Review by Adam Donato
Stop-motion animation fans rejoice! Another feature-length entry is added to a subgenre seldom given its due credit. Unfortunately, this entry comes in the form of a sequel that nobody was asking for. The original Chicken Run is a childhood classic at this point, straight from a time when it wasn't abnormal for a G-rated movie to be in theaters. In what world does the sequel require parental guidance, but the original is a whole rating safer? With the movie premiering on Netflix, parents will likely throw this on and leave the room anyway. Are people nostalgic enough to stream a sequel to Chicken Run?
It's a cliche to call a sequel "The Empire Strikes Back of the franchise." Luckily for Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget, that won't be a problem. Characters keep using the word "again" in the movie. How original can a Chicken Run sequel be anyway? This time around, the chickens are trying to break into a chicken farm to save some chickens, instead of the chickens trying to break out of the chicken farm like in the original. The opening prologue recaps the original film as if audiences need catching up. One could watch this sequel without watching the original, but that's not necessarily a good thing. The animation is arguably a lateral move from the original film. Just watch the original instead. This sequel brings nothing new to the table whatsoever. Not even a new villain. We're doing the same thing again.
This sequel isn't an exact carbon copy, as the lead roles are recast. Despite Julia Sawalha and Mel Gibson still kicking, their roles were recast with Thandiwe Newton and Zachary Levi — recent Netflix favorites as Newton stars in the Big Mouth series, and Levi recently starred in a Spy Kids reboot. One could argue recasting Gibson was necessary due to his poor public perception, but to replace him with Levi is hilarious. Levi is a worse version of Chris Pratt these days. Both of these recastings are unremarkable. Rising star Bella Ramsey from The Last of Us series stars as the daughter of the main couple. Casting celebrities as voice actors is a marketing attempt that doesn't seem fruitful here as nobody is watching the Chicken Run movie because these stars are in it — it's totally uninspired casting.
Few Netflix films have stood the test of time. Even if they're good, they fade into the background of the streaming service unless they have clout like The Irishman. Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget is franchise nostalgia bait that will almost certainly fade into obscurity. The only way this sequel getting nominated for Best Animated Feature is a good thing is if it means Wish doesn't score a nomination. There are too many quality animated films this year to justify recommending people prioritize this one. I respect the animation style, but other than that, it's an uninspired whatever of a movie.
Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget hits theaters on December 8 and Netflix on December 15.
Review by Adam Donato
The uninitiated would be surprised to find out that Bad CGI Gator is not associated with 2019’s Bad CGI Sharks. At least that movie had a 90-minute runtime, despite most of the cast lacking pictures on their IMDb profile. Danny Draven directs Bad CGI Gator, which makes sense since his last feature was Weedjies: Halloweed Night. He’s been directing crappy movies since the early 2000s. With a title self-aware about its budget, will the joke be as funny as the movie thinks it is?
Six sexy college students vacation at a cabin in the middle of the woods. When one of the girls has aspirations of going viral, she convinces the gang to throw their laptops into the water as a form of protest. The group is split into couples for the most part: the meathead and the social media-obsessed; the douchebag guy with the airhead girl; The meathead’s shy younger sister; and then a third guy who is a dork and the other two couples hate. The audience is supposed to root for the two dorks and enjoy watching the other two obnoxious couples become fodder for a bad CGI gator. In this regard, the story does function, as the characters are over-the-top annoying. Luckily, the run time is just under an hour. Imagine if they inflated the run time to ninety minutes to make it feel more like a real movie. Enough time is spent with these characters as it is. It’s mildly funny to laugh at how cartoonishly ridiculous everyone is.
The bad CGI gator is the real audience grabber here. When the gator bites the laptops the group ignorantly threw in the water, it starts to electrocute him, and he grows a few sizes. Ironically, the CGI gets better when he grows bigger. Maybe it’s just because more detail can be seen when it enlarges and looks like it actually has a design. This is opposed to earlier in the movie, where it’s just this small, dark shape. Of course, the bit of the bad CGI gator is only a jumping-off point. The gator does many silly, impossible things throughout the film’s back half. The absurdity in the situation is where most of the humor is derived. It’s a pretty awful bit, as the bad special effects are far from the worst elements in the movie. Low budgets limit filmmakers, and this limitation is leaned into for a big joke.
