Take a strange Zac Efron look-alike, give him a bad haircut, add a splash of Princess Diaries-era Erik von Detten, and you’ll get A Week Away’s lead actor, Kevin Quinn. He plays Will Hawkins, a “troubled” teenage boy in the hands of Children and Family Services whose worsening criminal record has landed him an ultimatum: go to juvie, or spend a week at Christian summer camp. Naturally, he heads to Camp Aweegaway with a foster mom (Sherri Shepherd) and her son (Jahbril Cook) for a series of adventures that consist of bad musical numbers, little plot, no character development, and a cliche storyline entirely shown in the movie’s two-minute trailer.
I wasn’t expecting the next High School Musical or anything—I thought maybe A Week Away would offer some camp nostalgia, a few rom-com tropes, maybe even a Teen Beach Movie-style guilty pleasure bop. But this movie is truly, astonishingly bad. At every turn, I was predicting with rolled eyes the next thing to happen, only to end up laughing/screaming when it was even more nonsensical than I could have guessed. A Week Away thinks it’s taking on big topics like trauma and spirituality and community, but there’s so little development and audience investment that nothing lands at all. And the music only brought the story down further. A mix of original music (from Adam Watts, who shockingly also worked on High School Musical and other Disney feats) and contemporary Christian standards combine to make a confusing and forgettable soundtrack so far away from Broadway conventions that it’s often unpleasant to the ear. The one fine song worth listening to is “Baby, Baby”—but only up to the 1:20 mark, when it devolves back to the quality of the others.
Look, if Netflix wants to make a fun Christian musical to reach families and wider audiences, that’s fine! But if they thought A Week Away was it? God help them.