Camp Takota (2014)
With her personal and professional life in shambles, Elise ends up having to take a job as a counselor at her old summer camp. There, she reunites with two estranged friends who attended camp and never left. When the future of the camp is put in jeopardy, the three friends must band together to save it, changing the course of their lives forever.
- The movie starts in Chicago, Illinois. An answering machine picks up, and it is heard that Elise Miller (Grace Helbig) and Jeff Sanford (Chester See) are getting married in a few weeks. The caller that leaves a message is a travel agent and is confirming details of their honeymoon trip to Paris. Sticky notes of French words are seen placed around the apartment, and Elise is going about her morning making breakfast and practicing the French words as she goes. She then goes into her bedroom, which she shares with her fiancé, and surprises him with breakfast in bed. However, he doesn't want to wake up, so Elise says she's pregnant to startle him and get him awake. Jeff places the breakfast on the bedside table and begins to talk to Elise. She tells him that she finally finished her book that morning and hadn't gone to sleep all night. She wants to celebrate with sex, but Jeff tells her that they both have to go to work. He then gets up and starts getting ready and Elise hugs him from behind while he is putting on his shirt. He snaps a little saying his shirt is expensive and doesn't want to get it ruined. She pulls back and asks him to get the rest of her stuff from her apartment, but he says he has a meeting and other things to do that day and won't be able to.
Elise gets lattes at a street vender for herself, her boss, and a coworker, and as she leaves she bumps into Sally Meister (Ellen Karsten), the camp director at the all-girls camp, Camp Takota. She is in the city scouting out for counselors because they are a few short. Elise tells Sally about her engagement and honeymoon, but cringes when Sally mentions children. She says she's "not really the offspring type," but if she was, her girls would definitely go to Camp Takota like she did when she was a kid. Elise then rushes to work and the two part ways.
At work, Elise gets her boss's desk ready for her and as her boss, Celia Burrows (Rachel Quaintance), walks in, they go over the day's plans since the lead actor of a book-to-movie deal is going to be there for fans that won a competition. Elise is expected to cover all of the social media of the meet-and-greet. Celia then starts complaining about the new author they are publishing, but the author isn't writing according to schedule. Elise tries to pitch her book idea hoping that since the other author wasn't writing, she might have a chance. Celia reluctantly agrees to read it, but only because there aren't any other authors they are working with right now and she needs a new book deal. The lead of the hit teen book Moonlight Magic, Walker Paige (Sawyer Hartman), walks in and his fans scream.
Elise and a coworker, Manda (Megan Duffy), are walking down a hallway talking about the meet-and-great when they stumble upon Celia and Walker making out in the stairway. Manda takes several pictures from around the corner before they both rush away. A while later, as Elise is uploading pictures from the meet-up, she accidentally uploads the pictures of Walker and Celia as well. Celia immediately fires Elise.
Elise goes home crying and sees Jeff in the kitchen. She tells him about what happened while drinking one of the glasses of water he was getting at the time. He tries to cheer her up and suggests they go get drunk. He asks her to go and reserve a table a restaurant they often go to while he gets dressed. As she it about to leave, she realizes he had two glasses of water out when he only should have had one, implying that there was someone else in the apartment. Then, a girl walks out of the bedroom as she is reading the manuscript of Elise's book, criticizing it as she goes. Elise takes the manuscript, some vodka, and leaves to her apartment.
At her apartment, Elise spends the night drinking vodka and looking at pictures of the "beautiful" girl Jeff was sleeping with. She then gets a notification from Sally that is a picture of Elise with two friends in Camp Takota T-shirts. For the rest of the night, she drunk-dials Sally multiple times saying she will be a camp counselor for the summer.
The next morning, Elise is woken up by a car horn outside. Sally had gotten her voice messages and set it up for the Fefferman family to pick her up and take her to camp as they were also dropping off their daughter. The family continues to honk the horn outside, and Elise quickly gathers clothes, shoes, and toiletries in garbage bags and random paper bags before heading outside in both sweatpants and her business top and blazer from the day before. The mother, Kathy Fefferman (Amy Lindsay), has her husband, Bruce (Lee Schall), put Elise's things in the trunk and introduces her daughter, Penny (Kate Goldman). Kathy is very upbeat and excited to drop off Penny because her and Bruce will be going to Paris while Penny is at camp. Elise climbs in, and Kathy puts on French jazz music and continues to talk about her upcoming trip to Paris. Penny empathizes with Elise and gives her a Nintendo DS to keep her busy for the drive.
