Boot Camp DVD Review

In Short
Mila Kunis finds that there are no marshmallow roasts at this beach-side camp...

In Boot Camp, a teenaged girl, Sophie (Mila Kunis), is shipped to a South Seas camp for troubled youths by her cruel stepfather and submissive mother for the crime of being too sassy towards her stepfather. She finds the camp to be run like a military prison, where the kids who toe the line and confess their "sins" are eventually promoted to a higher rank, given more privileges, and eventually released. Those who violate the rules are subject to abuse at the hands of their peers or the camp guards, and may find themselves spending a few days in confinement at the bottom of a pit. Nearly broken, Sophie begins to come to terms with her fate until her boyfriend arrives in the camp. He's a man with a plan, tricking his parents into sending him to the camp so that he could rescue Sophie. But getting out proves to be trickier than getting in...

The makers of Boot Camp want the film to be an expose on the abuses in the teen boot camp industry, but the way the film is presented it doesn't serve their intended purpose. A few lines of text at the end of the film are all that tie the fictional camp in the film to the filmmakers' opinion of real-world camps, and they seem oddly out of place after what is essentially an adventure film. The film's story is too artificial to be taken seriously in this regard, as every kid in the camp is there because of a misunderstanding or parental shortcoming and all of the counselors are vain and self-serving, and some are even rapists, a crime made even more vile by the fact that all of the kids in the camp are under 18. The filmmakers do touch on some valid points such as the responsibility of the parents for their children's out of control behavior and the questionable tactic of "breaking kids down to build them back up", but they missed the chance to call attention to these points through additional features on the disk (in fact, this is a barebones release, sans a single special feature). The way the film is constructed, the camp seems less a damning expose device and more an entirely fictional setting used as a plot device. However, all attempts to raise awareness of teenager boot camp issues aside, when you take the movie as a pure adventure picture it's not that bad of a film. Take it as an escapist popcorn flick and you'll have some fun with it. Teenagers will probably enjoy it the most, though, because the film's misunderstood teens imprisoned by clueless parents theme will certainly resonate with them.

Final Rating:

Transmitted: 8/29/2014 2:03:22 PM