Friday, June 26, 2015

Movie Review: Teen Beach 2: Back to the Beach: Part II: Back to Teen Beach 2: Back to the Beach

This is part 2! You'll find part 1 here:

Continuing off...

Yeah, lack of laugh track is good, but have you ever seen a multi-cam style sitcom (aka stuff like Seinfeld, Friends, Boy Meets World) without one? It's weird. It actually screws with the flow. The set-up actually kind of calls for it. It's only single-camera sitcoms (aka stuff like The Office, New Girl, Community) that works without them, in my opinion.

As for the greaser guy who thinks he's Harley Keiner, my guess with him is he was an important character in the first one. If Tanner was the Romeo, and Lela was the Juliet, he was probably the Tybalt. Only because he's a Disney Channel antagonist, probably they all became friends at the end. So, because he (and the rest of them) don't fit into into this new storyline, they're struggling to give him something to do, even though there's no reason for him anymore. Not sure if you're familiar, but I'm going to call him Yamcha.

Sorry, buddy, I just can't get into Lela the way you can, math or no. Character's cool, actress is good, and she's pretty, but my feelings for her are strictly platonic. Mac's more my type. Or maybe that other biker chick who doesn't talk as much.

In general, so far, I suspect this movie's working for you more than it is for me. Which is fun to discover! Let's continue.

"Play the Scene" is by far the worst song in this movie so far. It's, just, not pleasant to listen to.

I dunno, man, I think they're going to be able to figure it out where somehow Lela gets to stay. Maybe Tanner too, but maybe just Lela. Tanner doesn't seem to need to be here.

Oh, wow, Yamcha is actually Lela's brother? I didn't even realize that. He's definitely the Tybalt of the first one. I'll call him Tybalt instead. Why does he have a Brooklyn accent when she doesn't? And such horrid grammar? Also, why does he have a Brooklyn accent if he's from, apparently, California? Same question to Gigi. Also, I like Gigi, but they gotta stop making beehive jokes. We get it. It's a weird hairdo. It's like something's balancing on her head and might tip her over! Comedy!

Wow. Now everyone's in the real world? Yikes. I don't think they're going to keep them controlled!

Everyone's saying goodbye and planning on heading back but.... there's 30 more minutes left in this movie so... I don't think it's going to take.

Dance time! I bet we're heading to the climax. Climaxes are always at the dance.

Lame. Spencer ended up with the mousy friend. Spencer should've been a bigger part of this movie.

Man, do you see Mac in that dress? Lela who?

"'Sup, dude? You know, school dances aren't usually my scene, but this fruit punch is actually pretty nectar!" Bet you can't guess whose line that was!

Oh, hey, look they're all back. But, rather than it being because somehow this didn't work, or Lela changes her mind, or something more dramatic... they just decided to come back real quick to fix Mac and Brady's relationship. So this is just extended falling action, really. The basic plot of the movie is already over. I find that structurally unsound. Hope I'm wrong. Anyway, Tanner concludes Brady's problem is a lack of confidence which... doesn't really strike me as what Brady's issue is, but it seems to strike a chord. Time to play a song.

And, aha, here's "I've Gotta Be Me" the apparent showstopper since this is the one Disney Channel advertised like crazy. It's good, definitely the best song in the movie, and the moves they're all showing are great. Not gonna lie - Mac's sexy as hell when she's up, and Devon shows off quite a few impressive back flips (and it really seems to be him doing it.) He's also really early for a low-five he and Brady are supposed to do (or else Brady's late) so Devon just stands there with his hand extended for too long until Brady does it. Go back and watch it and see if you notice. I think Brady's late. It looks like he maybe forgot for a second.

The usually silent blonde beach bunny also does a few flips. I think I know why they were hired. Good tune, so good that I'll forgive that at one point Brady rhymes "wave" with "waves". Still, maybe they should have edited out the sounds of Brady and Devon's sneakers squeaking against the gym floor as they do their dancing? Sounded like a freaking NBA game.

Also, didn't mean to break my rule, but I was trying to look up "Fallin' For Ya" and I found this: 

So, it's a reprise! That's why it was in there. I bet the fans loved it and didn't find it filler. And it looks like the plot of the original involved Mac and Brady's presence screwing things up where Lela likes Brady and Tanner likes Mac. Also, Mac looked even way Babyfacier back then. 

I agree on "Play the Scene." It sounds like Mack and Brady recorded this song in different sessions, and then they just laid the tracks on top of each other. They're out of sync almost the entire time. 

The most oppressive thing about this dialogue between Brady and Devon at the dance is the fact that they're both wearing like seven bracelets. 

The "confidence" speech was alright with me. I think Brady's whole problem was thinking he wasn't good enough for Mack, and that she wanted to be with someone like Spencer. Or maybe I have no idea what their problem was because it wasn't fleshed out at all.