Once they arrive at camp, Elise realizes that it is very empty, and Kathy tells her that she wanted to allow her daughter time to settle in before all of the other campers got there since she is only six. Maxine Reynolds (Mamrie Hart), Elise's old friend from camp then shows up, camp shirt, fanny pack and all, and greets Elise with a hug. She is so excited to see Elise and to hear that she will be staying the summer. Allison Henry (Hannah Hart), another old friend, also comes to greet Elise and tells her that she works as the chef in the Mess Hall. However, Allison is then pulled away by Kathy to go over Penny's dietary restrictions. Elise asks Maxine for a place to charge her cell phone, but is quickly informed that there isn't any cell service at camp anyway, and Maxine takes her phone. They both go to Elise's cabin, and on the walk there, Elise and Maxine talk about their lives since they last saw each other. It turns out that they both live in Chicago but never knew it. Maxine tells Elise that she wants to take over as camp director the next year when Sally retires. She also questions why Elise is there to begin with. Elise doesn't tell the entire truth and just says she got a book deal and wanted to get away from everything to have some peace and quiet to write. They joke around a little before Maxine leaves to allow Elise time to get settle in. Elise goes to sit by the lake and reminisce about the old camp days while writing in a journal.
On the first day of camp, Sally and Maxine talk about all of the rules of camp and give a little introduction to the camp. Maxine raps the safety rules while some of the older girls dance behind her. After, Maxine gives the girls that helped her money, but gives the leader of the group, Sarah (Logan Riley Hassel), half since she didn't try as hard. Maxine also comments on the fact that Sarah snuck in cigarettes. Elise walks up, and Maxine gives her a huge binder to help her get back into the camp groove with lesson plans and camp songs.
In the next few scenes, Elise is woken up by a loud trumpet. She is seen attempting to do various camp activities including squatting in bushes to pee, giving a craft lesson that goes wrong, teaching archery while the campers continuously point their arrows at her, hiking with campers, dyeing her hands while trying to dye camp shirts, getting soaked in a water balloon fight, fighting off mosquitos, and getting pommelled by dodge balls. She also confiscates cigarettes from the older girls before going to the kitchen to hide with Allison. The two of them talk a little before Allison tells Elise to grab the box of Fiber Nuts if she's ever having a rough day. It turns out that there is a bottle of wine in the box. Elise then asks about the guy in the truck she saw earlier, and Allison explains that his name is Eli Morton (Chris Riedell) and he brings fresh produce to the camp from his farm that is across the lake. Allison picks up on the fact that Elise likes him, but Elise quickly denies it and says this summer is, "a welcome break from penis," and Allison replies with, "Story of my life," implying that she's gay, and the two laugh about her stereotypical lesbian attire of a Chicago Bulls basketball jersey. Maxine is then heard calling for Elise to get back to work.
Later on, Maxine asks Elise to check on Penny since she isn't at the Lady Gaga Ice Cream Social. Elise goes to Penny's cabin to see that Penny is playing on her DS, and Elise doesn't get mad but instead asks for the other. Penny isn't really sure about her time at camp and the two of them sort of bond over that fact.
At night, Maxine tells campers of the Camp Takota Ghost. She says that the ghost is lured to fires and that Elise had even seen the ghost when she was a camper. The campers then go to sleep a little unsettled.
The next morning, Elise is getting out of the shower and getting dressed when she panics about something she sees when putting on her underwear. She then calls Maxine and Allison over a walkie-talkie to help her. They both have a look and come to the conclusion that she has poison ivy all over her crotch from peeing in the bushes and offer various things to help it get better after laughing at her a little. Elise walks around the rest of the camp uncomfortably while the girls laugh at her as well.
In the craft hut, Elise tries to get a group of rowdy girls to calm down and only ends up getting them to calm down when she says she's pregnant like she had with Jeff. They are going to be pressing flowers to make a bookmark. She asks if they brought books to press the flowers, and all of them take out Moonlight Magic. A girl from the office then come in, asks for role, and gives Elise several messages that Jeff left. The girls get ahold of the messages and start teasing Elise for having a "boyfriend." Elise freaks out and snaps at them, and Maxine hears her while walking outside. Maxine pulls Elise out of class and lectures her to calm down, finish the class, and they would talk about why she was acting like this later.
