedly in the face.

Self-obsessed twentysomething Nick Taylor (Thomas) goes into emotional meltdown during his university graduation after he is unceremoniously dumped by his girlfriend Caitlin (Hannah Tointon).

Lovable best friend Shane (Hammed Animashaun) drags Nick out of the pit of despair by persuading his heartbroken buddy to accompany him to a music festival where superstar DJ Hammerhead (Noel Fielding) will play a headline set.

Nick is initially reluctant because Caitlin is attending the festival with her well-to-do chums Rex (Hugh Coles), Lucy (Lizzy Connolly) and Gordy (Theo Barklem-Biggs).

"There are 100,000 people there. The chances of running into her are one million to one," deduces Shane, who evidently failed his mathematics GCSE.

Consoled by Shane's statistical reasoning, Nick packs his Wellington boots, a tent and some underwear for three days of music, merriment and alcoholic excess.

En route, the two friends encounter festival guru Amy (Claudia O'Doherty) and clash with backstage manager Pirate (Kurt Yaeger), who is gatekeeper of the VIP wristbands.

Meanwhile, Nick attempts to reconcile with Caitlin and enjoys a drug-fuelled dalliance with a girl dressed as a Smurf (Emma Rigby).

The Festival revels in the pungent aromas, discomfort and spontaneous chaos that erupt when thousands of fun-loving strangers congregate in a muddy field.

Thomas flings himself with gusto into the role including a sprint around the festival site in his briefs.

He almost endears us to his self-defeating singleton.

Animashaun and O'Doherty are solid, the latter gently plucking heartstrings as a chatterbox misfit who might just kill you with her homemade nutrition bars.

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