"Gotta Be Me" is definitely deserving of being the advertised song. A few more backflips than I needed, and Mack is way more dressed up than anyone else at this dance, but yeah. It's fun. I'm pretty sure every sound in this sequence is edited in, so the squeaky shoes are certainly deliberate. And you're right, Brady was definitely late on that low-five with Devon. Tanner, Harley Keiner, Lela, and Beehive all take a backseat to some randos in this one, I don't really know why.

Picking up, the Wet Side Story-ers need to get home, urged on by the disappearance of Harley Keiner. I had almost forgotten that this movie was about surfing, but now we're going to use the apparently magical surfboard from the first film to get back to Wet Side Story.

But there are no waves! Everyone poofs out of existence, except Lela and Tanner. 

Our heroes rush back to Brady's workshop, revealing Brady's secret. Mack asks the obvious question, "Why couldn't you just tell me that?" Apparently he was embarrassed? Thought she wouldn't respect his work? That's fucking stupid. 

Anyway, Brady's magnum opus is this board with a motor, so it doesn't need waves. Lela and Tanner take the board out to the ocean while... oh no... Brady sings a slow love song to Mack over acoustic guitarrrrrr, noooooooo. Mack/Brady is the least interesting part of this story. I was more into Brady and Tanner, to be perfectly honest. 

Oh it's a dual love song as the shot switches to Tanner and Lela, OH IT'S ACTUALLY A FOURSOME LOVE SONG NOW! We definitely need the first movie to feel any investment in either of these relationships. I'd be lying if I said I watched this song. Ultimately Mack gives Lela a bracelet, paving the way for a third movie probably.

They do a suspense sequence where the board's motor won't start, the whole thing writes itself, and it all works out in the end.

I have the unfortunate task of trying to explain what just happened. An earlier conversation between Brady and Mack told us that if Wet Side Story ceases to exist, via all the characters poofing out of existence, then the two of them never would have met. We also saw Mack telling Lela that the movie-universe doesn't have to be the same as it was. As it turns out, Lela does change the movie (off camera, so we're left to puzzle out what's going on) into "Lela, Queen of The Beach." So we have an unexpected path to Wet Side Story not existing, and indeed Mack and Brady have forgotten each other (as well as all the events leading up to now.)

It's some complicated shit to happen in the span of like 30 seconds. Mack is obsessed with this movie, and as she "meets" Brady here, their conversation mirrors the one they had at the beginning of the first movie about Wet Side Story. 

Conveniently, Lela Queen of the Beach is being shown nearby at the Save the Beach Dance, I don't know, I'm sure it makes sense but you're asking too much of me here. Everyone is watching Lela Queen of the Beach now. Accept it.

I can't begin to guess what this song is called because 90% of the lyrics are onomatopoeia gibberish. Okay I think it's called "That's How We Do." It's in the running for worst number in the movie, it really sucked.

I think they ran out of money on that last song. Lela winks at Mack and Brady from the movie screen, so she still remembers everything, and M&B are falling for each other once again.

That's the end of the movie. I've been going too long so you can start with your final thoughts.

So, Lela just up and Butterfly Effected everyone out of existence? Thanks, Lela. What if it turns out my parents met at a showing of Wet Side Story and now I no longer exist? Asshole. I actually really dislike this ending, because it literally invalidates the real-world characters entirely. We just watched a bunch of crap about Brady and Mac falling in love, then having problems and struggling to make it work, then breaking up, then putting aside their differences and realizing they can make it work. None of that mattered, because none of it happened. Blank slate. It all starts over. I'm not sure why they felt this was necessary, unless they just like... saw Days of Future Past when they were writing this and decided they'd put that into their time travel movie as well. It... was more effective there. (If I was more adept at PhotoShop I was going to do a Days of Future Past poster with Lela as Wolverine, Maia as Mystique, and Brady as, I dunno, Professor X, but I didn't)

And yeah, I'll be honest, I had no idea Brady's surfboard tinkering was supposed to even be a secret. They really needed to make that more clear. It makes no sense that she wouldn't know such a crucial aspect of his surfing hobby, when he's this adept at it and has got an entire workshop devoted to it and everything. Why would we assume she knows nothing about this? Why should we have to assume?

Also, while I get that Tanner and Lela are the designated couple from the movie, I had no idea they were currently in love. They didn't really touch on that at all either. Presumably this would be clear if you watched the first one, but they do need to count on maybe some people not having seen it and at least touching on that a bit.  There was just so much lazy writing here, and it really made itself apparent at the end. 

Yeah, I skipped the love songs too. The very moment Brady started singing I was just like "NOPE!" 

