You’ll relate to this film if you went to any sort of camp while growing up. After watching the screening, when asked what my initial reaction to “Theatre Camp” was, I had to respond with, “You can feel Will Ferrell all over it.” Though he didn’t write or direct, his having been involved in the production of the film cast quite an impression, so much so that you will sense him.
Not surprisingly, after watching (the movie was shot in only nineteen days, unheard of for a feature-length film), I found out that “Theatre Camp” was based on an eighteen-minute short that was directed by Nick Lieberman, who co-directed the film with Molly Gordon. Molly, Nick and Noah Galvin, with Ben Platt, also wrote this film.
When they received distribution from Searchlight Pictures, expectedly, some of the cast changed. What stayed the same was the story. It’s about a rundown theater camp that Amos (Platt) and Rebecca-Diane (Gordon), who’ve been friends forever, run for children who were just like them… talented youngsters with a dream.
Molly Gordon is on the hit show “The Bear” with Ayo Edebiri, who plays a unique character in this film whose name is Janet. She lies on her application for a job at the camp as a teacher, winging it every step of the way. Janet is entirely chaotic at first, but you do see some growth before the end. She doesn’t have a big part, but she’s memorable.
This goes for most of the cast but not for the film as a whole. It isn’t something you’d watch more than once because some of the characters fall flat, as do some of the jokes. However, I must mention the unexpected scene surrounding Troy’s mother, Joan (Amy Sedaris), in the hospital. It is absolutely hysterical. Some moments will have you cracking up, especially in the mockumentary style that it’s supposed to be, but it goes back and forth and doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be. This far and wide hither and thither leads the audience to feel more neutral toward the storyline. But they, more often than not, do laugh enough to stay interested.
Remembering what they had to work with will help you consider engaging with a positive attitude and having a good time. With only nineteen days to get it done and working with loads of children, you’ll value what Molly Gordon and Nick Lieberman were able to accomplish and see they’re a good team. Their next creation, that’ll likely have a lot more than nineteen days and a bigger budget, will likely be a treasure. It should be a success if it doesn’t come with a Troy. My advice to them… if you ever get Amy Sedaris again, use her more. She’s a gem and never got a chance to shine. As expected, what she does do here is notable.
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Directors: Molly Gordon, Nick Lieberman
Writers: Noah Galvin, Molly Gordon, Nick Lieberman, Ben Platt
Starring: Ben Platt, Molly Gordon, Jimmy Tatro, Noah Galvin, Ayo Edebiri, Nathan Lee Graham, Amy Sedaris
Rating: PG-13 (Some Strong Language|Suggestive/Drug References)
Runtime: 1h 34m
Genres: Comedy, Drama
Producers: Will Ferrell, Noah Galvin, Molly Gordon, Nick Lieberman, Ben Platt, Erik Feig, Samie Kim Falvey, Julia Hammer, Ryan Heller, Maria Zuckerman, Jessica Elbaum
Distributed by: Searchlight Pictures
Production Companies: Picturestart, Topic Studios and Gloria Sanchez Productions