REVIEW: MAN UP

 

CAST

Simon Pegg (Hot Fuzz)
Lake Bell (No Strings Attached)
Sharon Horgan (Monkey Dust)
Rory Kinnear (Iboy)
Ken Stott (The Hobbit)
Harriet Walter (Babel)
Ophelia Lovibond (Elementary)
Olivia Williams (The Ghost)
Stephen Campbell Moore (Burnt)
Henry Lloyd-Hughes (Anna Karenina)
Dean-Charles Chapman (Game of Thrones)
John BRadley (Game of Thrones)

 

 

Nancy is 34 years old and single. Her sister hopes that Nancy can find love and encourages her to “put herself out there.” Nancy has a failed blind date at her friend’s engagement party. Later, Nancy’s parents are celebrating their 40th anniversary, so Nancy takes the train to London. On the train, Nancy sits across from Jessica, a 24-year-old woman who is going on a blind date based on a self-help book called 6 Billion People and You. Nancy is rude to Jessica, so Jessica leaves her copy of the book with Nancy, bookmarking Chapter 7, “Your Negative Thoughts are Ruining Your Life (And Everyone Else’s…)”. When disembarking the train, Nancy pursues Jessica to return the book, but is stopped by Jack, Jessica’s blind date. Nancy decides to take a chance and pretend that she is Jessica, and the pair have a very good time drinking and bowling, but Nancy’s ruse is destroyed when they run into Nancy’s creepy secondary school acquaintance, Sean.Simon Pegg and Lake Bell in Man Up (2015)Nancy and Jack argue and return to the bar, where they run into Jack’s soon-to-be-ex-wife with the man she is having an affair with. Nancy has to console Jack in the bathroom and helps him achieve closure. Nancy wants to invite Jack to her parents’ anniversary party—but Jessica has left telephone messages for Jack and still wants to meet up, so he parts ways with Nancy. Nancy arrives at her parent’s party, but is very sad and Jack also quickly realizes that letting her go was a mistake. He enlists the help of Sean and some teenagers to find Nancy’s house and they decide to take a chance on each other.Lake Bell in Man Up (2015)It’s a cliché film in many ways, but still made me smile and laugh out loud many times. I will recommend to my friends who appreciate quality cinema. It’s one of the good ones!

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REVIEW: WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER: 10 YEARS LATER

CAST

Elizabeth Banks (Power Rangers)
H. Jon Benjamin (22 Jump Street)
Michael Ian Black (Wedding Daze)
Janeane Garofalo (Dogma)
Joe Lo Truglio (Superbad)
Ken Marino (Agent Carter)
Christopher Meloni (Man of Steel)
A. D. Miles (Role Models)
Marguerite Moreau (Easy)
David Hyde Pierce (Hellboy)
Amy Poehler (Free Birds)
Paul Rudd (Ant-Man)
Marisa Ryan (Cold Hearts)
Molly Shannon (Bad Teacher)
Michael Showalter (The Ten)
Adam Scott (Krmapus)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Samm Levine (Inglourious Basterds)
David Wain (Wanderlust)
Lake Bell (No Strings Attached)
Paul Scheer (Piranha)
Josh Charles (The Ex)
Kristen Wiig (Ghostbusters)
Rich Sommer (Grilfriend’s Day)
Eric Nenninger (Jeepers Creepers II)
John Early (Bad Neighbors 2)
Chris Pine (star Trek)
Jason Schwartzman (Scott Pilgrim vs The World)
Mark Feuerstein (Once and Again)
Sarah Burns (Married)
Alyssa Milano (Charmed)
Melanie Lynskey (Two and a Half Men)
Jai Courtney (Divergent)
Skyler Gisondo (Santa Clarita Diet)
Joey Bragg (Fred 3)
Anne-Marie Johnson (Suicide Dolls)
Chris Redd (empire)
Joshua Malina (The Big Bang Theory)
Maya Erskine (Betas)
Marlo Thomas (LOL)
Dax Shepard (Hit and Run)

