Sunday, June 28, 2015

Movie Review: Teen Beach 2

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Fun characters in a mostly fun story
Cons: The ending
The Bottom Line:
This fun beach sequel
Is let down by the ending
Wish I liked it more

“No Singing.”  “Not Even if it’s From the Heart and Moves the Story Along?”

I’ve got to admit, it took me a while to get into Teen Beach Movie, but by the end I was enjoying it.  So, naturally, I figured I’d enjoy Teen Beach 2, which The Disney Channel premiered over the weekend.  I actually had the opposite reaction to it.  I was enjoying it until the end.

Summer is ending for Brady (Ross Lynch) and Mack (Maia Mitchell), which means they’ve been dating 3 months now.  They have completely bonded over Wet Side Story and their adventure when they found themselves in the movie.  However, navigating their new relationship at school proves to be harder than they thought, especially since Mack is so driven by academics and Brady is hiding a secret.

Meanwhile, inside the world of Wet Side Story, things are going wrong as well.  Lela (Grace Phipps) has grown disenchanted with her part in the movie.  Sure, she’s the female lead, but she wants more than just wanting a guy.  When she swims off into the ocean, followed by male lead Tanner (Garrett Clayton), the craziest thing happens – they find themselves in the real world.  Now Brady and Mack have to figure out a way to convince the two characters to return home before they and the movie are erased from existence.

Since it had been a while since I’d seen the first movie, I watched the two back to back.  I liked that since I got to see just how nicely they tied in elements from the first movie into the second one.  Obviously, they had paid attention to those details, and they got them just right.  I will say I felt they changed Brady and Mack’s relationship for this movie to suit their purposes here, or at least how long they’d been dating.  But that was a mostly minor thing for me.

The story and songs are fun.  Yes, the characters still break into song at random times, even while in the real world.  There are some fun moments connected to that, although the movie isn’t quite as self-aware overall as the original was.  Still, there are some fun laughs and some drama along the way, and the songs provide for some great choreography.

The cast is great as well.  Yes, some of the performances are over the top, but they are supposed to be.  It fits the character one way or the other.

So where did this film go wrong?  It’s the ending.  I get what they were trying to do with it.  Really, I do.  It fits the theme, and I’d be okay with that.  However, what it does to some of the characters, I just don’t like.  Surely, they could find some other way to do that without ruining characters.

If you’re a fan of the original, odds are you already watching Teen Beach 2.  If not, you’ll definitely want to catch it for free before you buy it just to see what you think about what they’ve done to the characters in the end.

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