6.6/10
53,610
330 user 81 critic

Wet Hot American Summer (2001)

Trailer
1:49 | Trailer
Set on the last day of camp, in the hot summer of 1981, a group of counselors try to complete their unfinished business before the day ends.

Director:

David Wain
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Popularity
3,137 ( 39)
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Janeane Garofalo ... Beth
David Hyde Pierce ... Henry
Michael Showalter ... Coop
Marguerite Moreau ... Katie
Paul Rudd ... Andy
Zak Orth ... J.J.
Christopher Meloni ... Gene
A.D. Miles ... Gary
Molly Shannon ... Gail
Gideon Jacobs ... Aaron
Ken Marino ... Victor
Joe Lo Truglio ... Neil
Michael Ian Black ... McKinley
Liam Norton Liam Norton ... Arty
Amy Poehler ... Susie
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Storyline

The setting is Camp Firewood, the year 1981. It's the last day before everyone goes back to the real world, but there's still a summer's worth of unfinished business to resolve. At the center of the action is camp director Beth, who struggles to keep order while she falls in love with the local astrophysics professor. He is busy trying to save the camp from a deadly piece of NASA's Skylab which is hurtling toward earth. All that, plus: a dangerous waterfall rescue, love triangles, misfits, cool kids, and talking vegetable cans. The questions will all be resolved, of course, at the big talent show at the end of the day. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

High Times. Hard Bodies. Soft Rock. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content, language and a drug sequence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The filmmakers have stated that the reason the talent show production of "Day by Day" is booed is often misunderstood. The audience boos in spite of it being particularly well-produced, but it is commonly assumed to be because it ends with a cross being lit up and the camp is mostly Jewish. See more »

Goofs

Around 19 minutes of the film, When Beth makes Andy pick up his food, the plate moves from where it landed to against the wall between shots. See more »

Quotes

Susie: You guys, I'm really going to miss this place.
Coop: Me too.
Ben: Hey, let's all promise that in ten years from today, we'll meet again, and we'll see what kind of people we've blossomed into.
Susie: Yeah!
Ben: What time do you wanna meet?
J.J.: You mean ten years from now?
Coop: Let's meet in the morning so we can make a day of it.
Susie: Okay, so what is it? Is it like 9:00? 9:30?
Coop: Well, let's say 9:00, that way we can be here by 9:30.
McKinley: Well, no, why don't we say 9:30, and then make it your beeswax to be here by 9:30? I mean, we'll all be in ...
[...]
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Crazy Credits

After the credits is a "10 years later" epilogue. See more »

Alternate Versions

DVD contains several deleted scenes. See more »

Connections

Featured in Half in the Bag: Ant-Man (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Summer In America
Written by Adam Moreno (as A. Morenoff) and R. Simpson
Performed by Adam Moreno (as Mr. Blue) & Chubb Rock
Courtesy of Race Music
Contains sampled copyrighted material under license from Tappan Zee Records, Inc.
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User Reviews

 
Was hoping for a wet hot discovering summer
11 September 2011 | by StevePulaskiSee all my reviews

Wet Hot American Summer is the kind of movie where you either get it or you don't. If you do, you're good. If you don't, you are the red-headed step child among your friends and are subject to ridicule because you didn't laugh all that much. I have to say I'm in that category, but I appreciated what the film was doing. It was trying to be a different movie for a certain crowd. It succeeds in being different, but not much else.

I think that this film is appreciated by people who also worship The Big Lebowski and the new comedy Our Idiot Brother, also starring Paul Rudd. They have a certain quotable reputation and are filled with so many random and oddball scenes that they soon get the cult classic status. I did like The Big Lebowski, but didn't see much hope in a rewatch because of the humor only being truly hilarious one time around. Some have said that Wet Hot American Summer gets better with repeated viewings. I don't think I'll stick around to find out.

The story is just thrown together with odds, ends, and characters. Everything is thrown against the wall and the characters wander aimlessly throughout the camp hoping to be hit on the end with some comical elements. We're at Camp Firewood, a Jewish summer camp, and this is the last day of the summer. Everyone is scrambling to find someone of the opposite sex, or same sex, to be with so they can share a kiss at the end of the summer talent show.

The characters are has shallow as the no diving end at a pool. We have Beth (Garofalo), the camp director. Henry (Pierce), an astrophysicist. Coop (Showalter) who has a crush on Katie (Moreau), but unfortunately for him, Katie's boyfriend is the ungrateful, incompetent, ignoramus Andy (Rudd). Gene (Meloni), the Vietnam vet. And way more.

Director David Wain is known for his odd style as he's written and directed Cartoon Network shows like Children's Hospital and Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job. So he does tackle a semi-original idea here. Too bad it's gone to waste. There's one scene where two boys discover their best friend is gay, and rather than taking it in a mature manner, writer Michael Showalter seems to be laughing while writing making the scene unnecessary and tasteless.

For some reason, I've never liked the idea of a summer camp setting in a comedy. It's rarely taken in a fresh manner, and it always results in the same jokes again and again. Some horror movies, like Friday the 13th work because they are in a camp, at night, giving a creepy vibe to an already uneasy setting. In comedies that use the setting, it seems that every film is just random antics, with no rhyme or reason, filled with incompetent camp counselors and teenagers fueled by raging hormones and immaturity.

The characters are drawn and made to be likable, but they are nothing but walking mannequins motivated by personal satisfaction, lust, ego, and hormones. Many of us are, but it rarely do these things make a good, likable film. If the film had been more about finding your inner self and more a coming of age story rather than just be a comedy run by the characters' ridiculous antics it probably could've been more inspiring and more entertaining.

The acting and directing doesn't kill the film has much as the events and characters do. Wet Hot American Summer isn't horrible, but it's repetitive and predictable. What I found wrong may be what someone else finds perfectly fine. The legion of fans will have to accept my review and move on. For every one person who doesn't like this there are half a dozen more who do.

Starring: Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Molly Shannon, Paul Rudd, Christopher Meloni, Michael Showalter. Directed by: David Wain.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

Eureka Pictures

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 April 2002 (Czech Republic) See more »

Also Known As:

Wet Hot American Summer See more »

Filming Locations:

Pennsylvania, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$17,481, 29 July 2001

Gross USA:

$295,206

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$295,206
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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