wet-hot-american-summer-ten-years-later-paul-rudd-marguerite-moreau“Andy, you are 26 years old. What is wrong with you! When are you going to grow up? We can’t be teenagers forever.” That above quote is said to Paul Rudd’s Andy Fleckner as a simple gag. It pokes fun at the actual age of the actors that are playing these characters, but therein also lies the central “flaw” of Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later. As fun as all of these camp shenanigans may be, these people can’t just continue doing this forever. However, this is at least something that the series is well aware of and embraces wholeheartedly. It’s bonkers that Ten Years Later even happened at all. One prequel season was a surprising gift in itself. This is the extra marshmallow in the s’more. If last season was the unexpected reunion tour, then this is the sloppy, drunken after party that follows. Sure, it’s less polished, but it’s all dessert anyway.wet-hot-american-summer-ten-years-later-episode-4-lunch-knife-renata-alyssa-milano-michael-ian-black-review-guide-listMuch like First Day of Camp, this season takes this eclectic group of campers and puts them back into Camp Firewood, only now it’s ten years later as opposed to the beginning of their adventure. First Day of Camp does some glorious dot connecting to David Wain’s 2001 cult classic film, while also pulling off deep inside baseball jokes, like the introduction of Jim Stansel or seeing the birth of the anthem, “Higher and Higher.” Obviously with this new season taking place after everything, there’s little to few dots that need to be connected now, which as a result does lead to the trivial feeling that’s sometimes present through this season. Make no mistake, this is all undeniably a great time, but there’s not the same sort of satisfaction to be derived from the material this time around.ajh6scyuze0gpcrgcjueWhile the last installment was about building connections, this one is very much about breaking them to pieces and starting anew, which is only fitting considering this season revolves around Camp Firewood being literally torn down. The fun is in seeing the radical places that everyone has ended up rather than marveling at their clever origin stories. In that sense, the first episode spends the majority of its time simply introducing everyone and catching up the audience.untitledIn an eight-episode season this might feel like a bit of a waste, but with dozens of characters, what are they supposed to do here? The only real answer it to have a longer season, but with First Day of Camp also being a mere eight episodes, that seems to be the pattern that these guys are following. The season certainly could have used a few more episodes this time though. Similarly, this season—more than last season—really feels like it should be watched in one sitting like a long movie. Doing so would even help some of the material flow a little better, too. None of the many storylines feel rushed and everything is given enough time to breathe. It’s a real delicate balancing act that never shows its hand. The characters deal with the insecurity over who they’ve turned into through the years, however everyone is going through this same problem. At their core, they’re still those ridiculous teenagers from summer camp, and so are these actors, no matter how old they are. That’s sort of the point here.wethotmamericansummer-10yearslater-adamscottTen Years Later also gleefully wallows in glorious ‘90s jokes to make sure that the audience never forgets exactly when this season is taking place. It’s also probably the only place you’re going to hear Laura San Giacomo get brought up any time soon. First Day of Camp had this same sort of fun with the ‘80s, but this season is much more meta than the material’s ever been before. There’s also supernatural weirdness afoot too because of course there is. Elements like hidden nuclear fallout shelters entering the mix are so crazy, yet oddly fitting. This universe slowly stretching its boundaries has allowed for insane developments to seem plausible.1498150156458Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later might spend a little too much time roasting on the campfire, but it’s still an immensely enjoyable endeavor that showcases a bunch of exemplary comedians who have now been laughing together for decades.

