The Beach Party Genre Lives On With 'Teen Beach 2'

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Our parents delighted in the zany, musical, beach party adventures of Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon. Started in 1963, with BEACH PARTY, there were a total of 7 movies made in the series. One year and 3 movies later, BIKINI BEACH was released and became the biggest moneymaker of the series and of any beach party genre film, at the time. Eventually Hollywood went on to make over 30 films in the inspired genre known as 'beach party movies'.

In 2013, Disney launched a bodacious new franchise of beach party movies with TEEN BEACH MOVIE. It tells a tale of two kids from high school, who find themselves magically teleported into the (also beach party) film-within-a-film: 'Wet Side Story'. TEEN BEACH 2 is the sequel that reunites main characters Mack (Maia Mitchell) and Brady (Ross Lynch), when Lela (Grace Phipps) and Tanner (Garrett Clayton) drop in from the fictional movie.

Picking up where TEEN BEACH MOVIE left off, at the end of summer vacation, TEEN BEACH 2 has Mack and Brady excited about seeing each other in school and promising that things won't change between them.

Drawing thematic elements from WEST SIDE STORY and the insta-classic GREASE, it tells a tale of two kids with different backgrounds who fall in love, but eventually discover they don't have very much in common. Mac is an organized, goal oriented individual who has dreams of continuing her education and doing something positive to help Earth's oceans. Brady is an aloof surfer who doesn't place a lot of value in school as he dreams of building the better surfboard.

Just as they're ready to part ways, Mack realizes she's lost the necklace given to her by Lela.

Meanwhile, back in 'Wet Side Story', Lela discovers that she wants the freedom to choose her own fate. She doesn't want to be confined by the script of the movie she's in. When she discovers Mack's necklace washed ashore, she enters the ocean with it, hoping the same magic that brought Mack to her world, would do the same for her. Worried, Tanner chases after her.

In typical beach party genre style, the musical pieces are fun and upbeat with choreography that will have your kids dancing in the living room. Seeking to hold on to the formula that has been so successful in the past, songs like 'Best Summer Ever' provide catchy chorus lines and melodies that make them a treat to listen to. 'Gotta Be Me' is rip-roaring, rock-n-roll fun as the cast gets to cut loose on the dance floor in a number that will have your kids (and you) utilizing the chapter selection feature on the DVD.

Ross Lynch, known for Disney's Austin and Ally and his music group R5, is a natural fit for the surfer dude stereotype. His solo performance of 'On my Own' invokes a Third Eye Blind sound as his voice emits both power and emotion. As a young singer/actor, Lynch has been around the Disney block for quite some time, but is bound to emerge as a big talent when he moves on from Disney.

From Mack, Brady, Tanner, Lela and the "people always standing around in the background whose names I don't know", TEEN BEACH 2 is full of fun, laughs and memorable characters. And while the ending does seem to drag out a bit, as they include a paradoxal twist, the 'Best Summer Ever' song and dance number helps you forget the slow down.

The DVD provides a nice behind the scenes featurette with cast interviews and insight into how scenes were filmed. Included is a closer look at some of the bigger dance numbers and some candid moments between the actors. It also comes with a replica of Lela's necklace, so your child can feel like a part of the magic. Saying that my daughter enjoyed the movie would not be worth reporting, as it's aimed at her demographic. But when I noticed that my older (teenaged) boys had settled in to watch it, and enjoyed it, I was shocked! This movie connected with the entire family and had everything you need in a beach party genre film, including the kitchen sink (literally)!

The movie is sure to find a permanent home in the disc tray for multiple replays.

Keeping the beach party genre alive, TEEN BEACH 2 is a gnarly addition that will max out the fun and leave your kids stoked for more!

Grade: 
4.0 / 5.0