Camp Takota (2014) Review {by R.T Ewell}

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A little known fact about me is that I love movies about camp. Yes, that time-old tradition of sending your children away to a bunch of strangers over an entire summer where they are forced to do things outside. I was lucky enough to have had the opportunity when I was little to attend an overnight camp for a few weeks. It was an awesome experience that probably contributes to my love of camp movies. Whether it’s Ernest Goes to Camp, Meatballs, or the lesser known Camp Nowhere, I enjoy the atmosphere that those movies provide.

I’d never heard about the movie called Camp Takota but, just from the title alone, I knew it was one that I wanted to see. The thing is, camp movies usually have the exact same storylines. It almost always involves the camp being bought out by someone who wants to change it into something that it’s not. There is also the story line where one camp is competing with the other in an Olympic-style set of games.

Camp Takota chose the storyline that has it being bought out by someone that wants to take the camp into the digital age where campers can tweet ‘til there little hearts content. What this movie does differently than other camp movies is focus on the counselors rather than the campers, which is a nice change of pace from your average movie about the summertime getaway. Our story focuses on Elise Miller who is at a bit of a crossroads after a couple of unfortunate incidents that happened in her personal life. After much hesitation and a few drunken phone calls, the city-girl finds herself as a counselor at a camp that she went to when she was younger. When she arrives at the camp she finds two of her friends working there that she had lost contact with.

There is good and bad throughout this movie but not enough bad to make it an unenjoyable experience. The three main characters that are the main focus are Elise Miller (Grace Helbig), Maxine Reynolds (Mamrie Hart), and Allison Henry (Hannah Hart). I was unaware of any of the actresses except for one. Hannah Hart.

I have been a big fan of Hannah Hart for a few years now. Some of you may not know who she is but if you ever browse YouTube channels then she probably looks familiar to you. Hannah Hart is the host of her own YouTube show, My Drunk Kitchen, which by the title itself gives insight into the premise. Whether it’s a grilled cheese sandwich or mac and cheese, Hannah Hart instructs you how to cook while she gets drunk, over a well edited video. I really enjoyed her performance in this movie in which she ingeniously plays the role of the camp cook and I hope that she has more movie roles in her future.

Grace Helbig also does a good job at showing her character and having it grow throughout the movie as someone that the audience can relate to. And of course we have a romance thrown in there for good measure, which she has with Eli Morton who is played by Chris Riedell. There isn’t much depth to his character at first but the two had very good chemistry on-screen. Finally, the third character we follow is Maxine Reynolds played by Mamrie Hart who is the assistant to the director of the camp. She also does a fine job and overall the three main characters make the audience believe that they were indeed close friends.

I do feel the movie tries to do too much. The story line where the camp is being bought out was really unnecessary and took away from the heart of what the movie should have been about, in which each of the three main characters are on their own journey to find themselves at this point in their lives. Despite too many storylines cluttering things up, I still think this is one that people should watch because it provides a few laughs and some good characters, even if they are somewhat stereotypical.

It’s now a perfect movie but it is a perfectly fun one to watch.

-R.T.

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