REVIEW: IT’S COMPLICATED

CAST

Meryl Streep (The iron Lady)
Steve Martin (Cheaper By The Dozen)
Alec Baldwin (The Departed)
John Krasinki (The Office)
Lake Bell (No Strings Attached)
Mary kay Place (Being John Malkovich)
Rita Wilson (Jingle All The Way)
Hunter Parrish (Weeds)
Nora Dunn (Bruce Almighty)
Emily Kinney (Conviction)
Andrew Stewart-Jones (Gotham)
Jessica St. Clair (Bridesmaids)
Alan Cumming (Tin man)
Anne Lockhart (Buried)

Jane (Meryl Streep), who owns a successful bakery in Santa Barbara, California, and Jake Adler (Alec Baldwin), a successful attorney, divorced ten years earlier. They had three children together, two girls and a boy, who are grown. Jake, who was cheating on Jane, married the much younger Agness (Lake Bell).Jane and Jake attend their son Luke’s graduation from college in New York City. After a dinner together, the two begin an affair, which continues in Santa Barbara. Jane is torn about the affair; Jake is not. While Agness has Jake scheduled for regular sessions at a fertility clinic, Jake is secretly taking medication to increase sperm count for fertility, a side effect of which can cause dizziness. After one of his sessions he has a lunchtime rendezvous with Jane at a hotel. Jake collapses in the hotel room and a doctor is called. The doctor speculates that the reason for Jake’s distress may be the medication and says he should stop taking it. Jake and Jane’s children know nothing of the affair, but Harley (John Krasinski), who is engaged to their daughter Lauren, spots the pair and the doctor in the hotel, but keeps silent.Adam (Steve Martin) is an architect hired to remodel Jane’s home. Still healing from a divorce of his own, he begins to fall in love with Jane. On the night of Luke’s graduation party in Santa Barbara, Jane invites Adam to the party. She is stoned when he picks her up because she has smoked a marijuana joint that Jake had given her earlier. Before going into the party, Adam smokes some of the joint with Jane. Once inside, they are laughing and happily high, Jake becomes jealous observing them, and after pressing Jane, smokes some with her also.Agness then observes Jake and Jane dancing together and realizes they are having an affair. When they leave the party, Adam asks Jane if they could have something to eat. Jane takes him to her bakery and they make chocolate croissants together. Jake and Agness separate, although it is not clear who leaves whom. Eventually by a webcam in Jane’s bedroom, Adam sees Jake naked and realizes that the two have been having an affair. Adam tells Jane he cannot continue seeing her because it will only lead to heartbreak. Jane’s kids also find out, and they are not happy about Mom and Dad getting together again because they are still recovering from the divorce. Jane tells them she is not getting back with Jake. Jane and Jake talk and end their affair on amicable terms. The film ends with Adam at Jane’s house ready to commence the remodeling. Before the credits roll, Jane and Adam are seen laughing about the chocolate croissants while walking into her house.It’s Complicated couldn’t have succeeded without Nancy Meyers finally showing what good writing can do with the right people, time, and effort put into place. It’s the work of her career and she remains a dark horse for an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. Though the film will definitely appeal to an older generation, the younger can appreciate the zeal and comical dialogue shared between the players. The film does run a bit long and loses some of it’s spark in the finale act, but it’s pure entertainment.

REVIEW: OVER HER DEAD BODY

CAST

Eva Longoria (Harsh Times)
Paul Rudd (Ant-Man)
Lake Bell (No Strings Attached)
Jason Biggs (American Pie)
Lindsay Sloane (Bring It On)
Stephen Root (Office Space)
William Morgan Sheppard (The Prestige)
Deborah Theaker (Best In Show)
Jack Conley (Angel)
Kali Rocha (Meet The Parents)
Misha Collins (Supernatural)
Patrica Belcher (Bones)

Kate and Henry are a happy couple. Henry proposed to Kate and they are about to be married, but on the day of their wedding, Kate is accidentally killed by an ice sculpture angel, because of the actions of an ice sculptor (Stephen Root). Unaware that she has died and her soul left her body, Kate awakens in Purgatory, and wastes precious time arguing with an angel who finally leaves before she can explain to Kate what she must do to move on.

A year later, Henry’s sister Chloe (Lindsay Sloane) hopes that he will find closure by consulting Ashley (Lake Bell), a psychic who also runs a catering business with her gay best friend Dan (Jason Biggs). After an unsuccessful first meeting, Chloe gives Kate’s diary to Ashley so that she can pretend to communicate with Kate and convince Henry to move on with his life. In the process, Henry and Ashley fall for each other… much to the consternation of Kate, who has been watching over Henry. When Kate voices her displeasure, Ashley hears her, unaware of what it means.

