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Movie Review: ‘Camp Takota’

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I have been a longtime fan of Grace HelbigHannah Hart, and Mamrie Hart, three talented ladies who have come to be called the “holy trinity” of YouTube. Together they have garnered millions (yes, literally) of subscribers and fans by creating original comedy content at their YouTube channels. If you’re an internet-savvy media consumer, you’ve probably heard of at least one of them.

Apparently, their combined talent could not be contained by YouTube videos or even their live NoFilter shows they’ve held across the country. The three of them got together and made a full-length movie – Camp Takota.

The film follows Elise (Grace Helbig), an overworked assistant living in Chicago whose life unceremoniously falls apart. With nowhere else to go, she makes a last-minute decision to return to Camp Takota, where she spent much of her childhood. Two of her old friends, Allison (Hannah Hart) and Maxine (Mamrie Hart) are still there, working as counselors. As they rebuild their friendships and straighten out their lives, they find the camp is losing money and needs to be saved before it will be taken over by a guy who wants to replace the camp’s rustic beauty with the latest technology.

takotaThe best part of this movie is its heart. The friendships between the leads work, because they’re three real-life vlogging buddies having a great time at movie-camp. It’s genuine. And they’ve all got the acting chops to carry the film. Mamrie can rattle off whip-smart dialogue at His Girl Friday speeds. Grace is earnest and relatable. Hannah is dry and always full of puns.

It’s also important that a movie got made with three female leads, and all of them are strong characters with unique goals – like, career goals and life aspirations. They act like real people with flaws. I know that sounds like a ridiculously simple concept, but you don’t see it in enough movies these days. The industry is getting better at making movies featuring multiple female leads, but it’s a slow process, and sometimes filmmakers just have to take things into their own hands.

From a filmmaking standpoint, the turnaround on this project was amazing. The trio announced they would be making a movie at YouTube’s Vidcon, at the beginning of August 2013. They wrapped shooting in September 2013, and by November they promised to release the film in early 2014. The movie came out on digital platforms February 14, 2014.

Overall, Camp Takota is an indie film. It’s small and it’s simple and nostalgic. It’s sweet and fun. And for those who have followed these ladies’ vlogs over the years, it’s like watching three people you know and support step into a slightly bigger and different spotlight.

Camp Takota is available now via VHX and iTunes.

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About Jo Light

Jo is a writer living in LA. When she's not trying to break into the entertainment business, she's watching movies, taking long walks, and playing video games.
  • Jasmine

    WTF that movie sucks!! worst review ever!