Review: Theater Camp

Molly & Nick’s Mockumentary: Hilarious chaos, intentional poor acting.

Two teachers who met at the camp years ago and became closest friends are portrayed by Gordon and Ben Platt. The camp’s legendary owner (Amy Sedaris). Who is dazzled by strobe lights and falls into a coma just as the summer’s cohort of jazz-handing theater kids is ready to arrive, is stunned by the lights.

This places complete control of the enterprise in the hands of her tech-bro son (Jimmy Tatro). Who mumbles that he has “never really vibed” with the camp but is barely intelligent enough to realize that it is having serious financial problems.

The few employees he hasn’t let go continue working on preparing their charges to become true thespians while he works to clean up the damage. The fact that the kids in the movie truly appear like kids, rather than small, 24-year-old actors with braces, and aren’t bratty, is one of the movie’s many delights.

They all dive headfirst into their chosen fields with a disarming zeal (one tiny youngster already considers himself a big-time agent), yet they all appear kindly unconcerned by how scruffy the camp is.

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Around 90 minutes fly by quickly, and there are plenty of jokes. As Rebecca-Diane, the camp’s quirky music instructor, Gordon is pitch-perfect. She appears diffusely artistic and empathetic when walking around in long cardigans and belted dresses, yet she takes her job terrifyingly seriously. She tells the kids at the end-of-camp play rehearsals, “This will break you. “This will completely ruin you.”

Gordon has strong assistance from Ayo Edebiri, who plays a chancer who fabricated her resume to land a job running seminars on stage combat and mime, and Nathan Lee Graham, a strict dancing instructor who adds unexpected poignancy to the mix.

Patti Harrison, who plays an investor attempting to liquidate the camp, also contributes a satisfyingly hateful hate-figure. However, the sense of danger never feels overbearing, which is a relief because it might have diminished the sweetness and heart and cheery soul of this movie.

Release dates for Theater Camp are August 25 in the UK and Irish and September 7 in Australia.

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