A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The only message kids are likely to take away is that going to church camp as a family could be fun. But messages directed at parents, specifically dads, are about not just living your life next to your family but engaging with, listening to, and being present for them. Faith-based messages throughout, including that the patriarch's role is to lead his family in Christ.
Positive Role Models
Two dads are set up as contrasts: One is preoccupied with work, the other is comically super involved with every element of his family. Both grow from knowing each other. Women are conscientious mothers. Church leaders and camp directors offer positive guidance.
Racial diversity among supporting characters, including a mixed-race family, Black church pastors and congregation members, a Latino church camp director, and a successful Indian businessman. But female characters are seen in stereotypical roles and speak only about their spouses and kids. The teen daughter's storyline is about her interest in a boy.
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Violence & Scariness
Fathers who are angry with each other fight and kick, albeit comically. Villains threaten injury or death with a crossbow and by preventing hikers from getting to safety. A child is alone in the woods and hears scary noises, including wild animals.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Focus on marital problems. Subplot involves teen romance. Discussion about kissing. Boy calls a girl "a tease."
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Insulting words "dummy" and "idiot."
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Products & Purchases
Brands shown or mentioned, often for comedy, include Chick-fil-A, Fun Dip, Ace Hardware, Dodge Grand Caravan.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Family Camp is a faith-based family comedy starring YouTube's The Skit Guys, aka Tommy Woodard and Eddie James. While iffy content is mild, the story and messages are really directed at parents, so much so that kids may lose interest. Two dads let their frustration boil into fighting (pushing and shoving), and a person is threatened with a crossbow. A child who's alone in the woods hears scary noises, including wild animals. Iffy language is limited to insults like "dummy" and "idiot"; characters also talk about kissing, and a boy calls a girl "a tease." There's racial diversity among supporting characters, but female characters are depicted stereotypically, only speaking about men, children, and marriage problems. While the story's focus is heavily on grown-up stuff, the activities at Camp Katokwah may get kids excited to go to church camp -- and for many families of faith, that will be a win. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The Skit Guys have answered faith-based movie lovers' prayers: This is easily the best Christian comedy made to date. With excellent production values, solid direction, and fantastic comedy chops from the cast, Family Camp is a winner. Its laugh-out-loud humor may help it cross into the mainstream, as could the way it depicts the Ackermans, who positively represent many families of faith in "the secular community": They go to church and believe in God, but they don't talk about it all the time. Writer-director Brian Cates smartly contrasts the Ackermans with their bunkmates, the smugly pious Sanders family. This allows Christian families to laugh knowingly at two extremes they may recognize.
Woodard and James' dynamic is reminiscent of Steve Martin and John Candy in Planes, Trains and Automobiles, right down to the "I Like Me" speech. Their energy is also reminiscent of Martin and Eugene Levy -- and the more you realize that, the more it becomes obvious that Family Camp is very similar to Cheaper by the Dozen 2. The plots are almost identical. And the movie's super-fake (but fun!) beaver is most definitely a nod to the Caddyshack gopher. Even the characters' marital issues are generically unoriginal: Tommy Ackerman (Tommy Woodard) spends too much time at work, and his wife, Grace (Leigh-Allyn Baker), rides him for it. The bigger problem, though, is that when the dads get lost in the woods, the film as a whole gets lost with them. Better plan some second-act s'mores or you might lose the kids' interest. Bottom line? Family Camp isn't perfect, but its issues are forgivable, and it's lots of fun.
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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