Not to give this movie any technical credit, but it’s surprising how much effort went into shooting scenes in the water. There are several sequences where they do a perspective shot, like in Jaws, where the gator bobs through the swamp water on the prowl. There’s a person with the camera outside in the water. The shot is used to try to create a tension-filled scene without showing the gator that early into the movie. That being said, this movie doesn’t pretend to showcase a convincing-looking creature effect. It’s just nice that any amount of effort was made.
Bad CGI Gator is certainly the type of bad movie to watch with your friends. Make fun of the audacity and stupid characters. It’s trying to be a "so bad it’s good" experience, so have some drinks and have a good time. Expect to see this one on the SyFy channel at 4 am. For better or for worse, this movie knows exactly what it is.
Bad CGI Gator is now available on VOD.
Review by Adam Donato
About a decade after The Hunger Games franchise came to a close, audiences find themselves back in Panem for another installment in the franchise. As if splitting the finale into two parts didn’t stretch out this story enough. The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes is a prequel detailing the rise of one President Snow, complete with another Hunger Games and more backstory on their genesis. With Francis Lawrence coming back to the director’s chair and a cast of stars both old and new, it will be interesting to see the public reception of this prequel. Was the story of Katniss lightning in a bottle, or does this world have more to explore?
No franchise extension is complete without constant reminders of its association with something the audience already loves. The characters may as well wink to the camera every time they mention District 12. Hardcore fans may enjoy these cheer desperate moments, but they really hinder this story’s ability to stand on its own. This is a real shame because, for the most part, this story really does stand on its own. A young President Snow is a compelling lead to follow, especially when entangled with the fate of Lucy Gray. Their budding romance is essential to making the target demographic of this type of movie maintain interest, but it’s interesting to see them hold back on building up their forbidden romance. Audiences are more than familiar with the standard Romeo and Juliet setup, so putting their own spin on it here was a good choice.
Tom Blyth stars as Coriolanus Snow alongside Rachel Zegler as Lucy Gray. Blyth is relatively new, only previously starring in Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood movie. Zegler, on the other hand, is no stranger to the limelight as of late. Here she gets the opportunity to flex her singing skills, which initiated her start in Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story. She also sports a thick southern accent throughout the movie, which makes sense, as her district is in the area of the Carolinas. The two have solid chemistry together as they play mind games with each other throughout the movie.
The most inspired casting in the film is Jason Schwartzman as Lucky Flickerman, an ancestor of Stanley Tucci’s standout character from the original series. He adds much needed comic relief and does a great job driving home the satire of the situation. Viola Davis is unhinged, and it’s a shame she didn’t get more screen time. Same can be said for Peter Dinklage. The veteran talent in the cast is responsible for holding down the fort here. The story takes an interesting departure, leaving us devoid of these three cast members, and the film grinds to a halt when that happens.
The main theme of the movie is muddy and feels like it comes out of nowhere. It’s hard to connect the dots between the character we saw during this film and the villain we get in the original series. Granted, there’s a big time difference between films, but from the journey presented here, it’s hard to justify Snow continually backing up the games. The ending is quite unsatisfying and leaves too many unanswered questions — not as much in an interpret for yourself way, and much more of the movie has to end at some point. Sporting a run time of over two and a half hours, getting through the movie is somewhat of a trek. Unfortunately, it’s easier to see something like this being historically compared to something obligatory like The Hobbit, rather than a passion project like Prometheus.
Despite the qualms with The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, it’s a solid viewing experience for anyone already invested in The Hunger Games franchise. Studios can’t have their cake and eat it too. Enticing audiences with a continuation of the franchise, but alienating new viewers and facing comparison to the standard set in the original movies. That being said, it’s much more on par with the lot of The Hunger Games movies, except for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which is The Empire Strikes Back of the franchise, if there is one. Fans should catch this one in theaters, despite the onslaught of holiday releases this season.
