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11-year-old Gerry Garner lives in Long Island, New York, and is overweight. His parents decide to send him to Camp Hope, a camp for overweight boys. It is owned by kindly Harvey Bushkin and his equally kind wife, Alice. When they file for bankruptcy, the camp has to be sold. It is bought by a wacko named Tony Perkis. He plans to force the campers to lose as much weight as they can, and also intends to document the marathon shedding of weight and use it for an infomercial for his slenderizing program. In the eyes of the campers, he has made Camp Hope a living hell. As Gerry and counselor Pat Finley lead the efforts to overthrow him, the campers prepare for the Apache Relay against arch rival Camp MVP. The Apache Relay is a kind of race in which Camp Hope has never defeated Camp MVP before.