Wet Hot American Summer

Cheap and superficial summer-camp flicks such as Meatballs (1979) and Little Darlings (1980) inspire a kind of love. At least they do to director David Wain and his co-screenwriter Michael Showalter. Why else would they join up with other members of MTV's comedy troupe the State, including Michael Ian Black, Joe Lo Truglio and Ken Marino, to parody the ass off the genre? It's 1981, and the last day at Maine's Camp Firewood, leaving camp director Beth (Janeane Garofalo) to cement a relationship with a neurotic astrophysics prof (David Hyde Pierce), while everyone runs amok trying to get sex or shitfaced or both before the talent show.

The laughs are scattershot, but the twisted ones are best - watch for chef Gene (Christopher Meloni) and his assistant Gary (A.D. Miles), or Gail (Molly Shannon), the divorcee who finds comfort with a nine-year-old. Lulls aside, Wain and Showalter deserve camp kudos for getting the details right.

From The Archives Issue 875: August 16, 2001
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