Directed by Todd Graff, starring Daniel Letterle, Joanna Chilcoat, Robin De Jesus, Tiffany Taylor, Sasha Allen, Alana Allen, Anna Kendrick and Don Dixon.
It's another 'coming-of-age' movie to add to the already saturated market, and this one lacks originality in every sense. Bar a few upbeat tunes, there is nothing to distinguish 'Camp' from any other teenage flick.
Here the story of a group of misfit teenagers is a predictable tale, told once too often. This has all the hallmarks of 'Fame', but without the legwarmers. Some very odd kids go to spend the summer at a performing arts camp where inevitably they learn more about life than they do about music and theatre.
It is questionable, however, whether any of the storylines would impact upon even the teen demographic. The usual problems concerning relationships, sexual confusion and experimentation are hammered home endlessly, but portrayed in a manner that makes them slightly incredible considering the ages of the protagonists. Do teenagers really go to summer camp to bed as many other students as possible in an attempt to discover their true inner selves?!
As such musicals often tend to go, there are too many characters, too many sub-plots, and too little substance throughout. Vlad (Letterle) could perhaps be identified as the central character, around whom most of the action takes place, although the clutter of competing kids makes even this much difficult to distinguish. For his part, Letterle aptly depicts the flirtatious rogue that turns up at the camp presuming to turn heads as he tries it on with just about everyone in the film, male and female.
The many like-minded popstar wannabes he encounters in his bid for the title of camp stud are pretty unremarkable, however: the token gay kid fighting for acceptance from his parents, the token black kid fighting for equality, the single girl who thinks she'll never find a boyfriend, the fat kid whose parents have wired her jaw shut and the super-bitch who is both pretty and talented.
Together the misfits manage to rescue an alcoholic songwriter (Dixon) from the depths of despair and somehow inspire him to return to his career, though it remains to be seen how their flimsy acting and singing could have such an uplifting effect.
There are a few funny scenes and touching moments that might inspire a smile (but hardly laughter) in younger viewers - who may identify on some level with the hopes and fears of the kids. However, there is very little by way of entertainment for anyone else in this tap-dancing, vocal chord-stretching production. With the double-entendre opportunity presented in the title you expect much more exploration and slapstick humour, but 'Camp' doesn't deliver.
Everything about it screams 'been there, done that' in much better movies. If you're looking for an entertaining story where ordinary kids triumph over the odds to become musical prodigies then 'Fame Academy' may be a safer bet!