The Funniest Film of 2001
Christopher Zayne Reeves | Columbus, OH | 03/07/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a twenty-two year old male who fondly remembers both staying up late to watch summer camp sex comedies on cable while his parents were asleep AND devotedly watching the The State's MTV series, I am an ideal member of Wet Hot American Summer's target audience. Predictably, I laughed harder watching this film than I have at anything since 99's Bowfinger. Should being a fan of The State be an important factor in enjoying this film? No. Should spending a sizeable chunk of your late-night adolescence hoping Mom & Dad don't catch you enjoying Hamburger: The Motion Picture a little too much determine whether or not you'll "get" a film that makes so many era-specific references? Absolutely not.Blessed with a witty script by State alumni David Wain (who also directs) and Michael Showalter (who does double duty as an actor) that deftly balances telling its story briskly and slyly subverting it in ways that are so suprising you laugh not only at the joke but at being caught genuinely off guard. The film also boasts one of the most gifted casts of comedic actors in recent memory. Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Molly Shannon, vets from The State as well as actors such as Paul Rudd and Christopher Meloni who are so good and so in sync with the production that if one were not aware of their impressive dramatic work, Meloni as Keller on HBO's OZ and Rudd in various films including The Cider House Rules, you would think they were career comedians. And the ensemble of young actors playing the summer camp children are simply astonishing in their assurance. Wet Hot American Summer is one of the few films to have so large a cast of child actors where every single one is perfect in their role. Reviewers left cold by this film complained that summer camp film staples such as Meatballs and others that inspired Wet Hot American Summer were beneath spoofing. Such comments are as off the mark as someone beefing that the Airport films that Airplane! skewered were too lousy to have a film dedicated to making fun of them. For one thing, if something is funny than it needs no further justification. More importantly, bottom-line driven schlock such as disaster films and summer camp romp flicks are ideal because they provide those sending them up with a solid story structure, rules which must be abided when making such films and stock characters that propel the story forward. Commercial films made for no other reason than to pop a quick, cheap profit are like the plays of the Greeks and of the Romans in that you can break them down to a simple formula that can be repeated umpteen times with little to no variation. The problem with most original comedies is that it is hard to craft a stable structure that doesn't take a quarter of the film's running length to pick up steam or that doesn't completely peter out in the end.Owen Gleiberman at Entertainment Weekly was perhaps the only major critic to include Wet Hot American Summer as one of the year's top films. With at least an honest half-dozen performances that would qualify as Oscar-worthy and a script in league with more celebrated films such as Memento and Ghost World, Wet Hot American Summer should be destined to find its home as a perennial video/dvd rental. Ultimately this is a shame because this film deserved immediate recognition as one of the top American comedies of the past five years."
Now, this was one funny movie.
Craig Clarke | New England | 05/10/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you liked The State, the sketch comedy show from MTV, then you'll most likely laugh at the same people here. Most of the cast is in this film, and Michael Showalter and David Wain (also the director) co-wrote it.It's the last day of camp in the summer of 1981. Janeane Garofalo plays the camp director who falls in love with the local physicist, David Hyde Pierce. But the real star is Showalter, who plays "Coop," trying to get the girl of his dreams to fall for him, in spite of her "love" for vapid Paul Rudd (who reminded me a lot of Trey Parker here, for some reason). This movie is basically a take-off of the `80's camp films like Meatballs. You know, the ones they used to show on USA Up All Night. And every possible gag is included here, including a few I didn't see coming (like the trip to "town"). One thing, though, keep in mind while you watch it that all of this is happening during the span of one day."
You either get it or you don't
L. Macintosh | mass | 09/07/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Wet Hot American Summer is a movie which I have to admit I wasn't thrilled by the first time I saw it, but the second time I really started to understand the humor and now it is my favorite comedy. The type of comedy in the movie (as others have stated) is very different then what you would normally see in prime time, but it gets more and more hilarious everytime you watch it... love it..."