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TLO Film Review: Family Camp (2022)

5:18 AM EDT on October 7, 2022

For the most part, Jesus Christ and his pals have a great message on how to have a redeeming spiritual life. But, as it happens, that message has been duly interpreted by fornicators, adulterers, and local low-level right-wing podcasters, drowning out the holy pablum.

And that brings me to Oklahoma City’s the Skit Guys—Rev. Tommy Woodard and Eddie James—and their movie Family Camp.

I haven’t heard of them and, to be fair, most of their material. That being said, the words “Christian’ and “comedy” are usually enough to me make wince, but the movie, as a whole, is putting me in the “atheist” category. Almost.

In the first few minutes of the film, we meet workaholic dad Tommy (Woodard) late for church because he was making “business” because he is a “businessman” trying to get a new “client” and so. The pastor then tells the congregation that a family camp is starting this week. The mother decides that she, Tommy, and their terrible kids are going to go, with no real backstory or even an idea, only a schlocky premise and that’s all.

The plot then kicks into high gear as Tommy and his family learn that the wholesome Sanders family – led by father Eddie – will be their soiled bunkmates at Camp Burning Bush – a name I made up.

Every camp contrivance is then winsomely exploited, with all-weather classics given screen time like living in cramped corners, family team sports, and other sources of “comedy,” like meeting redneck sasquatch hunters. The movie even sneaks in a well-deserved sermon as the credits are done.

From The Great Outdoors to Deliverance, movies in this genre can usually take their paddling, and this is the near-nadir of the camping movie – every beat is telegraphed by the broad characters played by Woodard and James, with genuine laughs and enjoyable moments being few and far between. Even if I thought that the movie’s treatise of Christian theology was relatable and on-point, it's still just not a very good movie.

Amen.

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Follow Louis on Twitter at @LouisFowler and Instagram at @louisfowler78.

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