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Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Retro Review: Camp Cucamonga (1990)

Camp Cucamonga 
Cast: John Ratzenberger, Brian Robbins, Jennifer Aniston, Chad Allen, Jaleel White, Johnny Galecki, Sherman Hemsley
Genre: Made for TV Movie

Plot: Standard camp shenanigans and romance amongst the counsellors and campers at a lakefront summer camp

'Club Paradise For Kids'

Camp Cucamonga can be ideally described by me as in this film is to Jennifer Aniston, just as Club Paradise is to Robin Williams: films set in the great outdoors, they have that low-key TV movie feel going for it and appear to be very light and whimsical. 

This film came around at a time during the beginning of the 1990s where U.S TV networks took stars and actors, particularly from sitcoms and put them in an under 90-minute movie. Plot-wise, it sees a bunch of teens going through emotions, experiencing new things, councillors on hand to assist them on a range of matters. It's nothing special or great, but what the film has is some notable names and faces: John Ratzenberger, Jaleel White (Family Matters), Johnny Galecki (Roseanne, The Big Bang Theory) and Sherman Hemsley. 

There is nothing I loathe or hate in particular about this movie; it's just that I found it bland with the humour reminiscent of a sitcom episode. The subplots are bland, the characters are bland, but youthful-looking Jennifer Aniston as Ava, the daughter of a camp owner, and in her first accredited role, was likeable and convincing in her debut film appearance. John Ratzenberger of Cheers and Toy Story plays Ava's father, who is also head of Camp Cucamonga, The Jeffersons' Sherman Hemsley plays an inspector, Brian Robbins of TV sitcom, Head of the Class (and the guy on the left of the poster) looks like Steve Guttenberg and he was all right and his character, Roger wasn't too bad. In real-life, Robbins is currently the president of the Nickelodeon children's TV network and he went on to transition from acting to directing in films such as Good Burger, Varsity Blues, Hardball with Keanu Reeves to dire misfires in Eddie Murphy's bombs, the horrific Norbit (would you believe it?!), Meet Dave and A Thousand Words, as well as the truly abominable Robin Williams/John Travolta comedy, 2010's Old Dogs

There is a romance subplot involving Ava and Roger, the kid characters, but for say Lindsay's storyline, on the other hand, just failed to make any type of impression and they lack appeal. Urkel himself aka Jaleel White does a little rap, which some may find corny. I'd watch this just for the Jennifer Aniston and Brian Robbins scenes alone, as everything else doesn't quite do it for me and the story needs more work.

As mentioned this film is very much similar to Club Paradise, from its structure and plot to its tone. & with both movies, the stories just meander on and are just as dull. 

Final Verdict:

Die-hard Jennifer Aniston fans may want to give this a watch, whereas, for others, they may look elsewhere and pass on this. 


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