God, Devon's so terrible. Clearly hired for his backflipping skills. He's just so bad. Like a bad actor too. 

Movie Rating: C- (Songs of varying quality some of which are admittedly catchy, offset by a dumb story and mostly unlikeable characters - except for Tanner and Lela who were usually entertaining)
Movie MVP: Grace Phipps (Lela) Though I still maintain being more attracted to Maia Mitchell, Babyface or no.
Movie LVP: Raymond Alexander Cham Jr. (Devon) I don't care if you can do backflips. You can't behave like that.
Best Song: "Gotta Be Me"
Worst Musical Song: "Play the Scene" ("That's How We Do" is stupid, but it at least is somewhat catchy.)
Worst Actual Song: Any fucking thing Brady sings by his goddamn self.  

The only real chemistry I saw in this movie was between Brady and Tanner. Lela/Tanner was almost nonexistant, Spencer/Best Friend was worthless and was only there to tie off a loose end, Mack/Brady didn't even matter since history got Butterfly Effect'd. 

I would argue that with Lela's discovered ability to alter the real world by altering her movie, she could, with precision and the infinite repetitions inherent in her universe, create whatever real-world timeline she wants. Thus, not only is she Queen of the Beach, she is Queen of SPACE AND TIME ITSELF. HAIL TO YOUR OVERLORD.
I'm not good at photoshop either. 

I give the movie a C+. The story was entirely lazy writing, but they made a lot of interesting choices with the characterization of Brady, Lela, and Tanner. Mack felt... one dimensional and uninteresting. She didn't change at all in the entire movie. She had no arc, no development. That's pretty bad for a main character.

I have a strong feeling that the first movie is better. There just wasn't anything for anyone to do in the real world. Everything led up to the big school dance, and that's as cliche as it gets. 

Finally, the big question, is this series the next High School Musical? Probably not. It's just too goofy and unrelatable. There's no entry point for the viewer. I doubt anyone can empathize with any of this. Which isn't to say they can't enjoy it. I certainly did. 

I want to dive a little bit deeper, real quick, on the character of Tanner. His voice, his posture, his mannerisms, this character is gayer than a rainbow unicorn. But no one ever mentions it. No one makes fun of him, no one mentions it offhandedly, it's a total non-issue. As it should be. I respect the hell out of that decision. A character like Tanner is chum in the water for cheap jokes, but the writers didn't go for it, not even once. That deserves some serious praise.
Shoutout to the Supreme Court.

 It's a proud day to be an American, for sure. You read Kennedy's statement? *sniff* No, I'm not crying! You're crying, nerd! 

That said, I actually think a lot of Tanner's mannerisms are an acting choice on the part of Garrett Clayton who portrays him. It's clear Tanner's gay because of how he acts, but if we were to read the script, I'm not sure that would be remotely clear. I think he might come off just like a self-obsessed moron. Like a Ron Burgandy. The gayness doesn't actually seem to be built-in to his dialogue. If he'd been intended as gay from inception, I'm not sure what we'd have gotten. Either way, I'd like to believe that in "Lela, Queen of the Beach" there's a subplot about Tanner coming out of the closet, because he's also "Gotta Be Me." 

I haven't seen High School Musical, but I would be surprised if you were wrong. High School Musical became a bit of a phenomenon. Zac Efron still gets work to this day as a result of it. I'm sure I'd never have heard of this Teen Beach franchise if I wasn't covering Girl Meets World.  I was about to turn 18 when HSM came out, I could not have been less interested in it, and yet I couldn't possibly escape notice of it.

Still, ultimately what it comes down to is if you find it enjoyable or not. I found it interesting that despite the fact that you and I both more or less seemed to find it of similar quality (C+ and C- are not wildly different scores, and absent your infatuation with Lela and my being a little rougher on Brady than you were, we agreed on every point) you firmly claim to have enjoyed yourself while for me, ultimately, watching this was a bit of a chore. Once I'd done my last bit of recapping, it was very tough to go back and watch the last 20 minutes. I almost didn't do it. Sometimes, it doesn't matter how "good" or "bad" something is, you're going to enjoy it anyway because of what it is and who you are.

This probably extends to Girl Meets World as well. It's dumb and it's cheesey. It's not of the same quality as any other show I watch, and it's not of the same quality as BMW, and I'd likely find it unwatchable if you took out the BMW elements. But still... at the end of the day, I still enjoy myself and I know you do too. So, as easy as it is for me to condemn and mock Teen Beach 2, it's still a rollicking musical starring fresh-faced young actors clearly having a lot of fun. And that's clearly something its target demo is going to dig. 

What the hell is that you put Lela's face on? 

Yeah. I'm absolutely going to watch the first Teen Beach movie at some point. 

It's the King of the Cosmos, from the Katamari series. He is literally the king of the universe.

