Wet Hot American Summer is a 2001 comedy about the last day of summer at the fictional Camp Firewood. It’s not just a comedy; it’s completely off the wall and ridiculous. It’s more like Airplane! than most comedy films that come out. It’s packed with jokes, one-liners, and sight gags. It has a pretty solid cast featuring Michael Showalter, David Hyde Pierce, Bradley Cooper, Janeane Garofalo, Elizabeth Banks, Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Michael Ian Black, Molly Shannon, and more. The movie was a flop when it came out but it’s become a cult classic in the years since.
There’s a plot, albeit a nonsensical one. It’s the last day of camp and the big talent show is tonight. Coop has a crush on Katie, but she’s in a relationship with the douchey Andy. Camp director Beth has a mutual crush on Associate Professor Henry Newman, but they are both too awkward to act on it. And to make things more complicated, Henry has detected a piece of NASA’s Skylab has broken off and is heading directly for the camp and he must find a way to stop the disaster. Even though the film takes place in one day, there’s no way that all the things that happen in the movie could happen in one day. It’s like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off but they acknowledge the fact that it’s impossible and have fun with it, like the scene where the camp counselors go into town and have a crazy drug-fueled montage and return to camp an hour later.
This movie is the smart kind of stupid. And it’s not for everyone. Watch it for ten minutes and give it time to settle in. If you don’t like it by then, stop watching it. But if you manage to make it through the whole movie, it will become one of your favorite comedies. Well, it should be at least. You might have awful taste in movies.
Critically Rated at 14/17
Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young