A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this film shows boys bullying others both physically and verbally, a girl is harassed by her mother for being overweight, kids lie to their parents, and there are many scenes of sexually suggestive behavior. The film does tackle important topics that are relatable to burgeoning adolescents about physical changes in the body and relationships with parents and peers.
What's the story?
Morris "Mud" Himmel is a bright kid in junior high who has befriended the school bully, a wealthy female classmate, and a brainy girl who is constantly reminded that she's overweight. All of their parents want them to go to summer sleep-away camps that will "improve" them in one way or another. Mud figures out a way to raise money and rent an unused hippie commune with the help of an ex-drama coach played by Christopher Lloyd. They trick the parents into thinking they've gone to their parent-chosen camp when really they spend eight weeks on their own with no rules, adults, or structure. Word gets out about this plan and others kids join into the mayhem. It turns into party central.
Is it any good?
CAMP NOWHERE touches on relatable topics for junior high-aged kids about their changing physical selves, becoming attracted to others, and having frustration with parents and authority. Unfortunately it plays out by these kids lying to the parents and all the social pressures felt at school continuing through the hierarchy of power amongst the kids. The climatic scene is not when the parents discover the lies of their young teens but when Mud comes forward and admits it was his idea. Here is a lesson that kids can take from this movie: the importance of standing up and taking responsibility for one's own actions.
Christopher Lloyd fans will enjoy him at his best in the scene where he takes on different personas to tempt parents into sending their kids to this camp. With offensive name calling and sexual undertones, it's a film that is poorly executed about kids wanting independence and to have fun and progress through the oh-so-memorable challenges of the middle childhood years.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what these kids really wanted all along; that is, to have some downtime over the summer and how to avoid the dangers of being "over scheduled" in today's busy world. Why is that important?
Ask kids how they'd design a camp that's equally fun and has some independence from adults but is also safe for all.
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