By Brian Costello,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Mockumentary satirizes self-help cults; sex, language.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Movie is an attempted satire of both the self help industry and cults.
Positive Role Models
Lead character, with the help of his brother, sets out to prove how easy it is to start a fake self help group. The lead character, affecting a French Canadian accent, becomes a "guru," while his brother films what transpires as the lead character gains followers. This lead character begins to believe in his own lies, and begins to lead a full-blown cult. Racist term for an Asian person used.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Passionate kissing. Oral sex joke. Talk of extramarital affairs, teen sex. Talk of how lead character had an erection during a therapy session with his followers. Talk of pornographic magazines. A pool slide is decorated to look like a vagina. An adult film star talks about her vagina.
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During what is called "anger therapy" sessions, characters blurt out and yell a torrent of profanity. "Motherf--ker" often used, as well as "c--ksucker," "c---t," and "f--k." Also: "a--hole," "s--t," "pr--ks," "d--k," "bulls--t," "crap," "ass." Middle finger gesture. Character uses a racist phrase to describe how his wife had an affair with an Asian man.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Talk of drinking margaritas.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Reboot Camp is a 2020 satire that's a fake documentary of a man who starts a cult to prove how easy it is to con people into joining cults. The movie takes aim at the self help industry and how motivational gurus make millions of dollars by exploiting their followers, such as the wife of the lead character, who blew her life savings on self help books, seminars, and retreats. There's constant profanity, especially during the "anger therapy" sessions in which characters blurt and scream a steady torrent of strong profanity, including "motherf--ker," "c--t," and "f--k." Character makes a racist reference to how his wife had an affair with an Asian man. References to and jokes about sex. A swimming pool slide is decorated to look like a vagina.
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Based on 2 parent reviews
a cautionary tale
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stand on a sofa!
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What's the Story?
In REBBOT CAMP, Seymour Barr, with the help of his brother Danny, decides to start a self help cult. The reason he's doing this is because his now ex-wife blew through their life savings on self help books, seminars, and retreats, and he wants to prove how easy it is to con people into believing in "gurus" who tell them what they want to hear and act like they're helping them through questionable therapy techniques. Barr changes his name to "Gordon St. Pierre," affects a French Canadian accent, and wears flowing clothing, as his brother films what transpires. The "spiritual retreat" is the home of the documentary's producer, and soon, people from all walks of life begin to arrive, including celebrities (David Koechner, Ja Rule, Ed Begley, Jr.). Soon, the cult centered on St. Pierre's teachings takes on a life of its own, as Barr/St. Pierre begins to actually believe in his abilities to improve the lives of his followers. The producer sends an actress named Claire to help, and as she begins to find ways to take the money of the followers (something Seymour and Danny absolutely refused to do), Danny must find a way to get his brother back to reality and to stop this experiment before it becomes a full-blown cult.
Is It Any Good?
Considering the cast and the premise, there's a lingering feeling throughout that this comedy should be funnier than it actually is. Reboot Camp is a "mockumentary" with an ensemble cast in the tradition of, among others, Best In Show and A Mighty Wind, that takes a look at cults, particularly those centered around self help gurus who make millions off of their followers. The cast is a veritable potpourri of A, B, and Z-list celebrities from movies, music, and reality television, and we see them as they take in (or are skeptical of) the quasi-mystical platitudes of "Gordon St. Pierre," or scream a steady torrent of profanities during "anger therapy," or become "reborn" by going down a pool slide decorated to look like a vagina. While timely and relevant (if cynical), none of the jokes ever seem to land, so watching this is the experience of waiting to and wanting to laugh, but not getting that satisfaction.
The story itself is solid, the message behind the satire is worthy, and there's enough talent (if inconsistent) in the ensemble cast to be something great. So why isn't it? The scenes themselves gravitate to a lazy humor revolving around obvious jokes and profanity. Perhaps some of the performers were given too much room to improvise when they don't have the improv chops of, say, Christopher Guest and Michael McKean. Some of the broader points about cults and the lengths people will go to believe in them get beaten into the ground. It simply doesn't work, as much as you want it to. The result is a disappointing comedy that doesn't do nearly enough on the subjects it's supposed to be skewering.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the deeper messages of Reboot Camp. What comment is the movie making about the self help industry, cults, and the ways in which people of any background can become immersed in a cult?
How does the movie use satire to convey serious messages? Is it effective? Why or why not?
The movie is filmed as a fake documentary, or "mockumentary." What are some other examples of movies that are mockumentaries?
- On DVD or streaming: October 23, 2020
- Cast: David Lipper, Keli Price, David Koechner
- Director: Ivo Raza
- Studio: Freestyle Digital Media
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 91 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: February 22, 2023
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