Parents' Guide to

Wet Hot American Summer

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Hilarious but raunchy parody is filled with sex, profanity.

Movie R 2001 97 minutes
Wet Hot American Summer Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 16+

Spoofy satire that hits and misses

A meta film utilizing the tropes of the teen sex comedy. It works...sometimes, and sometimes not so much, but it is always fun and the actors are committed to their roles and their character arcs. The film is unpredictable even though it spoofs well-worn tropes. Known for its all-star cast, but everyone is doing their own heavy lifting to pull this film up off the ground. When it's good it's great and when not, is a bit lackluster.
age 16+

Absurdist comedy at its absurdiest

With the explosion of the Netflix miniseries going on this summer, I had to check out the film this show was based on before seeing if I'd want to give it a try. It turns out I thoroughly enjoyed the humor here; I wish I'd watched it sooner! "Role Models" is by the same director, and though it's one of the better comedies of the 2000s, it doesn't have the ludicrous edge this film does. David Wain and his troupe of actors are fearless here, and even if all of the plot threads don't come together neatly like a more sophisticated movie would, you'd be missing the point if you were expecting that. Wain is just interested in stuffing gags in, like "Airplane!" and silly running bits as much as he can in a little over an hour and a half. Barrels of hay in the middle of the street, Gene the Chef's deteriorating sanity and gay marriage all collide in this film, and if you dig the kind of zany humor where people say things that make no sense for no reason, you'll cherish this last day of summer.

This title has:

Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (2):
Kids say: Not yet rated

Although it's one of the funniest comedies of the last 20 years, WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER is best for older teens and adults due to the frequency of profanity, sexual references, and raunchy humor. This in no way diminishes the brilliance of this parody of early 1980s teenager coming-of-age movies, and, in fact, if this movie lacked profanity, sexual references, and raunchy humor, it wouldn't be much of a parody of those types of movies.

The awareness of the form is pitch-perfect, as is the fearlessness in turning the form on its ear -- such as when the camp has a marriage ceremony for two gay male characters and celebrates their love, instead of what would have transpired in the less tolerant movies of the early 1980s. Everyone from Paul Rudd to Christopher Meloni, Janeane Garofalo to Michael Showalter, and Michael Ian Black turns in incredibly hilarious performances. Wet Hot American Summer belongs in the rarest of comedy movies that you can watch literally dozens of times and always find something new to laugh at. Just watch it once the kids are in bed.

Movie Details

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