I think we're all done here folks. If you made it to the end, congratulations, it was a marathon.


  1. Fun fact! The song playing at the first dance (I think it's called Rescue Me.?) is sung by our very own Sabrina Carpenter.

    1. goddamnit I hate how if you don't log in prior Blogspot just eats your comment into the nether and you have to retype it. Fuck you Blogspot. Anyway AS I JUT FUCKING SAID AND HAVE TO FUCKING TYPE AGAIN the full song is in the Teen Beach 2 soundtrack and Disney Channel hyped the fuck out of the fact that it's by Sabs. Given all that I'm surprised it got shoved so far into the background comparatively, given that Sabs is Disney's Next Big Thing (and yes, Disney's Next Big Thing really is a Thing).

      Also, fuck you Blogspot, I hope your children bite your head off.

  2. I don't suppose either of you are interested in watching Teen Beach Movie 1 now? They played it a bunch of times in the lead-up to TB2, but you can still watch it on Since Disney Channel keeps calling it an "app" and apparently that confuses people, it's a streaming service so it should work right in your browser without any downloads. You'll need a password that you need to get by directly contacting your cable provider, though.

    Also, if you want to see a multi-cam show without a laugh track watch Every Witch Way on Nickelodeon (which will be airing its final season weekdays in July). It's...fucking weird.

    1. Yeah we both watched this one through watchdisney.go

      And I think Christian is done with the whole ordeal, but I'm definitely going to watch the first movie eventually.

    2. You might want to do that sooner or later, Disney Channel says they'll have TB2 up all summer but I don't know about the original.

  3. I should also mention that Chrissie Fit (Gigi, the girl with the beehive hair) is also in Pitch Perfect 2 (it's pretty easy to spot her, she actually has a pretty major role in the movie) and Maia Mitchell (Mack/Babyface) is the star of an ABC Family show called The Fosters, apparently it's a big hit and the critics actually love it.

    Looking at the Teen Beach 2 IMDb board, it seems like people aren't very happy with the ending either and feeling that it basically erases the first movie (and even most of this movie).

  4. I've been on vacation the last few days, so I wasn't able to post when the movie premiered. I'll make it short and sweet.

    As somebody who watched the 1st TBM, and really enjoyed it, this movie really didn't let me down. I liked how they continued the story for the majority of the movie. Granted, the music wasn't as good as the first one (although the soundtrack for this movie is in the Top 10 on the Billboard 200), and some of the writing wasn't great. Yet, overall, it was a fun movie. And as you guys pointed out, extensively, Mack and Lela are absolutely beautiful girls. Mack/Maia Mitchell is definitely more my type, but I like Lela/Grace too. Also, I'm a huge fan of the actress who played Mack's friend, Alyssa. Her name is Piper Curda, and she is a very talented singer, and is quite pretty in her own right. She stars on another DC show (I Didn't Do It), I wish they would have utilized her more, but I guess some stuff may have gotten left on the cutting room floor. That's understandable.

    I also understand people's frustration at the butterfly effect ending. Obviously, they were setting up for another movie, which based on the ratings info that has since come out I believe there will be a sequel. Yet, I give DC credit for not ending it on the typical "couples kiss". They did something different, and I like that.

    Final Grade: B. I really liked this movie, as someone who watched the first one. And yes, the first one is the superior movie. I guess the problem now with the first is that its no longer canon.

    Movie MVP: Grace Phipps. This movie, in the end, was about her character, Lela. She was the focal point, and played her role very well. My favorite scene with her was when she walked out of the closet in normal clothes. Not only did she look fantastic, she gave a great explanation of why she wanted to stay, that I believed. Really cool.

    Movie LVP: Maia Mitchell. Not because she was particularly awful, or anything. It's just because, like it was stated above, she had no arc or development. Mack was Mack from beginning to end. She looked beautiful, too. But, I was hoping for more from one of the movie's titular stars.

    1. Oh and my favorite song was "Gotta be Me". Worst song for me was the one from the cafeteria, and I don't care enough to look at the song's title.

    2. Pale skin and dark hair, man. The divine combo. You guys are nuts.

      Thanks for reading and contributing by the way. I was half sure nobody would read any of this review.

    3. Pale skin/dark hair is my jam too, man. You're talking to somebody for whom 90s-era Winona Ryder and Jennifer Love Hewitt top all time crushes. I confess with Maia Mitchell it's more of a body thing.

    4. Hey, Grace Phipps is a very attractive young woman. Yet, if you're gonna put a gun to my head, I'm picking Maia. Nearly every time.

      And in case you guys care, and you probably don't, TBM 2 was the #1 TV movie in 2015, so far. From all the numbers I've seen, there's no way this doesn't become a trilogy.