To the Beat! Back 2 School

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
To the Beat! Back 2 School Movie Poster Image
Amateurish, predictable teen competition story with music.
  • NR
  • 2020
  • 92 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Promote friendship, giving others room to grow, recovering from mistakes.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters -- some superficial and self-absorbed -- learn to work out differences, cheer for others. Some parents are buffoons; others are reliable. School teachers and staff (with few exceptions) are exaggerated, foolish. Stereotyping throughout. Ethnic diversity.

Violence
Sex

Some mildly provocative dancing. 

Language

Some name-calling (i.e., "monsters," "loser"). Characters are often mean-spirited to one another.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that To the Beat! Back 2 School is the sequel to To the Beat!, a direct-to-DVD movie from 2018. Familiar faces are back at Valley Performing Arts School after spring break. The ongoing dissension in the student body is ever present. And, a new competition finds the teens vying for two-week summer scholarships at a prestigious NYC conservatory. Other than mild insults, snarky sarcasm, some mildly provocative dancing, and hurt feelings, there's nothing iffy in the movie. Adults run the gamut from foolishness to outrageousness; only one parental figure and one teacher escape ridicule. There's ethnic diversity in the film. 

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What's the story?

TO THE BEAT! BACK 2 SCHOOL begins just after spring break at Valley Performing Arts School. A new romance is revealed, plans are being made for the school's upcoming dance, and the principal announces an "unprecedented" competition. New York City's prestigious Triad Conservatory of Fine Arts will award three two-week scholarships to students of acting, vocal, and dance. There will be a Year-End Showcase at which the head of the Triad Conservatory will judge the competition and announce the winners. The students at VPA prepare both for the dance and the showcase, but personal rivalries, bad behavior, and miscommunication often cause them to lose focus. By the end of the spring quarter, loyalties will be established, relationships will fall or flourish, and winners will be crowned.  

Is it any good?

Astonishingly poorly executed, corny, and irritating, this sequel has nothing to recommend it. Neither the director nor the writer of To the Beat! Back 2 School was of any help to this group of eager young performers. They were given nothing smart to say and nothing thoughtful or real to play. Instead, there's a lot of mean-spirited, petulant behavior from the majority of teens. There's not a moment of subtlety; the jokes are lame. The musical numbers are tepid and unoriginal. The most cringe-inducing sequence is a final dance number featuring a girl performing all the moves one might see on a kids' reality TV dance show, including some that are inappropriately suggestive. The adult actors seem to have been encouraged to give embarrassingly over-the-top performances. Not recommended.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about film sequels. How do you think companies decide whether or not to create a sequel or sequels to a movie? What elements in To the Beat! do you think the filmmakers were hoping to capitalize upon? If you were a fan of the original, did this new one meet your expectations? Why or why not?

  • Think about the teachers and staff portrayed in the film. Which, if any, were role models? What was the primary function of the faculty members in To the Beat! Back 2 School? Explain your answer.

  • When a film is described as "low budget" or made on a "shoestring budget," what does it mean? Does lack of funding for a project necessarily indicate low quality? Think of some of your favorite movies that could be described as low budget. What made them special? How did the filmmakers make the best use of the limited money they had?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love dance

Themes & Topics

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