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  • Wet Hot American Summer
    • Wet Hot American Summer
    • Runtime:97 min
    • Release Date:2014-08-23 19:26:06
    • Director: David Wain
    • Genres: Comedy, Romance
    • Studio:
MOVIE REVIEW:Wet Hot American Summer
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*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Wet Hot American Summer is a comedy about summer camp, a spoof of
movies about summer camp, a grab bag of random absurdity and a
collection filmmakers and actors hamming it up as hard as they can.
There are moments of laugh-out-loud hilarity, but just as many moments
where you're left staring at the screen wondering "How was that
supposed to be funny?'

It's the last day at Camp Firewood in the summer of 1981 and pretty
much every stock summer camp storyline is trotted out for derision and
mockery in this film. There's the love triangle between the geek camp
counselor, the hot girl who treats him like her pet and the teen rebel
she's really hot for. There's the desperate virgin counselor trying to
make it with the camp slut. There's the lonely, divorced
arts-and-crafts teacher, the weird camp cook, the kids stuck on a raft
approaching the raging rapids, the big talent show, the big game
against the kids from the "evil camp" and the outcast kids who come
together to save the day. There's also a talking can of vegetables that
boasts of his sexual prowess, a gay subplot that seems to have wandered
in from another movie, the old space station Skylab, the worst
motorcycle chase in film history, some generic 80s allusions and the
charm of a bunch of people who clearly had a great time making this
thing.

Filmmakers David Wain and Michael Showalter take a scattershot approach
in Wet Hot American Summer, throwing jokes against the wall to see if
they stick. On one hand, they'll do a running gag about the kid at camp
who never takes a shower all summer, which could come from any number
of traditional comedies about this subject. On the other hand, they'll
do a lot of parodies of summer camp movies, like having a kid actually
drown while two 30something teenage counselors french kiss with
abandon. On the gripping hand, they'll just just chuck something odd on
screen like a visual gag about Kenyan marathoners. Some of it works,
some of it doesn't, but the movie moves along quickly enough that when
a joke bombs, the smell doesn't linger.

As far as the acting goes, well, Marguerite Moreau as the camp hottie
is the only one in the whole cast doing any real acting. Everyone else,
including David Hyde Pierce as a college professor and Janeane Garofolo
as the camp director, are just mugging for the camera. Again, that
results in some moments that are funny as hell, like Paul Rudd's
portrayal of slothful adolescent defiance. But there are also moments
that not just fall flat but fail to make any sense, like Garafolo
riffing on Jewish surnames.

Wet Hot American Summer is a bit like an entire episode of Saturday
Night Live if every sketch were about summer camp. I don't mean a best
of compilation. I mean a normal SNL episode where some of the sketches
are good, some aren't and some leave you wondering what their point
was.

I must point out the DVD has a commentary track featuring Garafolo,
Wain and Showalter that is much more consistently funny than the film
itself. If you find the movie at all amusing, you'll love the
commentary, and watching both makes Wet Hot American Summer worth
renting.

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You either love or find this film goofy. I don't think there's room for
too many other opinions. Some people, like many fans of Monty Python,
swear by this film, while others, also like many people regarding Monty
Python, just regard it as bizarre.

Personally I found it very entertaining. There are lots of fantastic
comic performances here, from Janeane Garofalo to Molly Shannon, from
Paul Rudd to David Hyde Pierce, and from Christopher Meloni as you've
never seen him, to Michael Showalter. Garofalo, for my money, deserves
the greatest props. Her depiction of geeky camp director Beth is
excellent and captures the disinterestedness, passion, yearning, and
tenderness which her character, who falls for a nerdy and slightly
maladjusted astro-physicist named Henry Newman, played with such comic
agility by David Hyde Pierce, suggests. Christopher Meloni as a Vietnam
vet named Gene serving as camp cook steals every scene with his
fixation on his wartime experiences. Michael Showalter is great as a
nice, nerdy boy who doesn't appreciate just how much his niceness is
limiting him from attracting girls. His scenes with Meloni are
hilarious. Paul Rudd is great as Andy, a good looking, shallow guy who
is focused on one thing and one thing only and is a complete azz. Kate
(Marguerite Moreau) is his female counterpart, a sixteen-year-old girl
who knows that she's being shallow but really doesn't care and just
wants to get laid. Molly Shannon is quite funny as a woman who has
recently broken up with her ex and is trying to resist the urge to
abase herself and crawl back to him. She is helped hilariously by some
of her camping wards.