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes hits theaters on November 17.
Review by Adam Donato
Blumhouse is a pillar of modern blockbuster horror movies — especially when it comes to their franchises. Five Nights at Freddy’s has been floating around for years before it finally got its opportunity. It’s an interesting horror demographic, as it appears targeted at older kids. YouTube certainly helped popularize the franchise and has its DNA all over this new movie. Starring Josh Hutcherson and Matthew Lillard, this video game adaptation is looking to appeal to existing fans, while also remaining hip to casual horror fans. With a fairly unknown director in Emma Tammi, does Jason Blum have his next hit horror franchise in Five Nights at Freddy’s?
The press screening was packed to the brim with fans of the game. People were wearing merchandise, and it was surprising to see how many children were present. Without spoiling anything, there were several moments in the movie that had the audience erupt with joy. From an outsider's perspective, it was very hard to see the appeal. The movie is dogwater. The story totally misunderstands what seems to be the appeal of the franchise. What should be a cheesy horror romp is filled with child displacement and never-ending trauma. It’s encouraging that the story attempts to have characters with emotional depth, but we’re talking about the evil Chuck E. Cheese parody. With a runtime of 110 minutes, there’s plenty here that could’ve been cut. It’s a shame, too, because two years ago there was a very similar movie in Willy’s Wonderland. That movie understood the B-movie assignment and accomplished so much more than Five Nights at Freddy’s -- and in just under 90 minutes.
What’s most disappointing about this movie turning out to be a dud is that the effects were quite good. The Jim Henson company worked on the animatronics for this film, and it’s easily the crowning achievement of this feature. This aspect feels like the hardest part about realizing this concept, so for that goal to be accomplished and for the surrounding elements to be so poor, it feels like a wasted opportunity. Still, the practical effects are a feather in its cap.
The characters were obvious and weird. Josh Hutcherson is unlikable as this down bad security guard who just wants to take care of his daughter. This role is not a welcomed return for the once-frequent child star, as he just has not developed into a compelling lead. Matthew Lillard is a welcomed return, though, but his character is given such little screen time. Elizabeth Lail, star of Countdown, is the most out of place character here. She acts as the love interest and voice of reason, but her inclusion is so awkward and forced. There’s also a weird subplot where the aunt is trying to steal custody of Hutcherson’s little sister. Cut it. Cut it all.
Hardcore fans of the franchise may be satisfied with just seeing their favorite characters represented so well on the big screen, but everything with humans is a snooze fest. It was a baffling direction to take this movie in with all the lost child drama. A horror concept that is so inherently childish should be more fun/scary and less depressing. Hopefully, the day and date release on Peacock will stymie the box office enough to prevent a continuation of this garbage. Rest in pieces.
Five Nights at Freddy's hits theaters and Peacock on October 30.
Review by Adam Donato
NYAD tells the true story of a sixty-year-old woman determined to accomplish her lifelong dream of swimming from Cuba to Florida. Such meaty subject material was able to catch the attention of A-listers like Jodie Foster, Annette Bening, and Rhys Ifans. This story of man versus the elements is tackled by the directing duo behind Free Solo, Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi. As awards season inches closer, NYAD will certainly try to push their female leads into the conversation. Netflix has done a great job being a part of the dance the last few years, and they just might have another hitter in their lineup with this one.
Watching a Netflix movie in theaters is quite the treat — especially when it’s a movie that’s actually trying to be anything more than just content. NYAD is a story about relentlessness in the face of an insurmountable obstacle. For modern audiences, it's even a struggle to sit through an entire movie with all the distractions in the home and the power of the pause button.
Netflix releasing a crowd-pleaser that will almost never be seen with a crowd is counterintuitive to the point of the movie, like if Apple TV+ made a movie about sweatshops. Nevertheless, NYAD is effective as a powerful story about a woman refusing to quit. It’s sure to make anyone who watches it feel strong enough to accomplish their goals. It will be even more powerful for women, the elderly, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community. The message succeeds in rousing inspiration in its audience.
