For those of you who aren’t tuned into Disney Channel anymore, I’m here to fill you in on the only Disney Channel original movie from 2013, “Teen Beach Movie.” Why? Well, because it’s on Netflix, but also because “Teen Beach Movie 2” will be coming out this summer (2015) and you might want to be all caught up.
The short version? “Teen Beach Movie” is basically “West Side Story” meets “Beach Blanket Bingo,” “Grease,” and “Back to the Future,” but I’ll get into that more later…” The movie follows two lovestruck teens, Brady and Mack as they’re reaching the end of their summer together, and looking toward a future that seems a little bleak. Who would want to leave the beach, the surf, and their teenage love life for education? No one.
Desperate to capture the last bit of summer, and ride the best waves the beach has ever seen, our starlet Mack (McKenzie) goes out on some sketchy water and ends up eating it pretty hard. Brady bravely jumps on a jet ski and races out to save her, but suddenly the two find themselves surfacing on a calm, quiet beach. The pair discover that they have somehow ended up in the classic 1960’s film, “Wet Side Story,” and things just get kooky and musical from there.
* All the classic cheese you seek with Disney Channel Originals, and the predictability. Within the first ten minutes, you’ll probably guess the ending, but the fun is always in getting there. I was definitely surprised by some of the turns the movie took.
* Catchy tunes. Even the main characters get drawn in!
* Disney’s next Zac Efron? It’s okay to be attracted to him, he may play a teenager, but he’s 24. Although whether he’s into guys or girls is definitely up for debate.
* All the influence from other movies (Spoiler Alert) If you hadn’t guessed already, “Wet Side Story” essentially follows the same plot line of “West Side Story” which essentially follows the same plot line as “Romeo and Juliet.” Except for that no one dies in “Wet Side Story” as that wouldn’t be very Disney… unless one of the main characters’ mom died… Oh, wait.
In interviews the cast and crew mentions that they took a lot from “Beach Blanket Bingo,” which they did. The whole “surfers vs. bikers” in the 60’s… Same thing. Also, although it’s not as openly admitted, there was some influence from “Grease” in the slumber party scene and Mack’s biker chick makeover’s resemblance to Sandra Dee. And a touch of influence from the classic “Back to the Future” disappearance of people when the past doesn’t play out how it’s intended, making it impossible to get back to the future.
* The bikers had East coast accents and the surfers had West coast accents… the movie was filmed in Puerto Rico… but where is it actually supposed to be taking place?
* Love Issues (Spoiler Alert) The “Wet Side Story” characters think they find love at first sight when they meet Brady and Mack, and end up being completely wrong… but then they fall in love with each other in a matter of minutes. Did they not learn a lesson the first time?
* All the influence from other movies definitely had it’s downsides too, but I guess you’ll have to decide for yourself!
Look out for “Teen Beach Movie 2” this summer! If you hang around after the credits of “Teen Beach Movie,” you’ll easily figure out where the second movie is going, or you can just watch this recently released preview!