At a cabin-house a little way from the camp, Elise tells Maxine and Allison what happened and why she's there. Elise laughs at her horrible book idea about a boy who was a loch ness monster trying to keep it a secret from his girlfriend that happened to be a centaur. They are sympathetic and joke a little, and Maxine tells her that she should be whatever she wants to be and not let the world control who she is. Elise responds by saying, "I just want to be me, but like a happy version." They all eat incredible food made by Allison and get drunk afterward. In the middle of the night, Elise tries to find a bottle opener in a drawer but accidentally stumbles upon an acceptance letter from the Chicago Chef's Institute for Allison. She quietly puts it back and goes back to the other girls where they all start singing the old song they made up when they were campers and try to remember how it went. Elise then asks Allison where the bottle opener is and goes to get it when Eli walks into and Elise freaks out. She breaks her bottle of beer as a weapon, not knowing what was going on. Maxine and Allison tell her to calm down, and Allison starts to pick up the glass but accidentally cuts herself. Maxine volunteers to bring her to the infirmary and Eli drives them.
The next morning, Eli goes to wake up Elise, but Elise has peed her pants, so the two of them go to the laundry room to get her clothes cleaned, and Eli lets her borrow some clothes. They talk a little and Elise explains the reason she's here. He's sympathetic and tells her about his ex-wife and how he built the farm he now lives on with her, but she only wanted it as a place to sleep with his best friend. They laugh about their problems, and Eli tells her that she's kind of intimidating because she's so confident about everything even though she's a bit of a mess. He offers to row over to the camp if she ever wants to talk and suggests she flash a flashlight over the lake if she did. He leaves, and Maxine walks in. They talk about Eli, but Maxine tells her that she only came in there sit on the washer machine while it was spinning and watch the groundskeeper, Chet (Cameron Britton), while he works outside.
Later, Sally's grandson, Jared (John Milhiser), drives up with his assistant, Kyle (Jason McNichols), and Maxine, Allison, and Elise listen in the kitchen as they explain the new camp they are planning for the next that will be a tech camp. Maxine confronts him, and it turns out that there isn't enough funding to keep Camp Takota alive, and Jared will be taking over the camp. As Maxine is leaving, Jared calls her back and shows her the ring finger, saying she isn't "worth the middle finger." Maxine then goes to Sally, and Sally tells her that the only way for the camp to stay was if half of the camp for the next year was full from pre-registration. Not enough kids have been signing up in the past years, and the camp was going downhill with the new tech generation. Maxine promises to have enough campers register.
Elise is distributing packages to campers beds and notices that Penny hasn't received any. She has the idea of writing letters and sending them herself as if they were from her parents. It is clear that Penny is very shy and hasn't made many friends. That night, Elise flashes her flashlight across the lake to get Eli's attention, and Eli rows over, but the two of them laugh about how long it takes him. The two of them talk, and Elise asks Eli to mail the letters she wrote for Penny. However, in the pile of letters is a note from Jeff. They talk a little bit a about him, and she comments on the fact that she often changes to suit her boyfriend, but he says she's great the way she is. Allison interrupts them to say Maxine wants to see them in the Mess Hall. Maxine explains the situation with the camp and how she wants to make sure the camp it still there the next year and Jared doesn't take over. She plans to make the camp as nice as it can by Visitors' Day when the parents come to see what their kids experienced at camp.
For the rest of camp, the cabins are repaired, signs are repainted, and the camp is cleaned up. It is also seen that Penny gets the letters that Elise wrote, which makes her very happy, and the relationship between Eli and Elise continues to grow as they spend more time together.
While Elise is teaching a craft lesson, Celia calls the camp, and Elise goes to answer the call in the office. Celia says that since the photo of Walker and her leaked, book sales skyrocketed, and she wants Elise to come back and oversee the memoir that Walker is writing. She also tells Elise that she read her manuscript and sees potential in it. However, Elise needs to be back the next morning if she wants her job back.
