Editors' pick

Camp

Camp movie poster
MPAA rating: PG-13
Genre: Independent
Weekend's Desson Howe says of writer-director Todd Graff: "Clearly he has written this from the heart, and that warmth gets to us." Style's Ann Hornaday says this indie is "just as awkward, earnest, ambitious and occasionally winning as its characters."
Starring: Don Dixon, Joanna Chilcoat, Vince Rimoldi, Robin De Jesus, Anna Kendrick
Director: Todd Graff
Running time: 01:55
Release: Opened Feb 22, 2013
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Editorial Review

Vlad (Daniel Letterle), the central character, is a fresh-faced kid who walks into Camp Ovation with post-Jimmy Dean swagger. He's good-looking and has a cool air. He's also talented, likes to practice acting routines in front of the mirror, plays a mean acoustic guitar and has a nice voice. And he's sweet-natured. Is he straight or gay? In a camp where virtually every male is gay and makes jokes about queens or Stella Dallas, that's a significant question. The teenage girls and boys, alike, watch with vested anticipation.

Uber-bitchy blonde Jill (Alana Allen) lays the matter to rest, or thinks she does, by inviting Vlad into her humble room and seducing him. But Vlad seems to be available to almost everyone. Ellen (Joanna Chilcoat), a pretty if slightly chubby music snob, falls prey to his charms. And Vlad's extremely gay roommate, Michael (Robin De Jesus), is deeply intrigued by the newcomer's surprisingly friendly overtures.

What is Vlad's deal? That's the main strand of the television-style plot. We also wonder about the jaded Bert Hanley (Don Dixon), a visiting director and has-been who spends the first 24 hours of his arrival drinking in front of the camp's main office. And then there's the vicious psychodrama between nasty Jill and her curly-haired roommate, Fritzi (Anna Kendrick), who starts off as Jill's devoted doormat, only to turn into a psychotic back-stabber who seems to have watched "All About Eve" and "Heathers" too many times.

-- Desson Howe, Weekend