accepted is camp nowhere

Some of you may be too young to remember a movie called “Camp Nowhere”, but if you’ve seen the 2006 movie “Accepted” with Justin Long, then you’ve seen “Camp Nowhere”. This occurred to me the very first time I saw “Accepted”, but after watching it again last night it really made me think about all of the similarities in the movies. The basic idea behind both flicks is that a kid’s parents want him to go somewhere that he doesn’t want to go, so in turn he gets his friends to help him create a fake version of said place to trick his parents. Of course things don’t go very smoothly when a bunch of other kids show up wanting to take advantage of the idea… That’s the basic idea, obviously some of the details are different in each movie, but honestly a lot of them are the same. So let’s take a look at both movies and how “Accepted” is a complete rip-off of “Camp Nowhere”. And I wouldn’t be surprised if “Camp Nowhere” was a complete rip-off of something that came before it, but I can’t think of anything so if you know let me know.

So in “Camp Nowhere” there is a kid named Mud who’s parents want him to attend a camp for the summer, but he’d rather hang out with his friends. So with the help of his friends they hatch a plan to start their own summer camp where they are free to do whatever they want, the only problem is they need an adult to convince all the parents to let their kids go to this made up camp. Mud ends up blackmailing an old drama teacher and makes him go around to all the parents and convince them to let their kids go to his camp… which is different depending on which kid’s parents he was talking to. With that all set, and the parents money all in Mud’s hands, the group sets out to spend a summer away from parents at an old camp.

In “Accepted” all you really have to do is swap out camp with college and it’s the same story. Justin Long plays Bartleby, a kid who slacked off during high school and managed to get rejected from every college he applied to. Feeling the disappointment from his parents he created a fake acceptance letter from a fake college which he then used to convince his parents that he got accepted somewhere. When he found out that a couple of his close friends didn’t get accepted anywhere either, he created acceptance letters for them too and that was that. The only thing he didn’t count on was his friend, Sherman, making the website too real so that anyone that applied got accepted. Pretty soon the building they cleaned up in order to fool Bartleby’s parents was overrun with students thinking it was a real college.

Now let’s talk details, in “Camp Nowhere” Mud finds Dennis Van Welker (Christopher Lloyd) to come hang out at the camp and act as the camp leader towards the parents. He doesn’t really serve any other role at the camp other than occasionally taking the kids to the doctor or acting as someone else in front of parents. In “Accepted” Bartleby finds Ben Lewis (Lewis Black), Sherman’s uncle who is a retired teacher that was recently fired from his job selling shoes in the mall. He acts as the dean of the college when Bartleby’s parents come to meet him and lives in a mobile home near the converted collegiate building. Again, he doesn’t really do anything except talk to the parents to keep the lie going and occasionally lectures the students.

In both movies things get out of hand when more people than expected show up to take advantage of what is going on. In the case of “Camp Nowhere” it’s all kids from the same town that band together to fool their parents. In the case of “Accepted” it was only supposed to be a small group of friends until the fake website they had built basically accepted anyone that applied and before they knew it there were hundreds of kids at their fake college. And in each instance the money given to the kids, for use at either the camp or the college, was used to maintain the lie.

In “Camp Nowhere” the location of the camp is a rundown old camp that hasn’t been used in years. The kids clean it up and make it look like an actual camp. In the case of “Accepted” the building they found was an old mental health facility that they turned into a college. And in the end both plots end up being foiled during parents weekend.

“Camp Nowhere” was a voluntary parents weekend in a way, being that the parents all kept asking about it so the kids had to figure out a way for it to work. They almost pulled it off until Dennis Van Welker’s past caught up with him and Mud couldn’t keep up the lie. He broke down and told the parents everything and of course they were severely disappointed and while I can’t remember exactly how it all played out, he ends up being alright in the end and even gets the girl.

“Accepted”‘s parent’s weekend was not quite as planned as “Camp Nowhere”. Hoyt Ambrose was out to get Bartleby after he basically stole his girlfriend, Blake Lively, so he concocted the idea to tell all the parents that it was parents weekend at the college and they should all go check it out. Upon arriving at the “college”, the parents discovered that it wasn’t a college after all and the lie fell apart. In the end though Bartleby fought for the college he had created and in the end received enough votes to become accredited on a temporary basis. He also ends up with the girl in the end and everything works out fine.

So those are some huge similarities between the movies that are way more than just coincidence, plot aside even the characters are the same. I just found it amusing how similar these two movies are and I know I’m not the only one that’s thought about it. So if you’ve seen both movies and can think of other similarities that I didn’t feel free to chime in. If you haven’t seen either movie I guess I would say check them out… they aren’t the greatest movies in the world, but they’re watchable. Oh and a young Jessica Alba is in “Camp Nowhere”…

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  • http://www.facebook.com/joshuabeane23 Joshua Beane

    What’s really crazy, is at the end of Camp Nowhere, Welker and Mud talk about how his parents will be spending 20 grand on him to go to college before long. A realization dawns on both of them and they give each other a look and say “20 grand, eh?” and they basically say see ya later.

    Camp Nowhere came out when I was exactly the same age as the kids in the movie, so I freakin loved it. Hadn’t seen it since it came out so I just gave it a watch today. Good fun. I liked Accepted too. It wasn’t great or anything, but I had fun watching it.

    • AC Slater

      Ha, didn’t realize that about the end of Camp Nowhere. It’s been years since I’ve seen it as well so I added it to the top of the netflix queue.

    • Tjanssen411

      I’d just caught Camp Nowhere on cable a few weeks before the I saw the first Ads for Accepted… so the college line at the end was fresh in my mind… 

      and when you factor in Dawson’s Casting the kids from Camp Nowhere could have easily been cast in Accepted (Allison Mack, who played the little sister in Camp Nowhere was playing a college Freshman on Smallville around the same time Accepted came out) so its possible Accepted began its life as a sequel treatment but was delayed enough to lead to a recasts and eventually became an independent project and used to launch fresh faces (it was relatively early in the careers of Long, Lively and Hill)

  • Redd

    I thought the same thing when I first saw “Accepted” a while back. I used to have “Camp Nowhere” on VHS and watched it all the time (Andrew Keegan?!?!?! Yes, please!), so as “Accepted” kept going, I was mentally comparing the two.