Home Reviews Films Film Review: SUMMER CAMP (2024): Diane Keaton, Kathy Bates and Alfre Woodard are Charming in an Otherwise Bland Comedy

Film Review: SUMMER CAMP (2024): Diane Keaton, Kathy Bates and Alfre Woodard are Charming in an Otherwise Bland Comedy

Film Review: SUMMER CAMP (2024): Diane Keaton, Kathy Bates and Alfre Woodard are Charming in an Otherwise Bland Comedy

Diane Keaton Kathy Bates Alfre Woodard Summer Camp

Summer Camp Review

Summer Camp (2024) Film Review, a movie written and directed by Castille Landon and starring Diane Keaton, Kathy Bates, Alfre Woodard, Eugene Levy, Dennis Haysbert, Betsy Sodaro, Josh Peck, Beverly D’AngeloEugenie Bondurant, Victoria Rowell, Nicole Richie, Kensington Tallman, Tom Wright, Ray Santiago, Maria Howell, Lacey Caroline and Audrianna Lico.

Summer Camp, directed by Castille Landon, is pretty much just an excuse to get some aging big name female movie stars together to have a good time without doing anything too ambitious. The real problem is that the movie is too goofy at times for its own good and relies on silly dialogue and ridiculous situations to drive the plot forward. Still, the film stars Diane Keaton, Kathy Bates and Alfre Woodard. How could you really hate a movie with those big names attached to it? Summer Camp is a well-meaning picture that tries too hard to go for easy laughs and doesn’t always earn those laughs it sets out to obtain.

As the film opens we meet Nora (who grows up to be Keaton), Ginny (later, Bates) and Mary (eventually, Woodard). Young Mary is having a hard time since she just got her first period and other girls at her summer camp are trying to get into the bathroom Mary is hiding in. Nora has glasses and is timid while Ginny (played as a young girl by Kensington Tallman) is an overload of confidence which manifests itself for Ginny later on in her career as a high-profile author and advice provider.

A camp reunion is soon arriving and workaholic Nora seems too busy to go but it ends up that the three women do meet up at the reunion where they will be unable to use their cell phones for a week. That part of the movie seemed implausible because taking the phones away from these characters could potentially alter their careers. Nora is the most reluctant to turn her phone in but she does.

What happens at this summer camp? Nora meets a nice guy named Stevie D (the funny Eugene Levy) who teaches her archery and the central group of characters played by the female stars bunk up together and reminisce while talking about their lives. It turns out Mary is suffering emotionally due to the particulars of her marriage and there’s a kind guy at the camp named Tommy (Dennis Haysbert) who seems to be respectful towards her. Mary’s husband eventually shows up and wants to take her home but Mary stands her ground and stays at the camp for the duration of the reunion.

Diane Keaton is forced to recite really lame dialogue and is told by others at a given interval to refer to herself as a bad “bitch” but, still, the actress has the charm intact that she is so well-known for. Kathy Bates is the primary character who drives the plot forward through the story line’s developments. Woodard’s performance is nicely crafted even though there’s not much to make the characters feel like anything other than sketches of real people. A food fight scene is pretty wildly offbeat but feels misplaced here and more forced than entertaining.

Keaton and Levy have a little chemistry together as their characters here start getting to know one another but the relationship between Stevie D and Nora lacks true development. Bates’s Ginny is the character who really grows as a person in the movie and Bates does the best she can to work with the lackluster script. As a result, Bates is more successful than not as a self-proclaimed female variation of Dr. Phil.

Also in the movie is Josh Peck as Jimmy who does odd jobs at the camp. Peck isn’t that good here but the actor tries hard to make his character have a purpose in the film’s story line. The real disappointment of Summer Camp lies in the fact that it has such a great cast but it possesses such a thin script. Beverly D’Angelo even appears but she is all but wasted in her role as a secretly unhappy woman named Jane. The supporting cast (save for possibly Levy) is mostly under-utilized.

Summer Camp has its moments. Bates gets some heartfelt dialogue as her character makes a mistake that Ginny comes to recognize. There could have been more things going on at the camp, however. The camp, itself, is a bit dull and doesn’t offer activities that would be really appealing to older people. While these characters seem to be enjoying the things they are doing, the audience probably won’t be having as much fun. But, it’s great to see Keaton, Bates and Woodard working again. Together, they create some humorous and moving scenes but more of those moments were needed to make the film a bigger success.

Rating: 5.5/10

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