4 Things You Need To Know About Family Camp, The Religious Comedy Starring The Sketch Guys

Tommy Ackerman is a middle-aged father who loves his wife, children, and job. Especially his work.

In the eyes of his wife, he is either at work, or on the golf course, or on his cell phone.

“We barely get to see you,” she said.

But she has a plan to get him away from work and with his family: a vacation at Camp Katokwah, a scenic lakeside retreat. And with their church sponsoring an upcoming trip, the trek will also have a spiritual element.

Ackerman reluctantly agrees to go.

Unfortunately, the trip does not go as planned. First, they are forced to double up with another family. If that wasn’t enough, their accommodation – a yurt – leaves a lot to be earned. And this other family? They are clumsy. And strong. And boring.

“My choice would have been Maui,” Ackerman says.

Can the Ackermans find the peace and quiet they need to bond?

The new confessional film family camp (PG) tells the story of Tommy Ackerman, his wife Grace Ackerman and their yurt neighbors, the Sanders.

Here are four things you need to know:

Photo Courtesy: © Roadside Attractions, used with permission.

1. He introduces the guys from the skit

If you grew up in an evangelical church, you’ve probably seen the work of the Skit Guys, a comedy duo featuring two longtime friends, Tommy Woodard and Eddie James. They perform in conferences, churches and camps. They also produce short (but excellent) videos for use in churches – some inspirational, some humorous. (Most of the videos don’t even show the duo on camera.)

“We’ve been buddies since high school,” James said.

The duo’s career began by performing skits for their youth group. They were so impressive that other churches invited them to perform.

“For over 30 years in our ministry, we have lived the simple truth that laughter is good medicine,” Woodard said.

In the film, Woodard plays Tommy Ackerman and James plays Eddie Sanders.

Photo Courtesy: © Roadside Attractions, used with permission.

Tommy Woodard and Eddie James

2. He’s a Rare Breed: A Faith-Based Comedy

Faith-based dramas have been prevalent over the past two decades (I can only imagine and Crisis unit, among them). Faith-based documentaries are too (music of jesus is one of the best of all time).

But religious comedies? They’re almost as rare as faith-based musicals (2021 A week away leads this small group).

Mother’s night (2014) was the first quality religious comedy of the modern era. There have been a few other good ones, including The Resurrection of Gavin Stone (2017), selfie dad (2020) and Switched (2020).

family camp belongs to this small list of the best religious comedies.

Much of the humor involves situational comedy, playing on the awkward arrangement of two families forced to camp together in a yurt. (A curtain is placed in the middle of the yurt for more privacy.) Eddie is outgoing but socially awkward. Tommy is straightforward and pragmatic. Wives are opposites. The children are too.

Burlesque comedy is in the spotlight. The arrangement gets off to a bad start when Eddie, a chiropractor, immediately gives Tommy an unwelcome back massage. From there, Eddie: 1) saves Tommy from choking on a piece of meat, 2) gets the two men lost in the woods, 3) nearly drowns his friend in frustration – although Eddie started the ” fight” and 4) gets the two men kidnapped by a pair of redneck hunters. (A beaver – yes, a beaver – saves him.) Somewhere in there, they’re also bickering over a harmonica.

The comedy stays clean. My 10 year old laughed and laughed watching it. I did too.

Photo Courtesy: © Roadside Attractions, used with permission.

Mark Christopher Lawrence and Tommy Woodard

3. It offers solid lessons

family camp is a movie with a solid message – several of them, in fact.

It displays the unconditional love between moms and dads, parents and children, while reminding us that no family is perfect. (We see the Ackermans and the Sanders bicker several times, but they always reconcile.)

He urges Christians to practice what they preach not just in public but at home when no one else is watching. (Eddie, as we learn, is not a cheerful person when he’s only with his wife and kids.)

He encourages parents to put faith and family first and to reconsider their workaholic tendencies. (Tommy arrives at camp with business on his mind and a cell phone in hand.)

family camp has several other good lessons. It promotes forgiveness and reconciliation. It endorses purity in relationships (Tommy’s daughter pushes a boy into a stream when he tries to kiss her.) It even shows us the dangers of making your family an idol.

Photo Courtesy: © Roadside Attractions, used with permission.

The Family Camps film crew

4. It’s for the whole family

family camp is rated PG for “action and thematic elements”, but – honestly – it could be rated G. It contains no bad language. It contains no sexuality. The violence stays in the super-idiot Three Stooges kingdom.

“We’re committed to making faith-based comedies where you don’t have to worry about what’s being said or done,” James said.

With family camphe added, “there is no bait or switch”.

The movie has a lot of big companies and well-known names behind it. Like roadside attractions (Manchester by the sea). And Foresight Films (Blue miracle, war room). And K-LOVE Films (The music of Jesus, the case of paradise). It also stars Leigh-Allyn Baker (will and grace) and Robert Amaya (Brave, moms night). Rhett Walker is even performing.

family camp is a movie you can watch with your whole family. Few live-action comedies can say that.

To visit FamilyCampMovie.com

Entertainment rating: 4 stars out of 5.

Family Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Photo courtesy: ©Roadside Attractions, used with permission.


Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and current affairs for 20 years. His stories have appeared in the Baptist Press, Christianity today, The Christian Post, the Sheet-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

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