Review: Netflix’s Christian Camp Musical Nails Its ’90s CCM Soundtrack
‘A Week Away’ captures the look and sounds of summer camp but misses out on the beliefs beneath its catchy songs.
Theatre Release:March 26, 2021 by Netflix
When a charming-but-troubled teen learns that his latest mischief could land him in a juvenile detention center and his only way out is to spend a week at church camp, he processes the scenario in a song and dance number to the ’90s CCM anthem “The Great Adventure” by Steven Curtis Chapman.
If this idea makes you smile even a little, you’ll probably enjoy A Week Away, Netflix’s new faith-friendly musical.
A Week Away offers heaps of nostalgia for parents who grew up listening to Christian acts like Chapman, Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, and Audio Adrenaline. CCM hits from the ’90s get the musical theater treatment at Camp Aweegaway. In the youth pastor–inflected pun from enthusiastic camp director David (David Koechner—yes, Todd Packer from The Office), “Every once in a while, somebody finds out that they ’re just a week away from an experience that changed everything for them.”
The movie follows Will Hawkins, played by Disney star Kevin Quinn, as he adjusts to Christian camp culture, tries to fit in, and gains the trust of David’s beautiful daughter Avery, played by Bailee Madison. Initially resisting the fun and the friendship of his cabinmate George (Jahbril Cook), Will must decide if these “Jesus freaks” are people he can trust with the painful parts of his life or if he is better off on his own.
As someone who spends the entire summer at a Christian camp where my husband is director, I get the appeal of setting a musical in the nostalgic cabins and woods where so many of us played, made friends, and grew in our faith.
For the staff, summer camp can feel like an elaborate production. It takes energy and a tiny bit of acting to get campers excited …
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June 18, 2021