Archives / 2001 Sundance Film Festival

Wet Hot American Summer

Director: David Wain

Screenwriters: Michael Showalter, David Wain

Institute History

  • 2001 Sundance Film Festival

Description

"Are you ready for the summer, are you ready for the sunshine," is an anthem which embodies the spirit of all great teen, summer camp movies of the '70s and '80s. What more could any teen (or adult for that matter) with a raging libido want than horny camp counselors in tight bathing suits gallivanting through the woods. Wet Hot American Summer delivers this and all the other summer camp elements we've grown to know and love as it offers a new comic sensibility to the genre all its own.

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 (Janeane Garofalo), who struggles to keep order while she falls in love with the local astrophysics professor (David Hyde Pierce). 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.

Wet Hot American Summer does justice to the time-honored tradition of such highly respected films as Little Darlings and Meatballs. David Wain, whose short film Aisle Six played in the 1993 Sundance Film Festival, manages to incorporate his flare for comedy into the first great summer camp film of the new millennium.

— Trevor Groth

Screening Details

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