Angry over Ashley’s deception and uncertain of what she’s supposed to do, Kate later encounters the ice sculptor, and discovers that he is also a ghost (a result of a drunk driving accident). He explains to her that they must deal with their unfinished business. Believing that her job is to protect Henry, Kate proceeds to harass Ashley (who is the only one who can see or hear Kate). Using her ghostly abilities of intangibility, levitation, and auditory hallucination, Kate hopes to force Ashley to break up with Henry. Ashley persists, but then Henry discovers the fraud with the diary and breaks off the relationship. Despondent over the break-up, Ashley turns to Dan for solace, but is further distraught when Dan reveals that he’s not gay and has secretly been in love with her for years. Over time, Ashley and Dan eventually reconcile.

After several months of watching Henry fall back into a depressed funk, Kate encounters the sculptor once more, who points out that if she had resolved her unfinished business, she would have moved on to Heaven by now. When the sculptor asks her what she really wants, Kate reluctantly admits that she only wants Henry to be happy… and realizes that he could be happy with Ashley. Then the sculptor reveals that Kate was his unfinished business and he had to get her to do the right thing before moving on, which he does. Kate first attempts to convince Ashley to get back together with Henry but Ashley doesn’t believe her change of heart, and is preparing to fly to Las Vegas with Dan. In desperation, Kate finds she is able to talk to Henry through his pet parrot and gets him to meet Ashley at the airport. Realizing that Henry has forgiven her and that she has Kate’s blessing, Ashley joyfully embraces with Henry. At their wedding, Ashley delays her walk down the aisle to sit briefly in the back pew, to promise Kate that she will strive to make Henry happy. Also at the wedding, Dan makes a new connection with Chloe. Now ready to move on, Kate arrives once more in Purgatory, congratulated for her efforts by the angel and requests the “orb of true light” collected from Kate’s loved ones. The angel leaves once again, leaving Kate in Purgatory.

Eva Longoria plays a character not too far removed from her role in Desperate Housewives, so if you liked her there, you’ll probably like this. So if you’re looking for a light feelgood movie, this might just do it.

REVIEW: SHREK FOREVER AFTER

CAST

Mike Myers (Austin Powers)
Eddie Murphy (Dr. Dolittle)
Cameron Diaz (Bad Teacher)
Antonio Banderas (Legend of Zorro)
Walt Dohm (Trolls)
Cody Cameron (Turbo)
Jon Hamm (Mad Men)
Craig Robinson (Pineapple Express)
Jane Lynch (Role Models)
John Cleese (Rat Race)
Julie Andrews (The Princess Diaries)
Kristen Schaal (The Muppets)
Kathy Griffin (Hall Pass)
Lake Bell (No Strings Attached)

Shrek has grown steadily tired of being a family man and celebrity among the local villagers, leading him to yearn for the days when he felt like a “real ogre”. When he takes his family to Far Far Away to celebrate his children’s first birthday, a series of mishaps further injure his ego, causing him to lose his temper and walk out in anger.

Shrek encounters Rumpelstiltskin, who seizes his chance, having observed Shrek’s angry outburst. He follows Shrek and arranges for Shrek to appear to save his life. To “thank” him, he gives Shrek a day to live like a real ogre, in exchange for a day from his childhood that he would not remember being erased.

Shrek signs the contract and appears in a reality where he is feared by villagers. He takes the opportunity to cause some lighthearted mischief until he finds “WANTED” posters for Fiona and his home deserted and desolate. He is kidnapped by witches and taken to Rumpelstiltskin, now the King of Far Far Away, which has become derelict and run down.

