NEW YORK -- If Frederick Wiseman ever decides to make a film about sleep-away camp (and employed the services of a judicious editor), the results would be somewhat akin to this documentary directed by Brad Beesley and Sarah Price. Chronicling the experiences of several among about 90 kids summering at the Swift Nature Camp in northern Wisconsin, "Summercamp!" is perhaps a film only a mother could love.
That's because, sad to say, the adolescents on display in this casually (to say the least) paced film are simply not terribly interesting. Yes, they have their quirks to be sure: Cameron, overweight and a mother's boy, has some serious personality issues; Spencer, the intellectual geek of the bunch, spends his spare time reading Tom Clancy thrillers; 9-year-old Holly is obsessed with chickadees, etc.
Ultimately, though, they're just your typical misfit kids, and the film's minute depiction of their day-to-day experiences fails to sustain attention. Perhaps if their counselors had included one or two memorable characters, the film might seem something more than an extended home video. But despite its brief, 85-minute duration, "Summercamp!" spanning three weeks in the lives of its subjects, seems to be taking place in real time.
The film's soundtrack includes numerous Flaming Lips songs, thanks to the fact that co-director Beesley is a longtime collaborator of the acclaimed band.
"Summercamp!" recently played an exclusive engagement at New York's IFC Center before opening in select cities this summer and in the fall.