Cult classic on Netflix boasts all-star cast, raunchy humor

Dustin Gebel

Some movies age like a fine wine. Movies like “Star Wars,” “Back to the Future II” and anything by John Hughes are just a few that have lived the test of time, while movies like “Tron” and “Batman & Robin” have spoiled with age rather than prosper. David Wain’s 2001 raunchy summer ramp, “Wet Hot American Summer” is a film that stands the test of time.

Written and directed by David Wain, the film follows a group of summer camp counselors at Camp Firewood in New Jersey. The film takes place over the course of the final day of camp in 1981. For many of the counselors and campers, it’s the last day to hook up.

The film is not only a cult classic in its spoofing of sexual comedies and absurd humor, due to its extensive ensemble cast; Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Amy Poehler and Bradley Cooper all play counselors in various crossing story lines. The film also has famous voice actor H. Jon Benjamin (famous for his roles in “Archer” and “Bob’s Burgers) provide the voice for a wise-talking can of mixed vegetables.

The film begins at the staff’s party and then quickly goes to the morning of the last day of camp. From the get-go, the humor of the film is established as almost every character in the film is in someone else’s bed.

From here various storyline start to branch out; Beth, the camp director, tries to keep everyone in line and starts to fall for a random astrophysicist, Henry, who is trying to save the camp from a falling satellite. Coop, the dorky but nice guy counselor, is caught in a love triangle with Andy (Paul Rudd) and Katie. Andy is the so called rebel of the camp and is constantly trying to cheat on Katie. The only person who can help Coop is Gene, the cook and sexually repressed former marine. Susie and Ben (Amy Poehler and Bradley Cooper respectively) are trying to present the best talent show the camp has ever seen.

Throughout the film, these different narrative segments collide at various points and by the end of the film, there is a definite resolution to each one. Coop doesn’t get the girl, Andy doesn’t change, the talent show is awesome and some people get to hook up. Gene even learns to be comfortable with his sexual attraction to inanimate objects like the fridge.

The film uses this scattered storytelling in order to pick at various tropes and cliches of the teen comedy movie. The film has a distinct parody feeling to it, but its spoofing is done more subtly than the spoof movies of the mid-2000s. Much of the film’s comedy draws on the absurd randomness of these teenagers.

The humor isn’t all for everyone, that’s for sure. However, so many jokes and skits are thrown out by the cast that there is something for every viewer during the movie’s run. It might be the weird training montages, the most entertaining chase scenes of all time or maybe it’s Paul Rudd pushing kids out of a moving van. It might even be the segment where the counselors go into town and proceed to drink smoke and partake in heavy drug use in a matter of moments.

If you have a couple of hours to spare, or need a movie night suggestion, I can’t help but recommend “Wet Hot American Summer.” Between the variety of humor, all-star cast and timeless messages, the film is one of the most worthwhile on Netflix at the moment.