If you ever wondered what one of those cool Old Navy ads would look like as a full length movie, Disney’s Teen Beach Movie is your answer. It was impossible to take your eyes off of, and it mixed in clever, catchy, cheesy, and cute.
Time will tell if Teen Beach Movie can rise to the level of High School Musical, but if anything could, it will be this movie. It was a combination of everything Disney has done well with some tried and true Americana staples thrown in. Part high-school musical, all-white cast, ridiculously catchy songs, some cheesy 1960s beach throwback moments, high energy, time travel, and maybe a little Back to the Future, Grease, and Glee, it was a pretty good recipe.
I laughed more than a few times (“I’m trying to shoot these angry birds.”).
Stars of the flick included Disney’s next batch of teen heart throbs, Ross Lynch, Maia Mitchell, Garrett Clayton, and Grace Phipps. Turn the sound down and you’d still have a compelling reason to watch, but luckily it was more than just eye candy …there was candy for the ears and maybe the heart, too.
Without giving away too much, it was the story of a girl wrestling with fulfilling the hopes and dreams of her deceased mother against her budding romance with a boy on a beach in California and her love of surfing and, oh, her confusion on what she wants to be when she grows up. Should she stay “a surfer” or head back east with her Aunt and become some stressed out kid at some fancy schmancy ivy league school? Or stay in California and surf, dude?
Oh, what’s a girl to do?
Luckily, like George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life learned about life with the help of an angel and seeing what the world would be like if he was never born, our lead, Mack, finds her answer after being transported into the past and into a fictitious surfer movie world. Once there, she sees life doesn’t have to be so serious and you can have fun all the time, so her decision is …you’ll have to see for yourself.
It’s a great message for our youth, for sure. Keep on surfin’. But, truthfully, I’d choose a few more summers of surfing and living with my grandpa and hanging out with Ross Lynch on the beach.
If there will be one knock against the movie, it might be how they forced some feminist, woman-power into the plot, as Mack tries to liberate her fictitious 1960s beach movie girlfriends. Wasn’t it enough that she was simply wrestling with love and life choices? Did we think she was going to change the world inside a weird alternative universe?
Then again, it sets up for an easy sequel. A funny aside at the end might be only that, but if Teen Beach Movie explodes into our pop-culture like some other Disney offerings, we’ll soon learn what it would be like if the fictional characters of a 1960s beach movie were time-warped into our world. Oh, one can only imagine.
In a nutshell, Disney’s done it again. My household (10 and 6 year old girls) couldn’t wait for the premier, downloaded the soundtrack the next day, have been singing the songs all weekend, and they watched the sing-a-long version of the movie again last night. I’ll very likely always remember summer of 2013 as the year of the Teen Beach Movie.
We give it 4 out of 5 spunkybeans.
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Premiered on Disney Channel, Friday night at 8, Eastern and Pacific times; 7, Central time.
Produced by Rainforest Productions, LLC. Directed by Jeffrey Hornaday; written by Vince Marcello, Mark Landry and Robert Horn; David Buelow, executive producer; Robert F. Phillips, producer; choreographed by Mr. Hornaday and Chris Scott.
WITH: Ross Lynch (Brady), Maia Mitchell (McKenzie), Grace Phipps (Lela), Garrett Clayton (Tanner), John Deluca (Butchy), Chrissie Fit (Cheechee), Jordan Fisher (Seacat), Mollee Gray (Giggles), Kent Boyd (Rascal), William T. Loftis (Lugnut), Jessica Lee Keller (Struts), Kevin Chamberlin (Dr. Fusion), Steve Valentine (Les Camembert), Suzanne Cryer (Aunt Antoinette) and Barry Bostwick (Big Poppa).