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HomeReviews FilmMovie Review: THEATER CAMP (2023): The laugh-out-loud mockumentary about young performers at...

Movie Review: THEATER CAMP (2023): The laugh-out-loud mockumentary about young performers at a struggling camp is a real crowd pleaser

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Molly Gordon Ben Platt Theater Camp

Theater Camp Review

Theater Camp (2023) Movie reviewOR movie run by Molly Gordon AND Nick Liebermanwritten by Noah Galvin, Molly Gordon AND Nick Lieberman and playing Ben Platt, Molly Gordon, Noah Galvin, Jimmy Tatro, Caroline Aaron, Ayo Edebiri, Nathan Lee Graham, Owen Thiele, Amy Sedaris, Patti Harrison, Bailey Bonnick, Donovan Colan, Vivienne Sachs, Alan Who, Luke Islami AND Jack Sobolewski.

Directors Molly Gordon and Nick Lieberman have created a truly entertaining mockumentary with their hilarious, laugh-out-loud crowd, Theater Camp. It must be said that it takes a true appreciation of stage theater to really “get” all the jokes this new movie presents so quickly. The audience should listen carefully. This is because the jokes are delivered to the audience quickly and energetically and are sure to keep the audience laughing throughout. There is no really compelling plot to propel the film. The enjoyment of photography depends entirely on the sheer ingenuity displayed on the screen at all times.

The charismatic Ben Platt and Molly Gordon star as Amos and Rebecca-Diane, who are staples of the theatrical camp the film portrays. Rebecca-Diane always carried a torch for Amos, but he “turned out” so she dropped them as friends. But, they are best friends. Rebecca-Diane also has Juilliard aspirations, which will come into play later in the story line. This couple is the heart of the struggling camp, whose owner, Joan (Amy Sedaris), has fallen into a coma. There are too many unpaid bills that could cause the camp to close. Those bills aren’t in the best hands as the confused Troy (Jimmy Tatro) is taking over. He has no idea how to handle them properly. In one scene, the camp’s lights are turned off, suggesting that Troy hasn’t paid his utility bills.

There are many talented actors sprinkled in the film. Patti Harrison (always loud) serves as Caroline, who is the main competitor from another part of town who wants Troy to give up the camp. Caroline tries to convince Troy to let it all go. The kids at Troy’s camp love him, though. There is no shortage of memorable teachers like Clive (Nathan Lee Graham) and Gigi (Owen Thiele) who make humorous comments as they share their wisdom with the kids and adults at camp. Ayo Edebiri plays Janet, a teacher Troy has brought in for the summer, who learns about masks in the drama in a very unusual way and has some questionable credentials.

There are also some funny audition scenes where the kids make their presence known to the staff and the picture has got some very talented child actors. The best of them are Alan Kim, Jack Sobolewski and Quinn Titcomb (she is really very energetic). There’s a lot going on here and it keeps the movie entertaining at every turn. Amos and Rebecca-Diane must save the camp with a performance they only have a few weeks to do and everyone involved will have to work overtime to make sure the camp stays open especially with Caroline on the move.

Theater Camp excels in examining a camp in upstate New York that has young children striving for perfection in their art. Clive hysterically makes sure the kids are aware that only three percent make it and the rest end up in less fortunate places than the stage. What keeps the film so entertaining is the bond between Amos and Rebecca-Diane. Ben Platt and Molly Gordon have fun with their roles making sure the audience is entertained throughout. Platt and Gordon have an on-screen rapport that makes them quite likable.

While the final performance the kids put on is hilarious, there could have been a more substantial story line to keep all the jokes in moderation. Essentially, the film rests on the premise that the camp could be shut down if the final show doesn’t help the camp find a financial backer. There aren’t enough subplots to keep the picture on top of the game until the end. That said, the jokes carry the film to its conclusion. However, fans of live theater may have a greater appreciation for the film than the average viewer.

What kind of jokes do they make? Theater Camp focus on? Just about every possible topic. One of the funniest parts has to do with stockbrokers and drug use, which definitely makes the film more suitable for teenagers and adults than children. Much of the humor is aimed at adults, but the overall fun nature of the film may make it enjoyable for teenagers as well.

In the final analysis, Theater Camp there are plenty of laughs which make it a clever satire overall. It is a look at how children take their art so seriously with a focus on the early stages of love for the craft of acting and singing. Crowds will enjoy laughing along with the situations the film presents Theater Camp a movie that should be seen in a theater with a crowd where it will play a little better than at home.

ASSESSMENT: 7.5/10

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