Wet Hot American Summer (2001)

R   |    |  Comedy, Romance


Wet Hot American Summer (2001) Poster

Set on the last day of camp, in the hot summer of 1981, a group of counselors try to complete their unfinished business before the day ends.


6.6/10
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  • David Hyde Pierce in Wet Hot American Summer (2001)
  • Janeane Garofalo and David Hyde Pierce in Wet Hot American Summer (2001)
  • David Wain in Wet Hot American Summer (2001)
  • Marguerite Moreau and Michael Showalter in Wet Hot American Summer (2001)
  • Paul Rudd in Wet Hot American Summer (2001)
  • Gideon Jacobs and Molly Shannon in Wet Hot American Summer (2001)

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


11 September 2011 | StevePulaski
5
| Was hoping for a wet hot discovering summer
Wet Hot American Summer is the kind of movie where you either get it or you don't. If you do, you're good. If you don't, you are the red-headed step child among your friends and are subject to ridicule because you didn't laugh all that much. I have to say I'm in that category, but I appreciated what the film was doing. It was trying to be a different movie for a certain crowd. It succeeds in being different, but not much else.

I think that this film is appreciated by people who also worship The Big Lebowski and the new comedy Our Idiot Brother, also starring Paul Rudd. They have a certain quotable reputation and are filled with so many random and oddball scenes that they soon get the cult classic status. I did like The Big Lebowski, but didn't see much hope in a rewatch because of the humor only being truly hilarious one time around. Some have said that Wet Hot American Summer gets better with repeated viewings. I don't think I'll stick around to find out.

The story is just thrown together with odds, ends, and characters. Everything is thrown against the wall and the characters wander aimlessly throughout the camp hoping to be hit on the end with some comical elements. We're at Camp Firewood, a Jewish summer camp, and this is the last day of the summer. Everyone is scrambling to find someone of the opposite sex, or same sex, to be with so they can share a kiss at the end of the summer talent show.

The characters are has shallow as the no diving end at a pool. We have Beth (Garofalo), the camp director. Henry (Pierce), an astrophysicist. Coop (Showalter) who has a crush on Katie (Moreau), but unfortunately for him, Katie's boyfriend is the ungrateful, incompetent, ignoramus Andy (Rudd). Gene (Meloni), the Vietnam vet. And way more.

Director David Wain is known for his odd style as he's written and directed Cartoon Network shows like Children's Hospital and Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job. So he does tackle a semi-original idea here. Too bad it's gone to waste. There's one scene where two boys discover their best friend is gay, and rather than taking it in a mature manner, writer Michael Showalter seems to be laughing while writing making the scene unnecessary and tasteless.

For some reason, I've never liked the idea of a summer camp setting in a comedy. It's rarely taken in a fresh manner, and it always results in the same jokes again and again. Some horror movies, like Friday the 13th work because they are in a camp, at night, giving a creepy vibe to an already uneasy setting. In comedies that use the setting, it seems that every film is just random antics, with no rhyme or reason, filled with incompetent camp counselors and teenagers fueled by raging hormones and immaturity.

The characters are drawn and made to be likable, but they are nothing but walking mannequins motivated by personal satisfaction, lust, ego, and hormones. Many of us are, but it rarely do these things make a good, likable film. If the film had been more about finding your inner self and more a coming of age story rather than just be a comedy run by the characters' ridiculous antics it probably could've been more inspiring and more entertaining.

The acting and directing doesn't kill the film has much as the events and characters do. Wet Hot American Summer isn't horrible, but it's repetitive and predictable. What I found wrong may be what someone else finds perfectly fine. The legion of fans will have to accept my review and move on. For every one person who doesn't like this there are half a dozen more who do.

Starring: Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Molly Shannon, Paul Rudd, Christopher Meloni, Michael Showalter. Directed by: David Wain.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

In a July 2015 Entertainment Weekly interview, David Wain said that the ordeal that Victor underwent while trying to get back from leading a canoe trip to "make out" with Abby, was based on an experience he had while he was a camp counselor: "I had just turned sixteen. I was assigned to drive a group of campers to an overnight camping trip and leave the next morning with another counselor and head back to camp. But, I had just met this girl at the camp and I was so excited to see her that I decided, 'No, I'm going to leave late at night and race back to camp', even though I barely knew how to drive. So I cranked up the tunes, pedal to the metal, and I was driving through pitch black, winding unpaved roads as fast as I could, in hopes of making out with this girl, and about two miles away from the campsite, but still in the middle of this state park, I smashed hard into a tree. I lodged the fender deep into the tire, rendering the van utterly undriveable, and was stuck in the middle of the woods. I had no idea how to get back, I couldn't see my hand in front of me, but luckily I did end up wandering back to find the campsite with the kids and the counselor and they were like, 'What the hell is wrong with you?' After that, they initiated a policy that junior counselors weren't allowed to drive vehicles at camp. I eventually did get to make out with the girl."


Quotes

Gene: Now finish up them taters; I'm gonna go fondle my sweaters.
Gary: Come on - what?
Gene: Finish up the taters.
Gary: And then what did you say?
Gene: And then what did I say?
Gary: You said you were going to... fondle your sweaters.
Gene: Ah, uh - no I didn't. I said... fondue the cheddar......


Goofs

The movie is set in 1981 and part of the plot involves Skylab's re-entry. Skylab re-entered in 1979.


Crazy Credits

Special thanks to the extras who bravely survived a cold, wet, Pennsylvanian spring.


Alternate Versions

DVD contains several deleted scenes.


Soundtracks

Love Is Alright Tonight
Written by
Rick Springfield
Performed by Rick Springfield
Courtesy of The RCA Music Group, a Unit of BMG Entertainment

Storyline

Plot Summary


Genres

Comedy | Romance

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