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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Teen Beach 2 brings viewers more of the dynamic musical theater that made the original Teen Beach Movie a smashing success. This story sees the fictional movie characters who hosted Brady and Mack in the original tale dropping in on their real-life counterparts in the real world, setting up many hilarious moments that emphasize the cultural and technological differences between the two times and places. Even better, it inspires empowering changes in '60s symbol Lela, who takes increasing confidence in asserting herself and standing up to the status quo. The story stumbles in a few spots, and a late plot twist may cause some dismay for fans, but that pales in comparison to the lively song-and-dance numbers and worry-free content that make this movie a fun watch for the whole family.
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What's the story?
TEEN BEACH 2 opens as summer draws to a close for surfing soul mates Brady (Ross Lynch) and Mack (Maia Mitchell). After three months of fun in the sun -- not to mention the magical foray on the set of Wet Side Story, a '60s beach-party movie that led them to each other -- they face the new school year with some trepidation, not knowing how the change will affect their summer romance. Trouble crops up quickly as overachiever Mack grows weary of Brady's nonchalance about school and vice versa, but when Wet Side Story's leading couple, Tanner (Garrett Clayton) and Lela (Grace Phipps), show up in their world, they must set aside their differences to get the characters back to their own world before they cease to exist.
Is it any good?
Lest we forget how masterfully Disney can capitalize on a good concept, this TV movie makes a solid case with a second round of energetic song-and-dance numbers guaranteed to delight fans. From the opening scene to the closing credits, this sequel strings together one far-out musical theater number after another, culminating in a visually impressive production that kids and tweens will love and parents will tolerate with ease. The topsy-turvy plot, which brings the fictional-yet-flesh-and-bones characters into Brady and Mack's real world, creates some logistical hurdles and dialogue that's flimsy in spots, but that's easily overlooked in light of the hilarity that follows two '60s movie icons experiencing 21st-century life (motion-sensor showers, Segways, and Siri!) for the first time.
One particularly bright spot in Teen Beach 2 concerns its prominent message of female empowerment. Inspired by having met self-assured Mack in the first movie, Lela starts thinking for herself and questioning her role in the carefully choreographed movie story, causing all kinds of comical chaos on the Wet Side Story set and eventually leading her to Mack's world. What ensues changes her for the better but has unintended consequences for Brady and Mack, setting up a surprising last-minute plot twist for both leading couples.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Teen Beach 2 presents its female characters. What differences exist between Mack and Lela at the movie's start? In what ways is Mack a positive influence on Lela as the story progresses? How do these two characters compare to others you see on TV shows and in movies?
Have you ever struggled with a relationship that's hampered by the parties' differences? Can every case be remedied, or are some beyond help? In what ways can differences be a positive force in a friendship?
Kids: Do you like this movie's musical-theater style? Do the song-and-dance numbers ever feel out of place in the story? Does watching this make you want the soundtrack?
- On DVD or streaming: June 26, 2015
- Cast: Maia Mitchell, Ross Lynch, Grace Phipps
- Director: Jeff Hornaday
- Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, High School, Music and Sing-Along
- Character Strengths: Integrity
- Run time: 104 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
- Awards/Honors: Common Sense Seal
- Last updated: March 14, 2020
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