Elise goes into the craft hut where Allison and Maxine are teaching some older girls. Maxine proceeds to ask Elise to do several tasks to make sure everything is okay for the night and the next day, which is Visitors' Day, and Elise quietly tells Maxine that she can't do those things because she will be leaving camp that night. Allison has the campers leave before returning to hear what Elise has to say. Elise tells them that she got her job back and needs to be in Chicago the next day. Maxine is furious and says the entire "I just want to be me" talk was BS. She also states that Elise is being extremely selfish for just leaving. Elise responds that Maxine herself was selfish for orchestrating the entire "Save Camp Takota" idea and expecting them to all follow it as well as for keeping Allison there when she got accepted to a culinary school in Chicago. She says that Allison is scared to leave because of what Maxine might say. Maxine leaves, and Allison stays to say that Elise had no right to make decisions on her behalf before leaving as well.
Elise then gets her stuff together and gets her cell phone from the office, but it's dead. She asks Eli to borrow a phone to call a cab, but since the camp is so far out, it would take a while to get there to begin with. She tells him that she needs to leave and why, and Eli is crestfallen with the idea that what they had together and saving the camp wasn't real. He tells her to get her own ride and figure it out on her own. Elise has Chet drive her to the bus station instead.
In the kitchen, Maxine and Allison talk about what Elise said about the culinary school. Allison says that she's not entirely sure what she wants and is afraid that she wouldn't like culinary school or wouldn't be good enough. Maxine encourages her to go because that is what will make her happy like Camp Takota makes Maxine happy.
At the bus station, Elise spends the night on a bench, using her stuff as a pillow while thinks about everything that happened that summer. When she opens her purse, she finds a letter from Penny that says how thankful she is for having Elise there and for making camp fun for her. The last thing that is heard is the announcement that the Chicago bus was there and ready to leave.
It's Visitors' Day, and all of the campers are having fun with their parents showing them what they have done all summer and the friends they have made. Sally is proud of what Maxine has done and hopes that everything will end up okay. Jared shows up and continues to insult Maxine and the camp. Maxine simply walks away, showing Jared her ring finger. Jared gets upset and says he's, "worth the middle finger."
At the introduction for the parents, Maxine, Allison, and Elise as well as some other campers were supposed to perform the song that the three wrote when they were campers, but Elise isn't there. However, Elise quickly slips in before they start. They all perform the song together, and Elise apologizes for just leaving like she did.
That night, Maxine leads the closing campfire what will be the last for Camp Takota. Jared interrupts and tells the campers and parents about the Digital and Interactive Camp (D.I.C.) that Camp Takota will be turned into. Maxine tells them how Camp Takota was special to her and all of the memories she has from this place. She encourages the campers to not let Camp Takota go even if Jared takes over. On the side of the stage, Elise runs into Eli and apologizes for what she did the previous day. He accepts her apology and says he wants to continue their relationship. They are then interrupted when Allison tells Eli to go on stage as their guest storyteller since he is a writer. Elise is surprised that he is an author, an Allison justifies not telling her by saying she never outright lied. Eli tells the campers and their parents of the Camp Takota Ghost and how it is attracted to the campfire like the one they had that night. Rustling and twigs snapping is heard, and a dirty man steps out from the trees. It turns out to be Jeff, and Elise runs over to him to get him to leave. He is mad that she never returned his calls and is insistent that she has to give him a second chance. Eli steps in, and Elise almost says that he is her boyfriend, but stops herself quickly. Jeff is further angered and punches Eli. Eli fights back, and eventually Elise breaks them apart. She tells Jeff that their relationship was over and to go home. She then turns to Eli, tells him that she's incredibly turned on by what he just did, and kisses him while everyone watches and cheers.
Maxine, Elise, and Allison spend the night drinking, and the next morning Maxine and Elise are still sleeping when Allison comes in and tells them to see the huge line outside the Mess Hall. It turns out that the "ghost" from last night reminded past campers (parents) how magical camp could be and that they didn't want Jared influencing their kids. The all of the campers themselves also want to come back the next year as well. Chet tell them that over sixty percent of the camp is registered and the camp was saved. Maxine jumps on Chet, kissing him, and then tells him to wait in the woodshed for her. Kathy Fefferman then thanks Elise for everything she did for Penny that summer, and Allison is pulled away when she sees Lindsey Johnson, a former camper that she used to make out with and pretend they were "practicing."
By the lake, Allison, Maxine, and Elise sit and talk about the future plans for Camp Takota. Maxine immediately fires Allison so she can go to the culinary school in the city and thanks them for everything they did for her that summer.
In the end, it turns out that Allison does really well at culinary school, Maxine is able to enjoy her job as camp director, and Elise writes a book about the time she spent at camp and what she learned there while continuing her relationship with Eli.