Camp Nowhere

Camp Nowhere

For every kid that ever endured a boring trip to summer camp, the 1994 Disney comedy, Camp Nowhere allowed them to dream of a magical alternative, a place where parents and authority figures were nowhere to be found.

Featuring the versatile antics of Christopher Lloyd, a very young Jessica Alba (Dark Angel,) General Hospital’s kid actor Jonathan Jackson and a cameo by Burgess Meredith (in one of his last roles) Camp Nowhere was a charming film that coaxed plenty of laughs from the younger crowd and even got a nod or two from pleasantly surprised adult critics, who deemed it fit for kid consumption.

Morris “Mud” Himmel is the typical pre-teen, loathing his upcoming annual excursion to summer computer camp – where he knows he will have to endure eight painful weeks with a bunch of boring brainiacs. And he isn’t alone. His friends are facing similar dread about their upcoming journeys. Gaby knows that fat camp isn’t going to be fun, Trish has no interest in Drama Camp, and Zack certainly isn’t looking forward to military camp.

So Morris begins to ponder an alternative. What if the kids could concoct a fictional camp, one that their parents were convinced was on the up-and-up but actually contained no adult supervision? If they could actually pull off such a feat, it would be a summer to always remember.

Of course, the best way to convince a parent is through the trust-inspiring words of another adult. And former drama coach, Dennis van Welker (Lloyd) is just the guy to sell them on the idea. Why would he have any interest in involving himself in such a plot though? Well, blackmail tends to be a good motivator.

Welker creates a fictional character to sell the camp to each of the parents. For Zack’s, he is a no-nonsense and brutal drill instructor, for Trish, he’s a directorial genius, and for Mud, he’s a brilliant computer whiz. The parents buy the story hook, line and sinker and soon, dozens of kids are packing their bags and heading to Camp Nowhere, which is really an old deserted hippie commune.

Since the parents have all paid a healthy fee to send their kids to camp, the funds exist to spruce up the place a bit, with such amenities as big-screen televisions and an arsenal of water cannons, but little do the youngsters realize, they are also learning valuable lessons in self-reliance and working with others. Of course, something this good can’t last forever, especially when the parents insist on coming for a visit.

It’s pretty hard for a kid not to appreciate a film about an ingenious plot to fool adults, and while Camp Nowhere certainly wasn’t a blockbuster, it comes as little surprise that many 90s kids fondly remember this entertaining film. Granted, the children in the film are perhaps a little better behaved than a social experiment like this might reveal in real life, but it’s okay to dream once in a while.

If you were a fan of this summer camp film, we hope you’ll take a moment to share your memories in our comments section below.

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