Magic Camp (2020) A Review

It’s full of that lovable Disney Campiness that permeated all the Disney channel original movies of my childhood.  It’s a great feelgood film, but pretty standard fare.

Certificate: U

Director: Mark Waters

Screenwriter: Micah Fitzerman-Blue, Noah Harpster

Starring: Adam Devine, Jeffrey Tambor, Gillian Jacobs

Genre: Comedy, Family

Runtime: 100 Minutes

Rating: 3 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

Andy, an ex-magician with a chip on his shoulder, at the urging of his former mentor and Magic Camp owner Roy Preston, returns as a counsellor to the camp of his youth hoping to reignite his career.  While there, he instructs a group of misfit students in the art of magic.  Each of them must find out what their magical specialty is and come up with an act to perform at the end of summer show in order to compete to win the grand prize for their cabin and a chance to receive the Golden Wand, the top accolade at the camp.

Magicians.  Who doesn’t love magicians.  Granted they walk a very fine line between cheesy and mind boggling, but they are always entertaining, mostly.  And the same can be said for this film.  The dialogue and story are cheesy, but the message is heart-warming and there is plenty of magic to gawp at.  But the performances, even by some of the experienced adult actors, can be a little uneven and it follows just about every trope in the book.  You know how it’s going to end right from the second the kids all get together.  Does it stop it being an entertaining family film?  No not really.  But this formula is getting a little old.

Adam Devine plays our camp councillor Andy.  And he plays the typical role that he has been playing for years.  Self-centred, obnoxious and loud mouthed.  It works well in this film against the background of the sassy kids he is in charge of, but just once, I would like to see him do something different.  Nathaniel Logan McIntyre plays the outstanding role here as Theo, the shy and awkward kid at camp with mad card skills.  He has a lot of emotional weight to bring to this film and is really at the centre of the whole story, and for such a young actor, does a really good job.  I can imagine Disney will hold on this one for a while and we will see him pop up in a lot more Disney+ films, he has the talent for it.

Absolutely nothing about this film will surprise you.  It is made using a tried and tested formula that every film of this type uses.  As always the big show at the end is the best part and everything comes up roses in the end.  But for parents with kids who want something new to see, this would be a great choice.  There is a lot of great humour, and some cool magic tricks, most kids will recognise themselves in at least one of the camp residents.  For kids it’s going to be a hit, with adults, probably not, but we aren’t really the target audience, are we?

‘Magic Camp’ is streaming on Disney+ now!

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