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Wet Hot American Summer

It's the last day of summer camp in 1981, and sex-crazed counselors and campers are all trying to ''get some'' before it's over.


Summer, '81. Camp Firewood director Beth (Janeane Garofalo) is saddled with the task of keeping her wayward, sex-obsessed counselors in line at the same time she's falling for an astrophysics professor (David Hyde Pierce) who is convinced SKYLAB is about to crash-land on them. Meanwhile arts and crafts teacher and soon-to-be-divorcée Gail (Molly Shannon) is a despondent mess but finds solace at the hands of one of her students. Counselor Coop (Michael Showalter) is way into Katie (Marguerite Moreau), who has a thing for sleazy, troubled lifeguard Andy (Paul Rudd). Then there's Victor (Ken Marino), who wants to get with slutty fellow counselor Abby (Marisa Ryan) so badly he abandons his young charges while on a whitewater rafting field trip. Cook and Vietnam vet Gene (Christopher Meloni) has bizarre secret urges and seeks therapy from a talking can of veggies.


Because Summer is meant to be a silly sex comedy (it was created by Showalter and David Wain of MTV's comedy group The State), none of the actors try too hard to be convincing in their pretty typical roles. Too bad the script wasn't funnier; this could have been a kickass return to the early '80s comedies it harks back to, like Porky's or Animal House. Garofalo, who can usually make anything funny, tries hard but her lines suck. Showalter as the film's protagonist is probably the best in it--his unabashed dorkiness inspires a few genuine laughs (especially when he gets a makeover from weirdo Gene, another standout). Shannon is another wasted comedienne--she's great with her delivery, but her lines fall just short of funny. Rudd overdoes it as a jerk with a bad attitude.


Obviously this movie isn't for prudes, but even those who enjoy teen sex comedies won't find this one funny--if you're gonna attempt such over-the-top absurdity, it better hit the mark. Sadly, despite some clever storylines and a few moments of comic genius, Summer is not only extremely unfunny, it's often downright repulsive. This isn't the camp you'll remember--witness the opening scene showing a cabinful of preteens making out under the bedcovers the morning after having spent the night together (maybe if you're 16, but 11?). These foulmouthed counselors constantly yakking about sex aren't watching the kids as much as they are making out in front of them. The production got 1981's look down to the tube socks, but there's one big hole: where is the soundtrack? That should have been a given, but aside from a few Loverboy tunes, it's sorely lacking--just like the laughs.

Bottom Line

You're left waiting for the punch line that never comes.