There are lots of funny scenes here. If you enjoyed "The State"-well,
you've probably seen it because this film came out nine years ago and
The State was on TV around that time-but if you somehow missed it in
'01, you'd probably enjoy it. The humor is somewhat nerdy-this is humor
for nerds who like humor-and I say that with no shame, but it is what
it is. The film takes on stereotypes from '80s camping films (the ditzy
easy girl, the buff brain-dead boy, the nerdy camp director, all the
now goofy-looking fashion, the casual drug use, and the campers'
ability to solve pressing problems with great ease) and wildly mocks
them. Most I found quite funny, as a humor nerd myself, although a
couple (the drug use parody just didn't strike me as funny and Gene's
attempt to face who he was also didn't particularly tickle me) I
thought came up short.

That said, this is an awful lot of fun. The ensemble cast is very
talented, it's obvious that the cast is not in this film for the
paycheck, and they have a lot of fun mocking the old summer camp
chestnuts.

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A gay marriage in the woods, the confessions of canned vegetables, a
drug-induced day-trip to a local town, multiple children drowning and a
talent show are just some of the events that make up the
day-in-the-life of 2001's "Wet Hot American Summer." Written and
directed by alumni of MTV's mid-90's sketch comedy show "The State,"
the film is host to one of the best ensemble casts a comedy has seen in
at least a decade and an off-beat sense of humor that has solidified
its status as a cult classic.

The film takes place at a fictional summer camp in Maine in 1981. It's
the last day of camp, and everyone is scrambling to find love and lust.
Throughout the film, we follow an array of wacky and zany characters,
brought to life by such talent as David Hyde Pierce, Christopher
Meloni, Janeane Garofalo, Bradley Cooper, Molly Shannon, Paul Rudd,
Elizabeth Banks, Michael Ian Black and Marguerite Moreau. Meloni plays
against his "Law & Order" type and gets some of the biggest laughs of
the show, but Rudd isn't far behind with his apathetic and child-like
performance. The writing is as off-the-wall as expected, with the plot
taking left-turns at unexpected points, giving way to gigantic laughs
from bizarre situations and ridiculous sight-gags.

The film wasn't very successful upon its release, and most critics
hated it, but over time, it has earned its spot as one of best comedies
of the decade and is a testament to the power of comedy when it is
without restraint or reservation. In short, it's a coming of age movie
that can double as a stoner flick. Watch it without any pretensions and
just enjoy the wild day that you'll want to re-live again and again.

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I didn't like, nor did I dislike this movie. I heard about it through
several of my friends, all of whom really enjoyed it, but I just don't
see it.

The plot could have been a lot better. This is a movie where they tried
to have a plot where nothing happens, yet everything happens, but I
think that the execution came off as cluttered and jumbled. I was not
interested in any of the characters and just found myself to be losing
interest in the overall film.

The humor all fell flat as well. I don't think I laughed one time.
Going into the film I knew the line "You taste like a burger" was
coming because my friends used to joke about it. I knew it was coming
and was all ready to laugh, however when it did I just thought it did
not come off as well as it could have.

I hate Janeane Garofalo and I don't think she could ever seem funny to
me. Furthermore, she's a terrible actress.

As much as there is wrong in this movie, I guess it is not terrible.
It's an okay watch, but I would never recommend it.

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