Welcome to Camp North Star, a tenth-rate summer camp for the not-so-rich. Over six-hundred youngsters show up for fun and games away from mom and dad. The biggest kid of all is Tripper, head of CITS (Counselors in Training). He affectionately relates to North Star's two losers — "Spaz," a near-sighted clod, and Fink, an obese fellow. Tripper keeps up his attempts to win the love of Roxanne, a female counselor. He also takes Rudy, a twelve-year-old outsider who can't make it with his peers, under his wings.

Meatballs could have been just another Animal House were it not for Bill Murray's skills in portraying both Tripper's antics and his humanity. After being solidly thrashed by rival Camp Mohawk's basketball squad, Tripper's CITs lead the way to some good competition with the smug snobs in an Olympiad. Spaz and Fink win their share of glory and Rudy finds a measure of self-respect in a long-distance event. If you are looking for a nostalgic — and wacky — trip down memory lane to your own summer camp experiences, Meatballs is just what the doctor ordered.