A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Campers learn summer camp activities like archery, fishing, and arts and crafts. Viewers won't learn anything from watching, but it may inspire them to try themselves.
Messages are about the power of friendship and that you don't have to go through life's challenges alone. Also, it's never too late to choose a better path. Themes include communication, empathy, and gratitude.
Positive Role Models
Noah doesn't start out making the best choices, but through the other characters' supportive behavior, he grows and learns and is influenced to treat them as they've been treating him. Camp counselors are positive, encouraging, supportive, and available to listen or talk through campers' problems. Noah's bunkmates are open and friendly. Other than one trio, most campers are helpful and open to befriending a newcomer.
Main character Noah is White. One of two head camp counselors is a Black man (Corbin Bleu) who's a positive, supportive force in the lives of his middle and high school campers. Noah's friendly bunkmate is also Black. Other campers with smaller roles are diverse in terms of race, economic status, body shape. The other head counselor is a young woman who advocates for Noah. Other female campers and counselors are shown to be inclusive and supportive.
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Violence & Scariness
One character who bullies others picks a couple of fights that lead to pushing and shoving. Pratfalls. Slapstick "attacks" on criminals, including getting hits to the groin with rocks. Threat. Rifles seen on the wall of the camp owner. Campers shoot at each other while playing paintball.
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One character taunts a teen who doesn't have parents by calling him "orphan" in a nasty tone of voice. Other insults include "jerk," "loser," "turkey."
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Products & Purchases
Nintendo Switch is heavily featured as a product that's meaningful within a family, a fun distraction, and an object of desire. Skittles are a punchline to a joke, but the product isn't seen.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Camp Hideout is a tween-friendly comedy about a teen named Noah (Ethan Drew) who has to choose between juvenile detention and summer camp. It's like Meatballs meets Home Alone, but far more wholesome and less violent. Made by faith-based filmmakers, it's quite light on both iffy content and obvious faith elements, other than a few scattered "Easter eggs" (e.g., a dog named Lazurus, or a Bible verse number in the background). Instead, Christian principles -- such as greeting outsiders with open arms and being there to support others through life's challenges -- are demonstrated through characters' actions. Noah lives in a loving foster home; one kid bullies him by calling him "orphan" as if it's a bad word (other insults in the script include "loser" and "jerk"). This leads to a brief scuffle. Most of the rest of the campers are a diverse, welcoming bunch. Characters get inventive in trying to keep two criminals away from the camp, but their deterrents are largely of the slapstick variety. Themes include communication, empathy, and gratitude. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
If only wholesome, good-natured, clean comedy was all it took to produce high-quality family entertainment. Camp Hideout is incredibly well-intentioned, and it certainly has less sexuality, violence, and language than the hilarious-but-mature camp movies and Home Alone comedies it was clearly inspired by. Director Sean Olson tries to deliver the fun of both without the iffy content. But the humor isn't that funny, the script doesn't make much sense in the real world, story beats are left unresolved, and most kids will recognize it as more than just paying homage to the Macaulay Culkin classic.
Where the movie really shines is in breezily delivering its faith-based elements in a way that's likely to be accepted by both faith and secular audiences. The filmmakers eschew sermons in favor of having the characters practice what would be preached. A troubled teen finds himself surrounded by peers and aspirational young adults who model positive behavior; it rubs off on him, and he starts acting the same way. A popular hymn includes the line, "They will know we are Christians by our love," and in this lighthearted comedy, the campers and their counselors show what that really means.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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