Meatballs - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Meatballs Reviews

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Mark H.
Super Reviewer
½ April 9, 2017
I was somewhat surprised to see a 75% rating on RT, and I'm almost certain that was NOT the reception it received from critics in 1979. This movie, if I am not mistaken, was almost universally panned by critics back then. I don't know if people are sentimental about this movie, or if our standards and mindsets have changed. In any event, Meatballs is actually a very sweet film, unfairly criticized as an Animal House-type rip off. It's actually not very vulgar, or sexy, or offensive at all. Perhaps in 1979, people were more easily shocked? Meatballs features Bill Murray in his very first lead roll, and he carries the movie from start to finish. The history of how this movie got made, and how Murray was hardly a lock to play Tripper is worth a Google. Ivan Reitman wanted a shot at directing a teen comedy after he was denied the director's chair on Animal House. He produced it instead, and when given the chance, soon after directed Meatballs. This movie most likely would be long forgotten had Murray passed on it. However, there is just enough goofy camp situations and supporting character development to make this movie worth while. What is most surprising about this movie is how sentimental and sweet it really is. You have to be a fairly cynical person to dislike the harmlessness of this film. It isn't a great film by any means, but it manages to be a little touching, a little funny, and is very easy to watch. This is a good choice for young teenagers who desperately want to see Porky's or Animal House, but aren't old enough for that just yet. A nice effort from a virtual novice (in film) from Murray, the SNL newbie and National Lampoon alum. Worth a spot in the genre's hall of fame. Honorable mention, anyway.
January 15, 2017
Bill Murray is the best
October 30, 2016
one of Bill Murray's greatest work of arts continous laughing and a great family movie
August 19, 2016
Comedy about a teen who attends a wild summer camp and befriends a crazy camp counselor. It's predictable premise hampers what could've been a bright, funny and intelligent film.
½ August 14, 2016
Okay comedy. Not as mean spirited as I was expecting. Some of the early scenes show characters getting put down and mistreated, but in the end, they gain the acceptance of their peers.

Having never been on a summer camp, many of the jokes went over my head.
August 5, 2016
Summer camp given the goofy make-over with some good scenes.
½ July 25, 2016
Between the summer camp setting, the colorful characters, and the casual aimlessness, Meatballs is fun, if flawed, summer viewing. It's an easy film to enjoy, running only 92 minutes and not requiring any hard thinking or overly emotional moments to ponder over. It's just a bunch of kids and young adults getting into all kinds of shenanigans, led by a charismatic Bill Murray. In fact, Bill Murray is the driving force behind this movie: surrounded by a cast of generally unmemorable characters, Murray's childlike camp counselor is highly entertaining. His character is at his finest when he's interacting with young introverted camper Rudy (Chris Makepeace), who looks up to Murray's Tripper as a sort of big brother figure throughout the film. The rest of the subplots, including but not limited to a basketball game with a rival camp and the multitude of relationships and love triangles among campers, lack the same kind of charm, and are much more forgettable.

There's not a lot to Meatballs overall. It's a harmless piece of summer entertainment that is sure to delight you in some way. Ivan Reitman's direction isn't anything flashy and the script (partially written by Harold Ramis) is aimless, but Bill Murray is expectedly amusing in a film that is just fun, for a lack of better wording.
May 26, 2016
I know this is regarded as a comedy classic of sorts, and was Murray and Reitman's first big movie (kinda) but I gotta admit it does not hold up as well as their other films of that time. It just seemed dated and corny and predictable. I will say Murray gives a great performance, it definitely proved that he was a star and leading man, and him and chris makepeace have some nice scenes together, but most the jokes just fall flat, despite all that though, it does leave you feeling happy, it just has so much energy and positivity that I cant hate it, but definitely not as classic as some may make it out to be
May 22, 2016
Billy Murray's film debut is a great movie to watch during the summer time, and it will always be a good classic.
½ May 18, 2016
Now there's a great summer camp comedy. Was a nice way to wash the taste of Wet Hot outta my mouth. lol. It's basically like Animal House at summer camp.
½ January 8, 2016
It is funny and is okay other then that it is a highlight for Bill Murray's acting
October 26, 2015
Wacky, funny, slapstick silly.
August 6, 2015
This movie isn't funny. Bill Murray isn't funny.
May 4, 2015
Meh. Overrated. Bill Murray is ok, but most of it is boring. Look for a very young Matt Craven (K2, High Incident).
½ March 31, 2015
Meatballs is a decent film. It is about the wacky hijinks of counselors and campers at a less-than-average summer camp. Bill Murray and Harvey Atkins good performances. The script has some laughs but a little slow in places. Ivan Reitman did an alright job directing this movie. I liked this motion picture because of the humor.
Super Reviewer
February 28, 2015
Murray's first starring feature as SNL was in its third year. Murray's Tripper is still "not ready for prime time." This low-low-budget Canadian picture is rough all around.
February 1, 2015
Bill Murray's first time stepping up to the big league of an actor tackling a main role resulted a breakthrough as his fine performance is one of his best comedically. His presence is what made this summer camp comedy fun and hilarious, with Ivan Reitman directing after attending "Animal House" in the school season before transitioning to the summer season - a nice comedic pair. (B+)

(Full review coming soon)
December 29, 2014
It's a fun little film that really offers nothing new or exciting.
Bill Murray plays the head counselor at summer camp in the film that has the regular cliches of a summer camp movie...i.e nerd trying to impress girl, guys spying on girls, camp games etc.

Murray was 29 during this movie and was pretty funny here with his mannerisms. Nothing real exciting but a fun film.
½ December 3, 2014
Awesome funny old 70s movie. Funny with Bill Murray and a great camping movie. My question for this movie is why is it called meatballs. Funny and a great classic!
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