(out of 5)

The hilarious adventures of teenagers at a musical camp are the subject of this enjoyable film, one which will have limited appeal only to those who like musicals. The kids are an assortment of unhappy misfits who have found the one place in the world where they really fit in. Gay teen Michael has his heart set afire when the adorable (but straight) Vlad shows up and impresses everyone with his guitar playing. Ellen dates Vlad but can’t seem to keep his attention focused on her. There’s also an overweight girl whose parents have wired her teeth shut, a snotty villainess who is about to get her comeuppance from the girl she enslaves into servitude (played by a hilarious in her debut), and the whole lot of them have to band together in the end to save the career of a flailing musical songwriter who has given up on himself. It feels a lot longer than it actually is, and this couldn’t possibly be a good thing, but the musical numbers are fantastic (and the youngsters have such great voices), with standards from shows like Dreamgirls and Company sounding terrific. On top of the older music there’s also a few newer songs (with contributions by Fame‘s Michael Gore) that sound just snazzy. The personalities will win you over, but Todd Graff’s rambling screenplay will leave you a bit wiped.

IFC Productions, Jersey Films, John Wells Productions, Killer Films, Laughlin Park Pictures

USA, 2003

Directed by

Screenplay by Todd Graff

Cinematography by

Produced by , , , , ,

Music by

Production Design by 

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

Independent Spirit Awards 2003.

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