Review by Adam Donato
September is usually a mild month when it comes to theatrical releases, but due to the ongoing strikes, movies continue to get delayed. This leaves room for smaller movies like Camp Hideout to get a slice of the coveted box office pie. Ethan Drew stars as Noah, a hoodlum teen forced to go to summer camp to avoid juvie. Christopher Lloyd, no stranger to straight-to-DVD quality films, plays the creepy camp owner of this picture. The other notable name in the cast is former Disney Channel B-list star, Corbin Bleu. For those without a conversion chart at home, a Disney Channel B-list star is equivalent to a Hollywood D-list star (no, the D isn’t for Disney). Can Camp Hideout soak up some of the leftover summer rays at the box office this September?
Besides the cast comparison to Disney Channel original movies, Camp Hideout much more clearly aligns with a Nickelodeon family film. It’s beyond cheesy and seems unlikely that anybody above the age of 12 would enjoy this. The story is beyond basic as the edgy teen slowly warms up to the friendships created at camp. By the end of the movie, it turns into a cartoonish Home Alone ripoff. IMDb trivia calls Camp Hideout a mix between Home Alone and Ernest Goes to Camp with a sprinkle of faith. There’s a scene where they pray. Nothing this movie sets out to accomplish is achieved.
Drew is annoying and unlikable as our main protagonist. His character regularly looks at the camera to make a witty remark and it’s never funny. The movie is framed with a voice over from Drew that feels like it was stripped from an elementary school essay, but at least Bleu and Lloyd are professionals and handle their stereotypical characters well. They both bring some amount of warmth as they mentor Drew’s character through the movie. Meanwhile, Josh Inocalla and Joshua Childs essentially play the bad guys from Home Alone. It’s very annoying watching them pretend to be that stupid.
Why didn’t a movie about camp come out in June or July? Why is this not premiering on Nickelodeon on a Thursday night at 8/7 Central? What financial troubles is Christopher Lloyd enduring that makes him star in movies like this? None of these questions can be answered by a viewing of Camp Hideout. Don’t see this movie in theaters and don’t even leave it on in the background when it plays on cable. The summer of 2023 gave way to many family films worth checking out. Head for open waters.
Camp Hideout hits theaters on September 15.