Critical Condition: Camping

Camping | SoHo2, 8.30 Thursday

☆☆☆☆Girls collaborators Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner have adapted the British version of this comedy into a wickedly funny, unnerving eight-episode romp about an anxiety-ridden control freak, Kathryn (Jennifer Garner, in her first series work since Alias), who organises a weekend camping trip among friends to celebrate the 45th birthday of her easygoing husband Walt (Broadchurch’s David Tennant).” — The Washington Post.

☆☆☆ Camping starts out awkwardly, but by the third episode it finds a better balance, as the camping trip devolves into ever-more-absurd antics, including an accidental drug dose and a few surprise celebrity cameos. The characters become more unhinged as the nightmare trip goes on, and the glee with which the actors portray them elevates, until there’s more deliciously funny, shocking chaos.” — USA Today.

☆☆☆☆ “Occasionally, Garner manages to find another gear in Kathryn’s high-strung anxiety, revealing how her longstanding health issues have shaped her insecurity and fear. But for the most part, the series wastes its potential, showing so little insight or movement that watching Camping becomes nearly as unpleasant as it is for the characters living through it.” — Variety.

☆☆☆☆ “The comedy of social discomfort can be exquisite, like a deep-tissue massage that hurts until it feels good. Camping has moments like that. But too often it shoots past cringe comedy into straight-up cruelty without relief or enough redeeming laughs, becoming a ‘No Exit’ experience of watching the terrible be terrible to the terrible.” — New York Times.

☆☆☆ “Who takes Jennifer Garner and makes her a completely unlikable and joyless nag, annoying everyone around her? Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner, coming off their rollicking success with Girls, do just such a thing in HBO’s latest comedy, Camping. Wow, does that not work. Nor does much else in Camping, but it all starts with miscasting Garner.” — The Hollywood Reporter.

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