Upon inquiry, Rumpelstiltskin reveals that the day he erased was the day of Shrek’s birth. Therefore, Shrek never saved Fiona, never met Donkey, and consequently Rumpelstiltskin was able to get King Harold and Queen Lillian to sign their kingdom away, making them both disappear. When the day ends, Shrek will disappear as well. Shrek escapes Rumpelstiltskin’s castle with Donkey. Initially terrified of Shrek, Donkey decides to trust him after seeing Shrek cry over his erased history, something he had never seen an ogre do before. After Shrek explains the situation, Donkey helps him find a hidden exit clause: the contract can be nullified by true love’s kiss.

They soon encounter a band of ogres who are resisting Rumpelstiltskin. The ogres are led by a still-cursed Fiona who, after escaping from the tower where she was held captive, keeps the retired and overweight Puss in Boots as a pet. Shrek does everything he can to gain Fiona’s love, but she is too busy preparing an ambush on Rumpelstiltskin. She is also bitterly cynical and disillusioned about the power of true love and throws herself into planning Rumpelstiltskin’s capture. While sparring with her, Fiona begins to like Shrek, but stops short of kissing him. Puss encourages him to continue pursuing Fiona.

During the ambush, the ogres are captured by the Pied Piper, though Shrek and Fiona escape with the intervention of Puss and Donkey. Shrek insists Fiona kiss him, saying it will fix everything; however, because in this altered timeline Fiona does not truly love him, the kiss does not work. When he hears that Rumpelstiltskin is offering the “deal of a lifetime” (where all wishes come true) to the one who brings him Shrek, Shrek turns himself in and uses the deal to free the other ogres, who then storm into the castle, battle the witches, and capture Rumpelstiltskin.

As the sun rises, Shrek begins to fade from existence. But Fiona, having fallen in love with him, kisses Shrek just before he disappears, thereby voiding the contract and restoring Shrek to his world, just before he lashed out at the party. Shrek embraces his friends and family with a newfound appreciation for everything he has, truly living happily forever after.

As a fan of Shrek I enjoyed every bit of this film and was even the music. Lots of fight scenes to keep me interested, slapstick comedy, and a good story and ending to wrap everything up. If you like the first couple of Shrek films get this. It definitely makes up for the third film. Get it and enjoy.

REVIEW: WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS

 

CAST

Cameron Diaz (Bad Teacher)
Ashton Kutcher (Two and a Half Men)
Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover)
Rob Corddry (Warm Bodies)
Lake Bell (No Strings Attached)
Queen Latifah (Bringing Down The House)
Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones)
Jason Sudeikis (Horrible Bosses)
Treat Williams (Skeletons in The Closet)
Dennis Farina (Get Shorty)
Dennis Miller (Emerald City)
Amanda Setton (The Crazy Ones)

In New York City, high-strung equity trader Joy Ellis McNally (Cameron Diaz) is dumped by her fiancé at a surprise birthday party she throws for him. At the same time, easy-going carpenter Jack Fuller (Ashton Kutcher) is fired from his job by his father, Jack, Sr. (Treat Williams). Both become emotionally distraught and, with best friends Toni “Tipper” (Lake Bell), a bartender, and Jeff “Hater” (Rob Corddry), a lawyer, take a debauched trip to Las Vegas. Joy and Jack meet by chance when they are given the same hotel room because of a computer error. After clearing up the misunderstanding and receiving upgraded rooms and coupons to various clubs, they party and drink together and end up getting married. The next morning, they realize it was a mistake and decide to divorce.

