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SUMMARY ARCHIVE REVIEW OF THE CLASSIC COMEDY 'MEATBALLS'

Year: 1979 Rating: ****1/2
Before Bill Murray and director Ivan Reitman joined the army or battled ghosts, they spent a summer at the underdog arsenal, Camp North Star. Made during his last season on SNL, this is Murray’s ANIMAL HOUSE, but here he’s both Bluto (the party hound) and Otter (the charmer) at the same time: playing "Tripper," a lovable slob who heads up the C.I.T.’s – Counselor in Training... youngsters making up the heart of the film much like the caddies in co-writer Harold Ramis's CADDYSHACK. These include mostly Canadian actors like Jack Blum and Keith Knight as Spaz and Fink, both epitomizing a geek and a slob and possibly the greatest duo ever. While two young American actors, Kristine DeBell and Todd Hoffman, help fill the young-lover aspect – teenagers reminiscent of people we grew up with (not to forget Matt Craven, who'd go onto many other projects). And that’s the charm of this film – these kids are the real deal: but it’s Murray’s performance that keeps everyone in check. And while Tripper's bond with troubled camper Chris Makepeace is sweet, and gives Bill a chance to really act, the scenes go on a bit too long. But no matter, this is a classic comedy that’s much more than goofing off – and there's tons of that too: only here it all means something.
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