Theater kids rejoice. So this is about a musical theater camp and the process behind it all. You get to see kids putting in work at rehearsals, shining during the show, and all the drama that happens backstage as there are teenage hormones firing back and forth like a ping pong match. Now this was a movie that I was familiar with in name only, and the real reason that it was even on my radar was because I got married to a musical theater major. I watch any and everything, so you know that I dove headfirst into this teenage musical extravaganza, even though I very likely would have never watched this otherwise.
There are lots of types, and lots of people who match someone you personally know if you have a theater background.
The most notable thing that jumps out at you immediately is the quality. I’m not even commentating on if this is a bad movie or anything, but the sounds and video quality make it feel like you are watching this on early 90’s VHS, even though it is a 2003 release streaming on Hulu. We had to eventually break down and turn on subtitles because characters were inaudible, even with the volume turned up to eleven. While these kids may not be the best of actors for the up close and personal silver screen, they aren’t untalented, and they do show the promise of being able to do something big and loud like an off-Broadway musical. Camp’s biggest claim to fame that is that this boasts the film debut of Anna Kendrick, and she is a frizzy haired teenager who wants to make it big, appropriately enough.
Yeah… it’s weird.
It would be way too easy of a joke to call this movie campy, although that’s exactly what it is. It’s overdramatic, but at the same time, this is all too common a side effect whenever there is a theatrical show being put together. I did not have a bad time watching this, and I definitely have to say that this movie’s heart is in the right place. The only real qualm I have this is that there is just no reason for this movie to be two hours long. Its earnestness can only take it so far, and I would have come out feeling more positively about it if it were cut to be in the 90 – 95 minute range. As it stands, it’s a movie that will go largely unappreciated outside of the musical theater community.
Camp (2003) ***
– Critic for Hire