Bening and Foster are fantastic. They play long time friends (not lovers) who stick together in the face of adversity. Foster’s character coaches Bening’s character, and like a lot of sports movies, this relationship is the crux of the film. With great chemistry between the two of them, one would think they had been friends forever.
The end of the movie shows clips of what actually happened, and it’s amazing how close the cast looks to the subjects in real life, not to mention the makeup used on Bening’s character — especially after scenes where she had been swimming for days at a time. Seeing the negative effects on her physically is heart-wrenching, which makes it that much more inspiring that she powers through.
Ifans’s character plays the voice of reason on this team as he navigates them through these waters. It’s interesting to see what obstacles get in their way because it’s not as simple as swimming and not stopping. The team deals with extreme currents, weather, and wildlife. Seeing how the team adapts to these problems is what makes the multiple attempts hold focus.
Awards voters are suckers for real life stories that lift people up. How close does the actress look to the real thing? Does the story follow what actually happened? NYAD does an excellent job capturing not only the subjects of the story, but also the message of their accomplishment. Be sure to check this one out on Netflix if you want to feel invincible.
NYAD hits theaters on October 20 and streams on Netflix beginning November 3.
Review by Adam Donato
The announcement that Big Mouth will be ending after season 8 was a big bombshell for fans of the series. It may not be a bad thing, though, as the show has maintained its quality, but is due for a finale. Middle school is nearing an end for our favorite preteens. The penultimate season now has the end on the horizon, which allows the story to build up to a great final season. With a special guest star this season, how good of a set up is this season of Big Mouth?
Megan Thee Stallion makes her debut on Big Mouth as the hormone monstress for Nick’s new crush. Her musical number is easily the best of the season, and arguably one of the best in the entire show. She doesn’t get too much time to shine, as she’s only involved with Nick’s flirtation with going to a different high school. Meanwhile, Andrew is facing his own grossness, and Jessie has to choose what crowd she fits into. These are interesting directions for these characters to go, as Andrew needs a redemption arc after all his sexual atrocities, and Jessie needs to branch out from the main cast.
A character who is given the spotlight more in this season than any prior is Caleb. What previously was a character reserved for deadpan zingers is given a whole storyline, friendship, and sexual identity. His discovered friendship with Matthew feels earned, and seeing a side character’s relationship with a hormone monster after so long is rewarding. Missy and Jay’s storylines are probably the weakest of the season, as their relationships feel played out and lacking any real intrigue. Characters from the spin-off show Human Resources are integrated seamlessly. Everyone is pretty primed to have a good final act as the gang transitions to a new stage of life.
The season also includes a special episode, as other seasons do. The hormone monsters tell stories of what horny teens are doing around the world. It's mostly the same stuff, but it’s cool to see other countries represented like this. As a surprisingly progressive show as Big Mouth is, it was an interesting departure from the main storyline.
Overall, season 7 of Big Mouth yet another solid season of streaming’s horniest show. The direction of the show feels strong, as they’re giving themselves a runway to go out with a bang in season 8. A celebrity guest star helped amp up the musical aspect of the season. Previously sidelined characters are given the spotlight. The humor is just as gut busting and edgy as ever. Appreciate the show while it lasts, as streaming shows usually are not given the amount of respect that Big Mouth is receiving, as sudden cancellations and improper endings run rampant in this media landscape.
Big Mouth streams on Netflix beginning October 20. All ten episodes reviewed.
Review by Adam Donato
A trend with horror lately has been comedians tackling the genre. David Gordon Green is one of the most notable examples of this with his take on the Halloween franchise. Universal and Blumhouse reward him with a second horror trilogy based on an iconic horror movie with terrible sequels. The first Halloween requel was a hit, but the sequels fared worse both critically and at the box office. Will David Gordon Green learn from that experience with The Exorcist trilogy? The bar seems lower this time, as The Exorcist sequels aren’t as popular as the Halloween sequels. Not to mention, it’s been almost twenty years since the latest movie in the franchise. Should you believe in The Exorcist: Believer?
