(David Wain, 2001)
Something just a little off about Wain's parody, which is perhaps what has given it enduring appeal and made it a cult film, while so many movie spoofs date quickly and are never thought about again.
The sense of humour here is more Anchorman than Scary Movie - there is a decided strain of absurdism and an anarchic sensibility informing many of the jokes, which makes it feel like anything can happen (the trip into town that ends up in a crackhouse montage is the best example of this) -and the writing is generally very strong, and clever, making sure there is a variety of comic material throughout.
Firstly, it works as a spoof. Set on the last day of summer camp in 1981 and focused on a disparate group of characters mainly concerned with pairing off before they all go their separate ways, the plot could come verbatim from some lost American teen movie from that era. The music is hilarious, the hair and fashions just right, and the photography and montage sequences are note perfect. The obsession with sex of more or less every character also tunes into tasteless '80s teen cinema in a way no modern teen comedy can ever really approach.
Then there are the flashes of surrealism, absurdism and post-modernism, with talking vegetable tins, psychic powers and falling satellites all part of the story.
Lastly, the characters are frequently hilarious, most notably Paul Rudd as a rebellious camp counsellor given to gurning and posing, Amy Poehler as a pretentious drama teacher, and Ken Marino as a desperately virginal colleague who embarks on an odyssey to lose his cherry.
The cast seems incredible in retrospect, which perhaps says enough about how good most of them are here.