Before they do so, Jack uses a quarter Joy gives him in a slot machine. He hits a three million dollar jackpot and Joy reminds Jack that they are married and hence, she is entitled to half of the money. The couple return to New York, where they attempt to divorce. The judge (Dennis Miller) declares that the couple cannot divorce until they attempt to co-exist for six months, while attending weekly sessions with a marriage counselor (Queen Latifah). If they work at the marriage but still want to divorce after six months, each will be permitted to keep half the winnings. If either party does not cooperate, the money will be tied up in litigation by the judge.
The newlyweds devise more and more cunning schemes to undermine each other, such as Jack telling Joy that their counseling session is canceled to prove she’s not committed, and Joy inviting girls to their apartment to try to get Jack to cheat on her, throwing a party where Jack’s friend Dave shows up. Jack gives Joy’s ex-fiancé, Mason (Jason Sudeikis), her engagement ring back without Joy knowing. At Joy’s job retreat, Jack and Joy find themselves developing an unexpected attraction to one another and they soon realize that being with each other has brought out the best in both of them. After they get back from the retreat, it’s time for the judge to decide what happens to the money. On her way to the hearing, Joy sees her ex-fiancé Mason and he tells her that he wants her back. He gives her back the engagement ring and tells her that she is good enough for him. Joy realizes that Jack set her up to get back with him, therefore cheating on him and letting Jack keep the money. Joy walks away from Mason and goes to the hearing. At the hearing, their marriage counselor testifies that the couple truly tried to work on their marriage. The judge decides that they will split the remaining 1.4 million dollars (after taxes, bills Joy ran up, and money Jack spent on his new woodworking business). Joy tells the judge she doesn’t want any money and gives the engagement ring to Jack, telling him she officially doesn’t want anything from him. Jack realizes she knows that he talked to Mason.

Joy gets the promotion she’d been working for, but tells her boss she would rather be happy doing nothing than doing something she hates and being miserable. Jack talks to his parents and they tell him it looks like he and Joy are in love. Realizing his mistake, he goes to find her. Tipper tells Jack that she quit her job and that nobody knows where she is. He has a suspicion that she has gone to a beach (Fire Island, New York) that she told him about, the only place that makes her feel truly happy. Jack asks her to be his wife (again) and she says yes. As the two embrace, Joy says that she quit her job and has no idea what she’s going to do. Jack reminds her that they have a lot of money between them. Joy states that they hit the jackpot, to which Jack replies that he certainly did (referring to both the money and to Joy).

During the credits, we see Tipper and Hater on the day Jack and Joy get married. Tipper and Hater subsequently enact a plan of revenge on Mason, devised by Tipper earlier in the film. Tipper and Hater ring Mason’s doorbell, and when he answers, Tipper slugs him in his testicles. He moans in agony and drops to his knees asking “Why?”, and she responds emphatically “You know why!”, and Tipper leaves with Hater. Post-credits, Dave is telling Hater about a party that evening, but Hater no longer wants to associate with Dave, citing Jack as being “the glue” that held the two of them together as friends. With that, Hater simply leaves. Dave asks a random guy on the street if he likes to party.

This is a funny film, it’s one of those you have to watch and then forget about but when you watch it again, you remember why it’s so good!

REVIEW: WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER: FIRST DAY OF CAMP

CAST
Paul Rudd (Ant-Man)
Janeane Garafalo (Mystery Men)
David Hyde Pierce (Hellboy)
Michael Showalter (The Ten)
Marguerite Moreau (Easy)
Michael Ian Black (This is 40)
Zak Orth (Music and Lyrics)
Bradley Cooper (Serena)
A.D. Miles (Role Models)
Christopher Meloni (Man of Steel)
Molly Shannon (Never Been Kissed)
Ken Marino (Veronica Mars)
Joe Lo Truglio (Superbad)
Amy Poehler (Mean Girls)
Marisa Ryan (Cold Hearts)
Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games)
Kevin Sussman (The Big bang Theory)
H. Jon Benjamin (Not Another Teen Movie)
Lake Bell (No Strings Attached)
Jason Schwartzman (Bored to Death)
Samm Levine (I Love You, Beth Cooper)
John Slattery (Ted 2)
Chris Pine (Star Trek)
Jon Hamm (Man Men)
Michael Cera (Scott Pilgram vs The World)
Kristen Wiig (paul)
Jayma Mays (Ugly Betty)
Richard Schiff (The Cape)
Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp – the Netflix prequel series to 2001’s Wet Hot American Summer that we never knew we desperately wanted – is very funny. In fact, it’s freakin’ hilarious for uber-fans of the original. I can only assume it’s mildly amusing to those who’ve either never seen the movie or saw it and weren’t fans.The thing about it though is it’s really tethered to the movie. This is a prequel series made under extreme prequel rules. Not only is it specifically designed to be watched afterward, but many of the jokes won’t land if you don’t know what lies ahead come the “last day of camp.” Quick non-spoilery example: Comedian “Alan Shemper” is mentioned (perhaps I should have put comedian in quotes instead) and the young counselors of Camp Firewood freak out with excitement. Why? Well, the movie pre-answered that. And that’s just one of many instances that indicate that, despite this being a hyped-up Netflix Original event, you need to watch the movie.

