Since it’s now officially Summer, the time seems right to go back to camp.
For a comedy that came out almost 14 years ago, all the humor still holds up. Set in the 70’s, Wet Hot American Summer chronicles the last day of a summer camp, and the last chance for the camp counselors to find love, or something close enough. Things start to turn strange when a neighboring astrophysicist discovers that a large piece of debris falling from space may destroy the entire camp and kill everyone there. Watching the movie at first, I couldn’t decide if it was an earnest comedy or a full-on parody, but the result is a little of both, with a dash of the absurd sprinkled in here and there, and it all works. There are moments when standard movie plot devices are mocked (like the montage scene) and other times when they are outright destroyed (the underdog sports team scene), reminding you that the movie is well aware of its own ridiculousness. The cast is an impressive pool of comedic talent from then and now, featuring Jeanine Garofalo, Amy Pohler, Paul Rudd, Ken Marino, Michael Ian Black, Elizabeth Banks, and many more. Being a huge fan of “Frasier” I was especially delighted to see David Hyde Pierce in the cast, and hilarious as usual.
With all the blockbusters, sequels, remakes, car chases, and explosions that dominate the box office during Summer, it’s nice to be able to enjoy a classic independent comedy, even if most of the plot is centered on people trying to score. On a bonus note, Netflix is premiering a prequel series this July titled Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, featuring the entire original cast, which already sounds promising, so keep a look out for that.
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