Fourteen years after its debut, ‘Wet Hot American Summer’ is back for a Netflix miniseries, ‘Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp.’ Reviews are rolling in: Should you head back to camp?
Amy Poehler, Paul Rudd, Bradley Cooper and the rest of the very A-list cast of Wet Hot American Summer are all back for the Netflix series, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp. The 8-episode miniseries, which dropped in full on July 31, is actually a prequel to the original cult movie, taking place on the very first day of camp that same summer (the hilarity of which is compounded by the fact that the cast is now 14 years older, though playing three months younger). With reunions, reboots and remakes popping up at lightning pace these days, it’s hard to know what will and won’t work. Check out what some Wet Hot reviewers had to say!
[I]f you have watched the movie, the Netflix production gains significantly in entertainment value. Not as a serialized comedy — it is what it is, a goofball, sketch-style show whose absurdist jokes work about half the time — but as an elaborate, slowly unspooling parlor game… Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp is both a reunion and a reminder of a slightly more innocent time.
[S]omehow, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, Netflix’s 8-episode prequel to the 2001 cult favorite film, works. But then again, the success of this particular reboot always seemed like a sure thing.
Wet Hot American Summer is an improbable movie…The movie itself a patchwork of tonal improbabilities: It’s parody that slips back and forth into an earnest homage, a farce that sometimes plays it straight. NASA’s Skylab crashes to Earth, right on Camp Firewood, but also a whole beat revolves around picking up a plastic cup off the dining-hall floor. Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp is even more unlikely in so many ways: There’s always chitchat about cult-movie reunions, but they almost never happen, particularly when cast members go on to the levels of fame that WHAS‘s cast has gone on to. It’s a prequel in which actors now in their 40s portray teenagers. And in the oddest move of all, it’s actually good.
The series retains the movie’s sense of silliness as it mocks Afterschool Special-esque topics like bullying and losing one’s virginity. The campers — played by a new batch of younguns — are for the most part secondary…the awkward camp newbie Coop takes under his wing. And there’s a wink-wink joy in seeing plots that met their conclusion in the movie (Ben’s sexuality, the whole Andy-and-Katie thing) start in a whole other place.
The humor of Wet Hot American Summer: First Day Of Camp isn’t in the length of Ken Marino’s cutoffs or Amy Poehler’s Dorothy Hamill hairdo. It’s in how Marino runs in those cutoffs, or the wild insults Poehler screams from beneath that hairdo. (In Poehler’s repertoire of perfectionist power-trippers, Wet Hot’s Suzy is the fuming yin to Leslie Knope’s yang.) It’s in unabashed silliness that gets funnier through repetition, or a sound effect that triggers a 14-year-old memory. First Day Of Camp dabbles in fan service, and it provides backstory no one asked for, but it does so in the joyously weird spirit of its predecessor.
Now it’s your turn HollywoodLifers! Do you plan to binge-watch the heck out of Wet Hot this weekend?
— Casey Mink