Family Camp Parent Guide
This painful film serves only to confirm stereotypical misapprehensions about people of faith.
Parent Movie Review
I am a person of faith who appreciates those rare cinematic gems that deftly weave the struggles and blessings that come to those who journey on the path of finding God. In Family Camp there are struggles and blessings, as well as characters journeying on a literal path. But where it leads is far from a carefully crafted message extolling the benefits of enduring faith and God.
As the title promises, this movie takes place at a church camp where families presumably come together to seek spiritual reflection while having some fun. The Ackerman family doesn’t seem to be finding much of either. Any hope their pastor (Mark Christopher Lawrence) had of helping them and other families, like the Sanders, come and reap the joy of a religious retreat is lost in a never-ending itinerary of competitive matchups that only bring the worst out of these campers. Instead of opportunities to become good sports, the lead characters find more satisfaction exchanging smack talk and slapstick violence – two ingredients that take up the vast majority of the screen time.
In the opening minutes, it’s no surprise these two families are forced to share the same yurt – and it’s even less of a shocker to discover fathers Tommy Ackerman (Tommy Woodard) and Eddie Sanders (Eddie James) are anything but compatible. Tommy can’t disconnect from his investment job long enough to say a meaningful prayer and Eddie is bordering on psychosis trying to attain father-of-the-year status. In even more desperate roles (in both uses of the term) are their wives, Grace and Victoria (Leigh-Allyn Baker, Gigi Orsillo), who play somewhat-demeaned second fiddles to this testosterone pair.
The script’s journey has an ending more predictable than the “amen” at the end of a rousing benediction. And the pews of this cinematic church are stuffed with stereotyped characters that seem to be irresistible choices for filmmakers. But the biggest question I have is, to whom are these movie creators hoping to give this somewhat irreverent and always clichéd sermon? Watching this film made me squirm in my seat while I thought of any non-believer that might have accidently bought a ticket to this romp. Certainly, such souls would only have confirmed all their misinformed beliefs about people of faith. Fortunately, the handful of people sharing the enormous theater with me were frequently laughing… I can only assume they are part of the choir to whom this movie was intended to preach.Directed by Brian Cates. Starring Tommy Woodard, Eddie James, Leigh-Allyn Baker, Gigi Orsillo. Running time: 111 minutes. Theatrical release May 12, 2022. Updated May 13, 2022
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Rating & Content Info
Why is Family Camp rated PG? Family Camp is rated PG by the MPAA for some action and thematic elements
Violence: The screenplay features mild violence that is played for laughs, yet often feels meanspirited. Characters drive reckless and have feelings of road rage. Characters tell lies throughout the script. Family members argue and squabble, and husbands and wives struggle with their relationships. First aid is administered to a character who is choking: hitting, thumping, and spitting are involved. A character’s business partner tries to steal his client. Competition between campers turns ugly, resulting in pushing, shoving, and gloating. A character is swarmed by bees. Grown men engage in childish fighting. Characters become lost in the wilderness, leaving family members to worry about their safety. People are shot with tranquilizer darts, tied up, threated with weapons, and left to the mercy of wild animals. Characters fall into water – accidentally and when they are pushed. Characters steal from others. A vehicle explodes after being shot with a flaming arrow. A character uses his medical knowledge to intentionally incapacitate others.
Sexual Content: A man hugs strangers so tightly that their bones crack. Married couples embrace. Mild sexual innuendo is heard. A teenaged couple flirt: the girl confesses she has never been kissed. Later, when the girl resists a kiss from the boy, he accuses her of being a tease.
Profanity: Name-calling and mocking are frequent. Characters insult one another and make spiteful accusations. Terms of deity are heard.
Alcohol / Drug Use: An injection is administered to stop an allergic reaction. Characters pass out after being shot with tranquilizer darts.
Page last updated May 13, 2022
Family Camp Parents' Guide
Amidst the ridiculous behavior of the characters in this movie, the script occasionally inserts some more serious dialogue. What is the minister trying to teach Tommy about the role of parents when he shows him a compass? How do you feel about fathers being a guide for their families? Although Eddie embraces such a role, what are the results of his interpretation of leadership? What things could you try to do in your family to get that balance right?
When Grace complains that her family is coming up short next to Victoria’s, she is told to “peek behind the curtain”. What does Victoria mean? Why might the way we present ourselves in public be different than the way we live in private? Should we be more transparent? Why is it best to be cautious about comparing ourselves with others?
Related home video titles:
Audiences looking for Christian comedy may appreciate the challenges faced by a group of women from the same church community when they decide to take a Moms’ Night Out. The more serious Lilies of the Field offers an insightful and nuanced view of its characters who have various ideas about how to express their faith.