On the third day of summer, my Netflix sent to meee…three pairs of dullards, two three-name actresses, and a Corvette and a Bonadoo-cheeeee! It's Joe R's turn at the summer-movie helm, and if you need a sleep aid for those "can't find a cool spot on the pillow" nights, he's got just the thing: Indian Summer.
Ah, the ol' summer camp movie. The "twist" on this one is that it's the adult alumni who return to Camp Nostalgiawanaka (under the tutelage of grandpa-like Alan Arkin) for one last weekend of remembrance. Bill Paxton's the bad boy, Diane Lane's the widow, Elizabeth Perkins is the frustrated single, Kevin Pollak is the buttoned-up pair of suspenders, Julie Warner (as usual) is the boring one, and Vincent Spano (as usual) is the one who can't act.
Summer Timeline: One weekend in early fall. Judging by the wardrobe choices, the weather doesn't seem all that Indian summer-ish, to tell the truth. Anyway, one weekend to relive old times and, once the plot kicks in, debate over who will keep the camp going once Arkin packs it in.
Enviable Vacation Locale?: I suppose that depends on how you feel about either summer camps or western Ontario.
Coming of Age: Sure, in an ass-backwards way in which thirtysomethings right their boring, wayward ships via camp pranks and moose sightings.
Quick-Burning Summer Romance: It's only a weekend (and, again, not summer), but the movie manages to rack up a breakup, a near-infidelity, the affirmation of marital commitment, and a hookup so ill-advised it might as well be happening at real summer camp. Sure, none of it is all that satisfying, but at least they never hooked up Elizabeth Perkins and Kevin Pollak like I worried they might.
Do The Characters Find Unconventional Ways To Beat The Heat?: Again, it wasn't all that hot (it's clearly fall), but they do find time to swim. Kimberly Williams takes her top off, too, but you're likely to see more cable-knit sweaters than bikini tops.
Quality Of Beach/Summer Fashions: Let's talk about Bill Paxton's hair, which was almost certainly the photo Jon Bon Jovi took to the salon the day he decided to ditch the AquaNet look. Let's talk about Elizabeth Perkins's wall of frizzy red hair (and thank God that Celia Hodes managed to settle Elizabeth's hair down once and for all). Let's talk about Vincent Spano's leather jacket, which is only there to remind you that he may design clothes, but he's a rebel about it.
Also, can we talk about this for a second? What kind of fucked-up year was 1993 where a career in clothing design was depicted via the frustrated dreamer with a wife and kids (Spano) and his stuffed-shirt cousin (Pollak)? Where was the early-'90s equivalent of John Michael Higgins from Best in Show? Actually, scratch that; they'd have probably just gotten Bronson Pinchot a la Beverly Hills Cop, so maybe this fiction was best.
Worth The A/C?: You know, for whatever reason, I'd remembered this movie as kind of a fizzy, fun guilty pleasure. Oh my, is it not. It's somber, it's silly (in a bad way), the jokes fall flat 100% of the time (Sam Raimi's Buster Keaton interludes are a prominent and painful example), it doesn't hold together logically (nobody thought to ask why Grandpa Arkin decided to invite eight grown adults to summer camp in mid-October?), and most of all it features the most boring collection of human beings possible. If I'm not finding booze and promiscuity in a summer movie, I at least demand characters I'd actually want to be around. Not these sad sacks.
Overall Suitability As Summer Movie: C-minus
Tags: 12 Days Of Summer Movies