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Title: Wet, Hot, American Summer

Movie: :3.5stars:
Video: :4stars:
Audio: :3.5stars:
Extras: :4stars:

HTS Overall Score:71

What happens when you blend “Caddyshack” with “Meatballs”? Well, you get an insane romp that we call “Wet, Hot, American Summer”. From the brains who brought you “They Came Together” and “Role Models”, comes a lunatic ride that pretty much needs no explanation, since there really IS no explanation to the film. There’s teens with too many hormones, bad jokes, potty humor and plenty of tongue in cheek moments to satisfy even the most crazed parody lovers. The third act is a bit lost and meandering, with the insanity taken to about 15 on a scale of 1-10, but “We, Hot, American Summer” has garnered a cult following that still survives to this day.

I’ll at least TRY to summarize what we call a plot here. It’s last day of summer at camp Firewood and it’s time for last minute preparations. Counselors are trying to hook up before the day’s end, the director wants to go out on a date with the local scientist and the kids are just trying survive until their parents pick them up for the year. The amount of sheer star power in the film is just mind boggling. Beth (Janeane Garofalo) heads up Camp Firewood and her apathy is pretty palpable. She’s taken a fancy to Henry (David Hyde Pierce), the nerdy local resident who just so happens to be salivating over her. Ignoring the camp members is pretty much a must at this point of senioritis and off she goes in a head over heels romance that will leave everyone (including the audience) reeling. Coop (played by Co-writer Michael Showalter) is pining away over the camp easy girl, Katie, who just so happens to be with the camp stud muffin, Andy (Paul Rudd). Any doesn’t really care about Katie, but is more concerned about hooking up with camp hottie, Lindsay (Elizabeth Banks). On the side we have a sobbing Molly Shannon, who plays a divorced counselor who ends up getting marriage advice from her students. Add in a PTSD ridden Vietnam vet as the cook (Christopher Meloni), a theater teacher played by a young Bradley Cooper, and his partner played by Amy Poehler. Ironically this is really only just touching on the amount of star power in the film. Oh, and H. John Sussman, you know the man who plays Sterling Archer on “Archer”, just so happens to show up as a talking can of vegetables.

“Wet, Hot, American Summer” is very much an acquired taste of cult slice of cinematic pie. If you liked “They Came Together”, then you know the type of humor that David Showalter and Michael Wain like to infuse in their movies. The plot is crazy and ludicrous to begin with, but amps up into full gear in the third act with a rouge satellite on a collision course for the camp. The humor is rude, crude and a bit lewd, but ironically they’re pretty much no nudity even though that’s all the hormone riddled counselors can think about. Michael and David pretty much lampoon everything you can think about when it comes to camp movies. The lunacy of “Caddyshack” (just without the witty dialog), and the characters that feel like they’re ripped right out of the pages of “Friday the 13th”, blend together for a zany good time that also feels more than a bit strained by the end.

The jokes are funny and the tongue is so firmly planted in cheek that I’m not sure where the tongue ends and the cheek begins. The main problem comes from David Wain and Michael Showalter’s inability to really stick the landing. Most of their movies start out great, but always have issues with the third act. This is no different, as the lunacy just goes to the nth degree and starts to stumble around in the dark as relationships falter and the focus gets lost amongst the craziness. At the same time there is a lot of good to be said about the movie, as there are so many points in the film where I can’t help but double over in laughter. The actors themselves give it so much gusto that you can’t help be grin as the energy is just infectious. All involved gleefully poke fun at all of the clichés and pitfalls of the 80s, letting themselves get caught up in the moment and end up creating something rather unique.


Rated R for sexual content, language and a drug sequence

Video :4stars:
“Wet, Hot, American Summer” is presented with a very nice 1.85:1 encoded Blu-ray disc that look rather pleasing, considering the low budget and throwback look to the film. Colors are usually bright and cheerful, despite some flatness in the opening sequence. Contrast is fine and the image is definitely rather warm. Sometimes a bit excessively warm in my opinion. Black levels are normally strong, besides from the opening sequence and the image appears to be free of DNR or other digital issues springing from an old master. Detail is very solid, and looks impressive 99% of the time. An overall very nice looking catalog title, and while it won’t win any awards for being remastered and looking like new, it will please fans of the film without a doubt.

Audio :3stars:
The disc has only the original 2.0 audio track in the lossless DTS-HD MA format, and while it has a rather limited stage being that it’s only a stereo track, it sounds solid enough. Vocals are clean and clear, although they sometimes feel a bit overwhelmed by the 80s inspired soundtrack, and the front stage has enough mayhem and craziness to fill out quite nicely. There’s a little LFEL baked into the stereo mix and it adds a nice level of density to the track that otherwise would have been a bit tiny. As you would expect, there’s no surround usage and no center to stabilize the vocals, but overall it’s a solid track that does what it’s there to do.

Extras :4stars:

• 10th Anniversary Event Highlights
• Wet Hot American Summer: Live at SF Sketchfest
• Deleted Scenes
• Cast Moments
• Behind the Scenes
• Songs with Production Stills
• Wet Hot American Summer Theatrical Trailer
• Audio Commentary
• Soundtrack with Extra Farts

Overall: :3.5stars:

I never in a million years expected “Wet, Hot, American Summer’ to come to Blu-ray. It’s just a title that is so cult that I expected someone to shift it off to one of the boutique labels if so, but seeing it arrive on my doorstep was like a dream come true to a guy who watched it about half a dozen times in college. The crazy is set to max, the humor is a throwback to those old 80’s teen comedies and the star power is off the charts (although some of them were just fledgling actors back then). The audio and video are solid for a shoestring budget comedy that was shot to resemble the 80s, but the extras are really the sweet spot here. Taking all the extras from the 2 disc DVD edition from back in the day when extras really meant something on the release, it amps up the quality quite a bit. If you’re a fan of the 80s teen comedies set to a crazy drum beat, then it’s something worth checking out.

Additional Information:

Starring: David Hyde Pierce, Molly Shannon, David Showalter, Bradley Cooper, Janeane Garofalo
Directed by: Michael Wain
Written by: Michael Wain, David Showalter
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 2.0
Studio: Universal
Rated: R
Runtime: 97 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: May 12th 2015

Buy Wet, Hot, American Summer On Blu-ray at Amazon

Recommendation: Rental

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