Long Story Short: No, it’s not an “adult” film. The guys from MTV’s “The State” go to summer camp. Welcome to the last day of Camp Firewood, August 1981.
As a Jewish guy and an eight-year veteran of Jewish summer camp, I was eager to see this movie. Eight weeks of friends, pranks and bad food were always the highlight of my year. The film is set on the last day of camp in 1981, when the Camp Firewood population was doing the normal camp things: kids running all over the place and counselors looking to party and find that special someone for the final time. The camp is hysterically and eerily true to life, as each camper has a name ending in Berg, Stein or Green, and everyone seems to be from New York. Hmm, it also sounds eerily similar to another place we all know.
Daily events at Camp Firewood are humorous, but what makes the movie a great comedy is that it goes way beyond summer camp.
This movie really is a parody of cheesy teen movies of the early ’80s. It contains a huge amount of gross sight gags and completely unrealistic situations that are some of the most inventive and hilarious things I have seen.
As a Catholic guy, and a five-year veteran of Jewish camp (Tel Noar represent!), I can also attest to the verisimilitude (big word alert) of the film. But that is by no means the only thing that makes this movie a standout. For those of you who don’t know “The State,” it was a sketch-comedy show on MTV that had characters eating Muppets for dinner, a kid with baloney sandwich feet and a human blueberry. Of course that was on TV. They had restrictions then. This movie is rated R. Very R.
That same unique, incredibly random humor applies here. The movie spoofs the teen films of the ’80s, but it also shares something in common with them. Underneath the jokes about flexible vegetable cans and hour-long crack addictions run a vein of heartfelt nostalgia. For example, we see the talent show that was a big event in cheesy camp movies. The things the kids do are hilarious (one kid’s routine is fit for “Def Comedy Jam”), but what’s really funny? How stupid and inane were some of the “talents” we’ve seen people display in these performances? The movie pulls its humor from left field, and its heart from all the right places, no matter how unintentional.