The filmmakers’ affection for the fabric, this setting, and one another is obvious; they’re all shut buddies who’ve grown up and labored collectively for years. That footage originally of the film of cute youngsters acting on stage? That’s Gordon and Platt, lengthy earlier than TV’s “The Bear” and the musical “Pricey Evan Hansen” would make them well-known, respectively. Galvin additionally starred in “Pricey Evan Hansen” on Broadway and is engaged to Platt. Gordon and Galvin each had key supporting roles in Olivia Wilde’s “Booksmart.” Lieberman, the one one of many 4 who doesn’t additionally seem on display screen, has been buddies with Platt since highschool and directed a number of of his music movies. It’s clear how a lot they love this world of hammy, misfit youngsters who thrive inside their tribe on this bucolic location, hours outdoors New York as a result of they lived it themselves. However the execution doesn’t at all times match the facility of their feelings.
“Theater Camp” begins promisingly with Platt and Gordon co-starring as Amos and Rebecca-Diane, former campers with goals of stardom who now return yearly as counselors. AdirondACTS (a humorous concept in itself) is a ramshackle cluster of cabins that’s seen higher days however nonetheless bursts with youthful glee every summer season. This yr, although, appearing coach Amos and music trainer Rebecca-Diane should run the entire operation, as founder Joan (Amy Sedaris in a frustratingly transient look) has suffered a “Bye Bye Birdie”-related seizure and is in a coma. Joan’s wannabe finance bro son, Troy (Jimmy Tatro), reveals up and tries to impose his will, however the precocious theater youngsters instantly see by way of his inauthenticity and reject him.
The present should go on, although, which is extraordinarily amusing for some time however grows inconsistently so. A number of the youngsters are insanely proficient—significantly Bailee Bonick, Luke Islam, and Alexander Bello—and it will have been good to get to know them a bit past watching them belt out a present tune or emote with a depth past their years. They’re truly far more fascinating than the grownup characters, apart from Galvin’s Glenn, the beleaguered technical whiz with a secret. A bit involving younger “Minari” star Alan Kim as a would-be agent who wears fits and makes telephone calls all day is emblematic of each the humor and shortcomings of “Theater Camp.” It’s intriguingly particular but additionally woefully underdeveloped. That is additionally true of the presence of Ayo Edebiri, who’s so glorious alongside Gordon on “The Bear”: Her character is right here underneath doubtful circumstances that the film doesn’t discover practically sufficient.