The Reel Review

B

A group of teenage misfits follow their dreams of becoming entertainers as they form a chosen family while at a summer theater camp in upstate New York. Joanna Chilcoat, Daniel Letterle, Anna Kendrick and Robin de Jesus star in this 2003 musical comedy.

Anna Kendrick in Camp

Ok, so the production is very clunky, some of the dialogue is too artificially cute and much of the story from writer/director Todd Graff is corny as hell – but wow, his cast can really sing. Anna Kendrick, in her film debut, literally steals the show as the scheming Fritzi in a couple of campy, laugh-out-loud moments.

Daniel Letterle and Joanna Chilcoat in Camp

Some of the subplots – the boozy camp director being afraid to go for another hit after his lone success on Broadway, and camp heartthrob Vlad being a manwhore – are a bit silly and feel forced, compared to the more heartfelt story of Michael (Robin de Jesus) seeking acceptance from his fellow camp  thespians after being rejected by his family for being gay. The singing performances and a nice surprise in the finale make this a Camp worth checking out.

REEL FACTS

• Todd Graff got the idea for the film after seeing an 11-year-old Robert Downey Jr. perform at a theater camp where Graff was a camp counselor.

• Several cast members have gone on to perform on Broadway including Robin de Jesus (who received three Tony nominations), Anna Kendrick (Tony-nominated prior to the film), Sasha Allen, Brittany Pollack and Tracee Beazer.

• Most of Camp was filmed at Stagedoor Manor, a drama camp that writer/director Todd Graff attended, with many of the musicians in the film from the Broadway musical Rent.

 

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