Teen Beach Movie

Movie review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Teen Beach Movie Movie Poster Image
Parents recommend
Heavily marketed musical is wholesome fun for tweens.
  • G
  • 2013
  • 110 minutes

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 14 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 77 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

The movie intends to entertain rather than educate, but there are some strong messages about self-awareness and appreciating individuality.

Positive Messages

Viewers see a teen wrestle with conflicting emotions about her future goals and the expectations placed on her by others. The process teaches her to listen to her heart and trust her instincts, which earns her the respect of those around her and gives her a stronger self-identity. Positive relationships with friends and family are a source of strength for many of the characters. Because the story exists in two different eras, there are some gender stereotypes that exist in scenes set in the past (girls make it their goal to land a boyfriend, guys assume the dominant role in relationships, etc.) that are then challenged by the modern-day characters, with positive messages about gender equality, tolerance, and individuality.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Brady and McKenzie help make good changes in Tanner's and Lela's lives by inspiring them to stand up for what they believe. It's their willingness to challenge the status quo that changes how the teens think and winds up saving them all.

Violence & Scariness

The movie's villains are more comical than they are intimidating, but they do hold teens hostage and stun one with a ray gun at one point. There's some brief peril and a few moments during which a main character's safety is in question, all with predictably happy results.

Sexy Stuff

Brady and McKenzie are an item throughout the story, but their physical contact is limited to hugging and a couple of near-kisses. Other teen relationships develop as the story unfolds, all with similarly innocent expressions of affection.


The Teen Beach Movie’s marketing machine churns out products like apparel, accessories, and home decor; a soundtrack featuring the movie's 12 songs is available on iTunes and in stores; Radio Disney events around the country distribute promotional items bearing the movie's name and the stars' images; and other promotions are linked to One Direction and R5 (Ross Lynch's band) concerts.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that, like High School Musical before it, Teen Beach Movie is a marketing conglomerate designed to sell not just the movie, but also the extensive line of clothing, home decor, accessories, and, of course, a soundtrack associated with it. Tweens will flock to this highly promoted movie, thanks in part to their familiarity with stars like Ross Lynch, who hail from other Disney projects, and they won't be disappointed in the story's entertaining blend of nostalgia, comedy, and sweet teen romance. For their part, parents will be pleased with the movie's worry-free family friendly story that also sends wholesome messages about individuality, self-awareness, and positive relationships.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byioindc August 13, 2013

Great movie, but a big plot fault that needs some explanation

This is a big hit in our family, as the kids (8 and 5) sing along and dance to the tunes. I was very nervous about the commercials -- in particular one shot of... Continue reading
Adult Written byChar16 February 2, 2020

I’m 20 and I think it’s great

Ive watched this film as few times when babysitting for a family with girls aged around 8 and 12 and honestly I think it’s quite good. The songs are quite catch... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byKarateKid03 October 10, 2018

Love It!!!

The songs are GREAT! I think this would make for a fun family movie
or a tween/teen sleepover movie!! One of my favorites from Disney.
Kid, 12 years old July 8, 2016


This is my favorite movie. The actress' and actors are great. the movie has a positive message and the music is great. VERY WELL WRITTEN!!!

What's the story?

As summer winds down, surfers Brady (Ross Lynch) and McKenzie (Maia Mitchell) are determined to make the most of every last wave, but a bitter reality sets in when McKenzie's aunt arrives to usher her off to an exclusive prep school that will chart a new course for her future. Hoping to catch one last magical moment, McKenzie attempts to ride a monster wave, but she and Brady find themselves transported back in time and into the plot of his favorite beach-set movie, "Wet Side Story." Suddenly they’re caught in the middle of a turf war between surfers and bikers and inadvertently disrupt the romantic plot between stars Lela (Grace Phipps) and Tanner (Garrett Clayton), making themselves the objects of their affection. Desperate to find a way home, Brady and McKenzie try to redirect Lela's and Tanner's advances toward each other, thwart the plans of a couple of bumbling villains, and smooth over the disagreements between the rivaling gangs on the beach –- all while sidestepping breakout song-and-dance numbers in this melodious musical.

Is it any good?

TEEN BEACH MOVIE does more than pay homage to beach-party classics; it re-creates one into which it can drop modern-day characters and watch the fun begin. And begin it does, thanks to crafty writing and charismatic stars who light up the screen from the get-go. It's hard to pick a favorite between Brady's childish glee over partaking in his beloved movie plot and McKenzie's comical exploitations of classic movie cliches. The push-and-pull between the two is a delightful dynamic, setting the tone for other fantastic character interplays and some entertaining -– if predictably sanitized -– turns of events. Add to that a couple of bumbling villains with an ill-fated evil plot, and toe-tapping musical numbers aplenty, and you've got a story guaranteed to delight.

There's no doubt Disney knows how to design a quality product, but Teen Beach Movie also illustrates how adept the company is at marketing those products. Reassigning established stars ensures a pool of existing fans; tying the brand name to everything from bedding to lunch boxes promises it stays in the public eye; and linking it to a soundtrack of brand-new songs yields multiple platforms on which today's tweens can make it part of their vernacular. Happily, though, this is the only concern in an otherwise delightful offering for tweens, and it doesn’t waste the opportunity to promote some great messages about listening to your heart, respecting others, and being true to your individuality.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether this is an accurate portrayal of teen life. Do you find Brady and McKenzie's relationship realistic? What challenges do they face? How might you cope with them in a different way?

  • Tweens: Have you ever been in a situation that called for you to stand up to your peers? Why is that hard to do? How do you handle peer pressure?

  • Talk to your kids about how the media influences us. Prior to seeing this movie, how often did you see it promoted? Did that make you want to watch it? How do advertisements change our buying habits?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love musicals

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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