TV Review: ‘Teen Beach 2’

Teen Beach 2 Tv Review Disney
Disney Channel/Francisco Roman

Two years have passed since “Teen Beach Movie,” but just three months of time onscreen. And that offers about as much as anyone needs to know about the sequel, “Teen Beach 2,” which clearly feels no incentive to tamper with success. The only wrinkle, such as it is, involves reversing the first movie’s central conceit, bringing characters from a ’60s beach movie into the present-day real world, instead of vice versa. But all that – and the other plot threads stitched together from various sources – is a pretty thin excuse to reunite the gang to dance and sing again.

To its credit, Disney Channel’s commitment to live-action musicals introduces its audience to a genre that doesn’t gain much exposure elsewhere on TV, so the second-guessing should be kept to a minimum. That said, given that some parents will doubtless be lulled into sitting through these exercises with their kids, it behooves them to make the between-the-music sequences as painless as possible.

That objective isn’t helped by letting the movie run 104 minutes, which results in additional clunky dialogue and exposition to connect the musical numbers generated by a small army of songwriters and producers, and choreographed by Christopher Scott and director Jeffrey Hornaday. While a few of those performances stand out – including a clever one about how much better it is to be in the movies – there’s a semi-numbing sameness to the pop hooks and vocals.

As for the plot, well, beyond the obvious “The Purple Rose of Cairo” riffs (again), “Grease” is the word. Because while surfers Brady (Ross Lynch) and Mack (Maia Mitchell) were brought together by their adventure in the movie “Wet Side Story,” now that summer’s over, they find themselves mismatched now that they’re back in school – her an ambitious overachiever, him a slacker who misses a College Fair. “It’s almost like the school you wants nothing to do with me!” Brady pouts.

Fortunately (or not), fiction intrudes, with the two leads from the movie, Lela (Grace Phipps) and Tanner (Garrett Clayton), stumbling into Brady and Mack’s world. Although the two real kids fret about the possible consequences, the celluloid ones are so dazzled by modern gizmos (among them the smartphone and disembodied voice of Siri) that they’re in no hurry to retreat to their two-dimensional realm, even if it risks falling apart without them.

Everything else is really just the storytelling equivalent of pulling taffy, trying to create enough impediments to keep the narrative clunking along until the next spontaneous outbreak of song. Thankfully, there’s a great deal of talent on the screen, though the words generally sound far better when sung than spoken.

Ever since “High School Musical,” Disney has been enamored with mining this niche, and why not? Not only do the movies garner high ratings, they offer ancillary benefits (including the original music) to feed its merchandising pipeline, and a platform to launch new programs — in this case, a sitcom with its own time-travel twist, “Best Friends Whenever.”

With that in mind, another trip to the beach seems inevitable, although having now explored both sides of this plot, some new wrinkles are probably in order. Pirates? Or dinosaurs? After all, as long as you’re going back in time and pilfering from movies, why not pull out the big guns?

TV Review: 'Teen Beach 2'

(Movie; Disney Channel, Fri. June 26, 8 p.m.)

Production

Filmed in Puerto Rico by Rainforest Prods.

Crew

Executive producers, Michelle Manning, David Buelow; producer, Michael O. Gallant; director, Jeffrey Hornaday; writers, Matt Eddy, Bill Eddy; story by Dan Berendsen, Robert Horn; camera, Mark Irwin; production designer, Jennifer Dehghan; editor, David Finfer; choreography, Christopher Scott, Hornaday; music, David Lawrence; songwriters/producers, Mitch Allan, Dan Book, Nikki Leonti, Evan Bogart, Riker Lynch, Rocky Lynch, Ross Lynch,  Ellington Ratliff,  Jens Koerkemeier, Matthew Tishler, Amy Powers, Niclas Molinder, Joacim Persson, Charlie Mason, Johan Alkenas, Twin, Jeannie Lurie, Aris Archontis, Chen Neeman, Faye Greenberg, Adam Schlesinger, Sam Hollander, Josh Edmondson, Charity Daw, S.A.M, Bobby Huff, John Feldmann; casting, Jason La Padura, Natalie Hart, Julie Gale. 104 MIN.

Cast

Ross Lynch, Maia Mitchell, Grace Phipps, Garrett Clayton, John DeLuca, Chrissie Fit, Jordan Fisher, Mollee Gray, Kent Boyd, William T. Loftis, Jessica Lee Keller, Piper Curda, Ross Butler, Raymond Cham Jr.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 11

Leave a Reply

11 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. kimberly says:

    I love the movie while they put a lot of movies on Disney channel

  2. kat says:

    so wrong yet u think u are so smart its wonderful and age appropriate

  3. K says:

    Trying to keep kids interested in music, and musicals…more age appropriate stuff—like summertime–getting out–making friends. When I was younger–I’d have friends with all this drama—so here I’d be stuck on a Sunday afternoon while my Mom had to work on the yard; gardening–well, what to do? I’d put in my Mom’s old Elvis musicals and they’d cheer me up and remind me to try to enjoy life—even when surrounded by all this drama—it really helped me to maintain a positive attitude now my daughter is in school and yes, friends with drama…she got to get away from the pressures of today’s modern school life and just “hang loose” for awhile then took her to a water park to remind her it’s summer-take a break from everyone else’s drama.. Thank you Disney for trying to remind kids what it’s like to be a kid.

  4. C says:

    Teen Beach 2 was such a disappointment. Mack would’ve went with her aunt if she hadn’t met Brady. They made Brady totally sad and depressing. Mack is a killjoy. Lela makes a comment that Tanner actually thought of someone besides himself. But then she changes the movie and makes herself Queen. How ironic… And a shameless attempt to show girls they can be empowered.

  5. damian says:

    I loved that movie I watch that movie every day

  6. angel says:

    i give both a A and is the best movie every

  7. Madog says:

    Why the ending what happens are they still together or what

  8. Emily says:

    that was a rip off i waited 5 days to see that movie.1 to 10 i would give it a 6

  9. Abby says:

    Ok, we all thought that the idea of Teen Beach Movie was different and surprising the creators used TV star Ross Lynch (Brady) and The Fosters star Maia Mitchell (Mack/MacKenzie) as the two leads. Now we watch the new Disney channel sequel Teen Beach Movie 2, and you just don’t get a lot from it. Its not bad but its not good either. Most of the songs in Teen Beach Movie 2 sound a lot alike, unlike the first movie Teen Beach Movie 2 songs could’ve used some work. Also you see Brady (Ross Lynch) perform a song called “On my own” in TBM2, but you don’t ever see him become a famous musician in the movie. So he sings a song but then he doesn’t even tell anyone he wrote it? This wasn’t the real thing that bugged me about the movie, it was that the writers created Brady to be a free spirited, fun person except at the end of Teen Beach Movie 2 Brady looses his memory and he becomes like Mack. Together, and a little bit uptight. Mack then becomes how you would portray Brady, Mack’s favorite movie is Wet side story and its not Brady’s favorite movie anymore, she uses words like “Awesomest” which Brady used in the beginning of the flim and he doesn’t think that’s a real word at the end of the movie. Oh and a big part is that Mack likes to sing and Brady doesn’t this is all because Brady looses his memory! Well I don’t know if this was my favorite movie but I only recommend watching Teen Beach Movie!

  10. jermeia says:

    I love the beach

More TV News from Variety

Loading