Now, the original Wet Hot American Summer came with a loaded cast, many of whom went on to become even more famous than they were when the movie was released. One of the gateway jokes for the prequel is that everyone, in real life, is much older, but now they’re playing even younger versions of the characters they portrayed in the original. And it was even a stretch back then that they were playing teenagers. In fact, this “old teenager” gag was part of the original’s charm as well. Here, the joke isn’t as much of a joke as you’d think. Most everyone has held up fairly well. Noticeably older, sure, but not hilariously so. In fact, the only time it feels like a goof is whenever Showalter shows up as Coop, as he’s really the one who’s, let’s say, a much different shape than he used to be.
So let’s talk about the cast. Again, this was an impressive ensemble back in 2001. And everyone’s back. Showalter, Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper, Janeane Garofalo, Marguerite Moreau, Zak Orth, Christopher Meloni, Joe Lo Truglio, Ken Marino,  Michael Ian Black, and many more. Even director Wain has a recurring role this time around. And while it must have been difficult to get everyone back given people’s busy schedules, Wet Hot American Summer is set up to be an accommodating side/pet project. As in, it’s not often that all the characters interact, and most of the time they’re paired off and go about their separate stories. The actors weren’t as famous back in 2001, but that movie was still filmed super quick and designed to section people away from each other into different threads.
Now, some characters, given the rising careers of the actors who played them back in the original, have somewhat of an expanded presence. It’s understandable. For example, both Banks and Poehler have a lot more screen time here than they ever did in the movie. But this is also now a four-hour story, so there’s room for this type of change-up. And one of the best things this series does is create zany, clever origin stories for beloved elements from the movie. Not just characters, like Meloni’s Gene and Banks’ Lindsey, but actual things. Songs. Characteristics. Odd in-jokes. They all get a “beginning.” The way Poehler’s Susie came to be so hard on auditioners. The reason David Hyde Pierce’s Henry summers by the camp. The empty vegetable can voiced by H. Jon Benjamin. The freakin’ “Higher and Higher” song! All these things are given a backstory.
And this series didn’t just manage to get back its  original cast. There are also guest stars galore. Doing some amazing, quirky things here. Jon Hamm as a government assassin, Chris Pine as a mysterious hermit who lives on the camp grounds, Michael Cera as a ambulance-chasing lawyer given the case of a lifetime, Lake Bell as Coop’s “mixed signals” girlfriend. Hamm’s not even the only Mad Men’er around as John Slattery recurs as a “renowned” theater director and Rich Sommer stooges for Josh Charles’ snobby Camp Tiger Claw counselor Blake. Camp Tiger Claw which — instead of being a badass, evil Cobai Kai-type commune like the name suggests — has a “blue blood country club from the 50s vibe,” including evening socials that involve dancing the foxtrot.
Like the film, First Day of Camp takes place over the course of one day. And similar story beats and lunacy are employed. There are strained romances (Rudd’s Andy trying to fart his way into Moreau’s Katie’s heart, Coop wondering if Lake Bell’s Donna is faithful), a stressful stage production that has one day to come together for a nighttime performance (here it’s new wave musical “Electro City”), and a doomsday crisis that Garofalo’s Beth must avert in order to save the camp. There’s even a spectacular Victor Pulak chase scene. So the actual structure of the original is upheld.
es, I’d say that you definitely need to be a fan of the original Wet Hot American Summer movie to enjoy all First Day of Camp has to offer. The entire thing’s a love letter to itself and it’s wonderful. It’s great to see everyone back as well as all the new faces.