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Summercamp! (Unrated)





Release Date: July 18th, 2007 (IFC Center) by Argot Pictures.
Directed by Brad Beesley and Sarah Price.

BASIC PREMISE: A documentary about the experiences of campers and counselors at Swift Nature Camp in Wisconsin.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Co-directors Brad Beesley and Sarah Price follow young campers from the moment they arrive at Swift Nature Camp until their departure, while occasionally focusing on a few campers as they go about daily activities. This kind of structure feels logical, easy-to-follow and initially engaging, but whatís missing here is more personal footage of the individual campers, such as Cameron, Spencer, Holly and Boo, which would humanize them. None of them stand out enough to be truly interesting or memorable. Likewise, their experiences seem too familiar, especially when a camper cries, probably because he misses home, although he doesnít give an explanation why, or when a counselor punishes Cameron for bullying another camper. Holly loves searching for chickadees and claims to talk to small stuffed animals that she stuffs in her pocket. It would have been much more interesting, though, to actually show her talking to them rather than merely listening to her mentioning that she does it. Itís not quite clear what precisely makes Swift Nature Camp so unique and fun, for that matter. The documentary Stagedoor felt compelling because it showed the intense competition of young campers who aspire to become thespians in Stagedoor Manor. However, based on the footage here, the activities in Swift Nature Camp seem ordinary and bland by comparison. Attending summer camp should fun and exciting for its campers. Too bad Summercamp! doesnít make you feel the same way while watching it.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: Unfortunately, none.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Mostly bland and impersonal.

NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 8

IN A NUTSHELL: Initially engaging, but mostly bland and impersonal.

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: TV


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