For the most part, this requel really works. The weakest elements of the movie are when they reference the original. Ellen Burstyn is GOATed, but unnecessary in this movie. With a run time of a minute over two hours, cutting her would probably knock off fifteen minutes. The original had a similar run time, but this over-reliance on flexing the brand is the biggest weight on this story. This is not detrimental, as the main story is very compelling and is carried by Leslie Odom Jr. It’s full of moral conundrums and tragic fates. Like the Halloween franchise, it’s nice to see a director try to have some themes in their blockbuster horror movie.
David Gordon Green feels like he’s matured with The Exorcist: Believer. It’s arguably just as funny as any of the Halloween movies, but it’s much more reserved here. The themes are already far more concise with the first Exorcist movie. It’s a movie about faith — a man who has lost his faith and a family that misuses theirs. The original aspects of this movie are where it truly shines, so Gordon Green deserves massive credit. That being said, the necessary trappings of an Exorcist film are fully delivered.
In fact, they're doubled. That’s right, two girls need to be exorcised this time. Both are creepy as all hell, with terrifying performances from Olivia O’Neill and Lidya Jewett. Ann Dowd does a lot with significant screen time here, specifically the monologue she gets. Jennifer Nettles is put through the emotional wringer as much as anyone. While the rest of the cast was good, Leslie Odom Jr. Is such a compelling lead and likable character overall. DGG’s Halloween movies always had a main character problem, but it’s clear that won’t be a problem here. He had a character arc and everything. If there is going to be an Exorcist legacy sequel, the franchise is in good hands going forward.
It’s nice when a horror film is able to accomplish hitting the emotional beats as well as the horror beats. The Exorcist: Believer will have two sequels, unless it totally bombs. Saw X received positive reviews last week, It Lives Inside is a box office dud, and The Nun II is too far removed. Other than that, it won’t have to compete in the horror department until Five Nights at Freddy’s at the end of the month. It's a quality horror film all around, so be sure to check The Exorcist: Believer out in theaters.
The Exorcist: Believer hits theaters on October 6.
Review by Adam Donato
At the beginning of 2023, parents complained about limited options for children’s films at the theater. After a summer of stellar animated movies, the fall delivers PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie. In this sequel to the first film, Chase and his friends receive superpowers from an errant meteor and must stop a mad scientist from trying to destroy the city. Nickelodeon is coming off a win with the recent reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and hopefully that streak can continue here.
The biggest takeaway from this entry into the franchise is that Chase is no longer the center of attention, as he was in the first movie. Instead, the sequel turns its attention to Skye’s character. She’s insecure about her size, as she feels like the runt of the litter. Her character is even given a Jessie from Toy Story 2 type sequence, where we get to see her origin story. Significant screen time is also given to Liberty’s character, as she is the only member of the PAW Patrol to not receive superpowers, and is left with the responsibility of watching after the new kitty recruits. As the female comic relief of the movie, this provides ample opportunity for cute humor so that Rubble isn’t having all the fun. Rounding out the major players in this sequel is Victoria Vance, the antagonist to the PAW Patrol. The name is a good indicator of the comic book inspiration for the character. Fans of the first movie get to see her team up with Mayor Humdinger, another superhero movie trope. Nobody expects PAW Patrol to reinvent the genre, so don’t expect kids to call out the movie for its derivative tropes the way adults did fellow superhero film, Blue Beetle.
Kids are sure to enjoy PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie for a myriad of reasons. All the characters are given time to shine, and supporting characters are able to take center stage. The amount of little girls lining up at the press screening to take a picture with the Skye poster was staggering. This is a solid achievement, as one might assume PAW Patrol leans more towards little boys. The action is fun and light, without being too dangerous. While the majority of the jokes are aimed at the kiddos, there are a few jokes for the parents that really work. Visually, the characters are cute and full of color. While the bar is obnoxiously low, PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie delivers everything it needs for a fun family outing.
