2015 / Director. Jeffrey Hornaday.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
The first TEEN BEACH movie caught me off guard and I absolutely loved it. Made as a Disney Channel Original it harked back to the classic beach party films of the 1960s and introduced that fun, free and innocent brand of entertainment to a whole new generation of kids. The premise was simple but the execution was wonderful. Two regular teenage kids were magically zapped in to a classic beach movie where everyone sings & dances and all worries are trivial.
TEEN BEACH 2 picks up shortly after the events of the first movie with our two teenage protagonists back home and about to start their final year of high school. With the weight of the real world bearing down on them, they find themselves dealing with real-life problems such as university decisions and uncertainty about the future. Where the previous instalment had the two of them venture into movie-land, this follow up has the two fictional movie characters stepping out into the real world. Of course the consequence is a fish-out-of-water story where modern life and a wholesome 60s lifestyle meet and clash.
I was surprised to have really enjoyed the first movie and I was as equally surprised by how much I enjoyed this sequel. The original cast returns and a whole new string of songs have been written. The performances are very solid with Garret Clatyon stealing the show AGAIN and offering a truly excellent spin on the dim-witted heartthrob type. Barry Bostwick is missing from the frivolity but the average teen viewers wouldn’t even notice.
The film also offers a less then subtle social commentary, which was absent from the original. With the 1960’s characters exposed to the modern world they observe how disconnected and depressing our lives have become. Kids watching this film might begin to comprehend that being consumed by electronics is cumbersome and anti-social. Of course a silly little movie is never going to influence change in behaviours but if TEEN BEACH 2 has teenagers reflecting on their own habits, then that’s not a bad thing at all.
TEEN BEACH 2 is a strong sequel to the unsuspecting original hit. Children, parents and grandparents alike can take something from it. It is fun, very silly and completely harmless. Disney has cottoned on to a wonderful concept and it would be nice to see it enjoy a smidgen of the success that the HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL series received.