Wet Hot American Summer - 2001
This movie is the brain child of David Wain and Michael Showalter. The story pulls from their experiences as kids during their times at sleep away camp. This cult classic has by far one of the most star studded list of actors ever put to screen. Just to mention a few:
· Janeane Garofalo as Beth
· David Hyde Pierce as Professor Henry Newman
· Molly Shannon as Gail von Kleinenstein
· Paul Rudd as Andy
· Christopher Meloni as Gene
· Michael Showalter as Gerald "Coop" Cooperberg/Alan Shemper
· Ken Marino as Victor Pulak
· Michael Ian Black as McKinley
· Amy Poehler as Susie
· Bradley Cooper as Ben
· Elizabeth Banks as Lindsay
· Joe Lo Truglio as Neil
· H. Jon Benjamin as a Can of Mixed Vegetables
Wet Hot American Summer is set on the last day of the camp as the counselors wrap up the summer. This movie can be described like a bunch of sketches that happen to work perfectly together, held by Wain and Showalter’s sense of humor. I could honestly just write down each scene in this review and say it’s my favorite, but for the sake of brevity lets do only a few.
Molly Shannon going through a divorce breaks down in front of the kids during arts and crafts. That sentence alone is hilarious, but the kids all act as a therapy group trying to help her get through this tough time. While all the kids are supportive, one of them takes the reins of the situation and becomes a quasi Dr. Phil that guides her out of the darkness. Oh yeah, they fall in love by the end.
The crew going into town for just one hour. Garofalo needs to go in to town so she can read a book at the library. So, the crew decides it’s time to enjoy the time off from being around kids. They start with eating fast food, smoking cigarettes and beer you know the fun stuff. But they really wanted to have fun so they steal the purse of an old lady, by some cocaine and end up shooting up heroine in a crack then, you know the fun stuff. The best part is when they come back to the camp they get asked how was their time, one of them just says “It's fun to get away from the camp, even if it's just for an hour”. All of them completely clean and smiling as if nothing happened.
Ken Marino abandoning the kids and Joe Lo Truglio to go have sex with the camp slut. Marino starts to run all the way back to the camp. Truglio struggles going down the river so he leaves the kids on the river and steals a motorcycle to track him down… so he can save the kids. The best part comes when the run into a stack of hay in the middle of the road. Marino barely makes it over, but Truglio… it’s 100% Truglio and not a stuntman has to completely stop since there is no way to pass it.
I can go on and on but this review is going to be short. Along with all the key moments there are recurring jokes played out throughout the movie. Whenever someone throws something out of frame there is always a sound as if a vase is breaking. Paul Rudd’s over the top make out sessions or his weird “cool” smile. The cafeteria chef sexual ramblings that he instantly denied saying. But the best recurring joke is the fact that this all happens inside of a day as they countdown the hours of the day.
Wet Hot American Summer is one of the rare comedies that require multiple views to catch all of the jokes. Paul Rudd picking up the silverware and plates he through on the ground is why I love movies.
Wet Hot American Summer is currently streaming on Netflix. Watch it, it’s always good to get away from your day to day even if it’s just for an hour and a half.
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