Wet Hot American Summer (2001)

I really should do more homework before picking a film to watch. Even when I’m just looking for something mindless and funny, it is a good lesson to keep in mind. Had I bothered to check up on Wet Hot American Summer‘s pedigree before I decided to view it, I could have spared myself a lot of frustration. Instead, I selected the film simply because I kept hearing the title brought up over-and-over again by people when they were discussing lesser-known (I won’t say “cult”) comedies. Perhaps, I should also take better stock of just who is having these sort of discussions and how their tastes in film match up with my own.

Doesn’t this like one of those whacky films from the 80’s? Let’s try to make one of those, but let’s not really try.

Had I known that Wet Hot American Summer was made by many of the same people behind MTV’s sketch comedy show The State I would have buried this title so deep on my must-see list that I’d be more likely to watch all of the movies based Nicholas Sparks’ books before watching this so-called comedy. Oh, I’m sure that for many people this film, like The State, is hilarious or at least providing of a chuckle or two. I am not one of those people. I have always found the comedy of David Wain, Michael Showalter, Michael Ian Black, et al. to be lazy.

Wet Hot American Summer did not prove to be an exception. I cannot understand if this is an homage or satire of 80’s camp comedies. Ideas are introduced and quickly dropped. While watching the film I felt there was so much untapped potential, so many jokes that could have been, so many tropes left unexplored, and so much that left to be desired. Like ever other work of theirs that I have seen, I felt like I was watching a first draft, something that needed to be revisited and refined. Overall, there is the feel of improv, of jokes made on the fly, then quickly discarded, and never developed.

Live and learn. Next time I’ll check the ingredients before I down any old film. Next time, I’ll just watch Meatballs.


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