2013 / Director. Jeffrey Hornaday.
No, your eyes aren't deceiving you. I watched Disney's new TEEN BEACH MOVIE... and here's the kicker - I loved it. Having an affection for the classic beach movies of the 60's starring Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon definitely helps. Two teenagers living in a coastal surf-side town are magically whisked into a 1960's surf movie where they find themselves part of the plot. Brady knows the movie verbatim and feels like he's in heaven but his girlfriend McKenzie hates the era and feels like she's in Hell. The days are full of singing, dancing and surfing... and the nights are spent at a local diner where everyone sings and dances some more. The surfers hate the bikers and the bikers hate the surfers. I was prepared to be generous with TEEN BEACH MOVIE but there is no need for generosity. It's genuinely good. It recaptures the classic beach-movies brilliantly and all of the teen actors fully understand the kitsch. The guy who plays the dumb surfer hunk is particularly good. He nails it. As the movie progresses the girlfriend embraces the fun starts to re-educate the other girls about women's liberation and freedom to be themselves. It's a clever movie devoid of twerking, sexting and all other modern teenage absurdities. Modesty is sexy and manners define people (it comes off like a tweeny version of Pleasentville). The songs are really good (within the genre) and the choreography is great and I hope that teenagers embrace this. According to my sales reports so far, they have. A final little treat is the inclusion of Barry Bostwick. He plays the surf-shop owning grandfather. He barely says a word throughout the entire film but his very presence lends it a bit of extra oomph. Fun fun fun in the sun!