I am a self-proclaimed theater kid. While I never went to theater camp, I have performed in multiple community theater productions, formed my weird friendship cliques, and made some lifelong best friends. So, if there’s a theater kid movie being released I will be seeing it. One of my all-time favorites is Camp. If you’ve never seen it, fix that ASAP.

Now, let’s talk about Theater Camp. The premise is fantastic. I love the idea of a mockumentary that barely exaggerates what it’s like working in the world of theater. Every archetype I’ve encountered is represented in this film. The world-building is great. I love the way the film sets up the world. We know who everyone is and who they are going to be without questions.

That said, everything falls tremendously flat until the very end. 


Theater Camp is the mockumentary from besties Ben Platt (Dear Evan Hanson) and Molly Gordon (The Bear). This is Gordon’s directorial debut, and she also helped to write the script. The story revolves around a run-down theater camp whose director is in a coma. So, her daft son, Troy (Jimmy Tatro) is taking over. However, he knows nothing about theater, let alone the camp. 

So, the counselors played by Platt, Gordon, Nathan Lee Graham (Katy Keene), Owen Thiele (Dollface), and Ayo Edebiri (The Bear) have to figure out how to keep this place running on their own. On top of all this, there is a competitive company that is trying to buy the theater for years. Will their shark of a representative (Patti Harrison) be able to steal it away during a crisis or will the love of theater prevail? 

I wouldn’t know because that’s not actually the premise of the film.


This image released by Searchlight Pictures shows a scene from “Theater Camp.” (Searchlight Pictures via AP)

Everyone’s performance in Theater Camp is fantastic. From the children at the camp to the idiot son, the best friend drama between Platt and Gordon, as well as the stress from the other teachers. Including Edebiri pretending to know what she’s doing for a job.

The ending is the stand-out. The camp puts on a show in honor of the fallen leader. Gordon and Platt write a magical musical about her life and the kids put on a show. Well, the kids and Noah Galvin as Glenn who is truly the standout star of the film. Every scene Galvin is in he steals. His comedy, wit, and performing talent are exquisite. 

That said, a fantastic ending doesn’t save the rest of this mediocre film. The story of Theater Camp isn’t really about Troy learning anything about theater, the children, or even himself. Instead, the story unfolds around the friendship of Platt and Gordon while they are trying to write the show wild hiding secrets from each other. This is not what I was expecting at all or what I want in a film about a kid’s theater camp. 

I want to see multiple characters learn and grow. I want to see Troy find value in the camp and himself. We get a little bit of growth from one or two children, but unlike other films of this type, that storyline barely exists. Personally, I didn’t care enough about the two main teachers to be invested in their drama. I want more about the Theater Camp and the wild shenanigans they get into.

In the end, Theater Camp did not make my inner theater nerd sing. So, it’s a pass for me. Go watch Camp instead.