In a day and age when children’s content is being inspected under a microscope, it’s interesting not to hear PAW Patrol catch criticism. If two women kissing in the background of a Pixar movie is a federal case, then PAW Patrol is not innocent. The police, as well as other government workers, are the real superheroes. A prominent building in the middle of the city is crashed into, laying devastation to the citizens below. The villain is a quirky woman of color with dyed hair, whose ship emanates the colors of the trans flag as it flies by. She teams up with a foolish old man who speaks lovingly about stolen elections. Is PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie right-wing propaganda aimed to corrupt America’s youth with conservative ideology? Of course not. Even the most innocent of children’s content can be twisted, perverted, and weaponized in today’s political landscape. Not everything needs to be a conspiracy theory.
But again, the target audience of this movie is primarily in pre-school, and they probably won't understand — much less care about — these undercurrents. Unless you have kids or just enjoy wholesome animation, more adult options like Saw X and The Creator are also opening this weekend. That being said, PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie is a wonderful family outing that kids are sure to eat up every last bite of. Expect this one to hit Paramount+ just in time for the Christmas season. The subject matter is ripe for toys and other children’s merchandise. Dark and gritty, be damned! This sequel is a ray of cuteness and delight. Be sure to take the kiddies out to see this one!
PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie hits theaters on September 29.
Review by Adam Donato
Spooky season is upon us as audiences have already been put in a scary mood with the release of The Nun II. However, it's nice to see an original horror feature coming to the big screen in It Lives Inside, which follows a teenager named Samidha, shirking her values in pursuit of high school popularity. In a landscape dominated by franchise entires that are past their prime — like Expend4bles, Saw X, and The Exorcist: Believer — NEON is letting first-time filmmaker Bishal Dutta play the role of the underdog with his effective chiller of a debut.
While critics seem to be enjoying It Lives Inside, the audience scores for the film are middling at best from early screenings at festivals and as the Regal Mystery Movie earlier this month. Some early feedback on the film suggests that the movie is too basic and not ambitious enough. This review argues the simplicity of the story is one of the movie's strengths. At just under a hundred minutes, It Lives Inside does follow a similar structure to other horror movies, but where it excels is how cohesive and effective the individual elements are. Samidha rejects her childhood friend, pushes away her parents, and ignores her heritage. While her character is understandably going through a phase, all these issues fit together and emphasize her arc. As much as this movie tries to masquerade as a generic horror movie, it is fundamentally a poignant tale of a girl reconnecting with her morals.
Megan Suri stars as Samidha and gives a solid lead performance. Her character is so internally torn apart, allowing you to feel for her every step of the way. Dedicated fans to the horror genre will be happy to see Betty Gabriel, famous for her supporting role in Get Out. Her character is a teacher who is a mentor to young Samidha and has concern for Samidha’s former childhood friend, Tamira. Other notable members of the cast include Neeru Bajwa and Vik Sahay, who play the concerned and confused parents of Samidha. However, there's not much room to shine for the cast, as the real star of the show here is the direction.
The best part of the direction here is the atmosphere of the film. The scary scenes are effective, but there’s this underlying sense of paranoia and dread that persists throughout this film. Notable scares in the film include a monster’s eyes illuminating from a closet, a swing set massacre, and a high-tension climax. Dutta holds back on showing the monster in the film, and as such, the buildup to the climax is well earned. The ending works so well because the effort was put into having a main character audiences will care about and a proper escalation of scary scenes. It Lives Inside feels much closer to something like Talk To Me than The Nun II. Once again, more independent horror rises above the lazy franchise continuations.
Unless you are a sixty year old man wanting to see Expend4bles or a scaredy cat, It Lives Inside is certainly the movie of the weekend for you. Proper character development and solid direction from Dutta make for one of the better horror movies of the year thus far. Be sure to check this one in theaters, as it’s one of the few horror movies that actually puts the work in.
It Lives Inside hits theaters on September 22.
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.