Magic Camp Parent Guide
The movie is funny and sweet and delivers solid messages about being persistent and developing talents.
Parent Movie Review
Andy Duckerman (Adam Devine) was once a rising star in the world of magic. Sadly, his career hasn’t turned out the way he expected and now he drives a taxi in Las Vegas. When Roy Preston (Jeffrey Tambor) offers Andy a job as a counselor at a magic camp for children, he jumps at the opportunity to get back into magic, and hopefully show up his arch rival, Kristina Darkwood (Gillian Jacobs) at the same time. At the Institute of Magic, Andy rediscovers his love of magic, while also teaching his students about perseverance and individuality.
Do you like magic? I’m not talking about fantasy magic, I mean street magic, Vegas magic, real life illusions. Do you also like heartwarming stories about kids (and adult kids) learning to be their true selves and finding their inner purpose and talents? If you answered yes to either of those questions, then have I got a movie recommendation for you! Magic Camp checks both of those boxes, while also sporting a great cast and some hilarious writing. Jeffrey Tambor especially stands out as he acts ridiculous but dead pan at the same time. The child actors are surprisingly good for their ages, and Adam Devine and Gillian Jacobs play off of each other well. I was also pleasantly surprised at how funny this film is. I laughed a lot, and there are some great recurring gags throughout.
The messages this production is trying to impart are valuable for a young audience. The main theme is about embracing your weirdness and finding your own talents, even if they’re unconventional. There are also themes of perseverance, family love, following your dreams, and forgiveness. Andy undergoes a character arc as an adult that mirrors some of the growth the young campers are going through as well.
There are some small complaints to be made, as can be expected in a low budget kids movie. Most of the magic is real and performed by the actors, who trained for a few months before filming in order to do the tricks themselves. However, there are one or two illusions that are obviously CGI, which seems to defeat the purpose of training a bunch of kids to do magic. If you can’t do a trick for real, then don’t do it. The story is predictable, following almost the exact same beats as movies like Camp Rock or Pitch Perfect, but I don’t mind because I don’t think the filmmakers were trying to reinvent the wheel here.
Magic Camp sports almost no objectionable content while also being funny and sweet, so I wholeheartedly recommend it for family viewing. Who knows, maybe it will encourage your kids to learn a few tricks themselves!Directed by Mark Waters. Starring Gillian Jacobs, Aldis Hodge, Adam Devine. Running time: 100 minutes. Theatrical release August 14, 2020. Updated August 14, 2020
Watch the trailer for Magic Camp
Rating & Content Info
Why is Magic Camp rated PG? Magic Camp is rated PG by the MPAA for some mild rude humor
Violence: A girl tells her pigeons to chase some boys and “Go for the eyes”, but nothing is actually shown.
Sexual Content: One kiss between a tween boy and girl.
Profanity: A few mild insults such as dweeb and dummy. A couple uses of terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: None.
Page last updated August 14, 2020
Magic Camp Parents' Guide
Why is Theo so nervous about performing in front of other people? How do his friends help him overcome his stage fright?
Are all of the kids good at the same kinds of magic? How do they figure out what they are individually good at? Why is it important for Judd to tell his dad he doesn’t want to be a magician?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
There are plenty of books to choose from in the summer camp genre. Spy Camp, an entry in Stuart Gibbs’ Spy School series, follows the adventures of Ben, a CIA trainee and middle school student, who heads off for what’s supposed to be a learning experience. But he gets more than he bargains for when an agent tries to turn him to the enemy.
Aspiring actors go to a musical theater camp in Jack & Louisa: Act 3. Authors Andrew Keenan-Bolger and Kate Weatherhead, Broadway actors themselves, have penned a series about young actors, who are attending Camp Curtain-Up in this installment.
If you’re not magical or athletic or musical, you might feel like you’re nothing special. Camp Average might be the book for you. Written by Craig Battle, this story follows the campers at Camp Avalon whose new director wants to turn his “average” campers into sports stars despite their lack of enthusiasm for his project. Nerd Camp by Elissa Brent Weissman follows another unathletic kid. Gabe excitedly heads off the Summer Center for Gifted Enrichment, only to be anxious when he meet someone “cool”.
Perhaps the best known series about kids learning magic (the “real” thing; not stage illusions) is the Harry Potter books. The seven book series follows young Harry as he enters Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry at age 11 and learns the magic he needs to defeat the evil Lord Voldemort.
Learning to use a magic coin is the premise of Edward Eager’s novel, Half Magic. This classic book records the mishaps of four siblings who are struggling to master the unexpected.
Related home video titles:
Summer camps in the movies come in plenty of flavors. Camp Rock and Camp Rock II: Final Jam are Disney TV movies that bring talented teens together to reach for their musical dreams. Space Camp takes kids attending a NASA camp and accidentally sends them into space.
Real life teens attend drama camp in the documentary Becoming Bulletproof. School, not camp, is the focus of Mad Hot Ballroom, another documentary. This film examines the fifth grade ballroom dancing curriculum in New York City schools.