The Disney Review: Teen Beach Movie

Written by Jeff Heimbuch. Posted in Disney, Features, The Disney Review

Tagged: , , ,


Published on July 27, 2013 at 12:11 am with 35 Comments


I sometimes dread having to watch certain films for the purpose of reviewing them.  Going into it, I can honestly say that I was not looking forward to watching Teen Beach Movie when it arrived in the mail. However, Alex, my ten year old, couldn’t wait.

When we finally settled in the other night to check it out, I found myself dreading even putting it in the DVD player. The quality of things on The Disney Channel has gone down over the past few years, but I was willing to give this film a shot.

And I’m certainly glad I did! Teen Beach Movie was much, much, MUCH better than I was expecting it to be!

It tells the story of Mac, who spends her days surfing the waves with her boyfriend Brady and hanging with her grandfather. Unfortunately, the end of summer means she has to go away with her aunt to a prestigious private high school. The day she has to leave, Mac takes her board out for one last spin on the water. While in danger from an on-coming wave, Brady goes out to save her, and they both wind up in…a beach movie from 1962!

The premise is pretty cheesy, and the set up before the meat of film is not that great, but once the two leads wind up in the film “Wet Side Story,” it became an entirely different movie. They did a wonderful job of re-creating those cheesy 1960s beach films, and having two teenagers somehow stuck in one had more laughs than you would expect. Seriously. I found myself laughing more times than I would care to admit it. The writing is pretty sharp and witty, with some pretty great lines. “Why does she need a boy to make her happy?” “Because it’s 1962.” was a particular favorite of mine.

Again, the film does an excellent job of re-creating the 1960s beach films. The dialogue, acting, continuity errors, and quick scene changes are all there, and are pitch perfect. On top of that, the film that the teens find themselves in is a musical, so spontaneously breaking out into song DOES happen (and is addressed about how strange it is to break into song…during another song). Speaking of, the songs themselves are pretty catchy as well, and actually have me looking forward to getting the soundtrack. There is even a villainous subplot that, while does play into the end of the film, doesn’t really add anything over all…but I did find it quite funny.

It may have been the fact that we purchased the Back To The Future Lego set earlier in the day (so we already had it on the mind), but Alex and I noticed a lot of story similarities between the original Back To The Future and Teen Beach Movie. Both feature teens misplaced in the past, and run the risk of not getting back to their time if they can’t get two other characters to fall in love. There is also the threat of a storm, which is the catalyst to actually GET them back to their own time. That, and a casual reference to plutonium all left us comparing it to Back To The Future, but overall, it didn’t take away from the film.

The DVD has sparse extras, with some rehearsal footage of some of the impressive dance numbers, but that’s about it. The main attraction is the film itself.

Which, again, I definitely enjoyed. If you’ve ever watched a beach film before and found yourself enjoying it, do yourself a favor, and pick this one up. I have a hunch you will really like it! The film will be released on DVD on July 30th, 2013!

BUT, you can WIN A DVD COPY RIGHT NOW! Leave a comment below, and I’ll pick one winner by next Saturday, August 3rd, to receive a copy for themselves!

Will you be checking out this film when it hits DVD?


By Jeff Heimbuch

The Disney Review is written and edited by Jeff Heimbuch and George Taylor

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About Jeff Heimbuch

Jeff has been in love with all things Disney since a very early age. He writes From The Mouth Of The Mouse and The 626 every week for MiceChat. He also collaborates on The Disney Review every weekend. Aside from that, he is one half of the devastatingly good looking duo of the weekly vid/podcast Communicore Weekly (the other half being fellow MiceChat columnist George Taylor), which you can find at Jeff is also writing a book with former Imagineer and Disney Legend, Rolly Crump. You can find out more about the book at

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Comments for The Disney Review: Teen Beach Movie are now closed.

  1. Well, if I’m the only one to comment, I reckon my chances of winning are pretty good!

    • I’m here to ruin your chances >:D

  2. I’m of the age to remember the original Frankie & Annette films this is based on. I enjoyed the High School Musical series and hope one this lives up to the promise.

  3. The villains reminded of Barnaby and the henchman from Babes in Toyland (another Funicello movie)

    It was nice seeing several of the alumni from “So you Think You can Dance” too.

  4. I’m like you, Jeff. It looked to tweeny for me. I never got into the High School Musical type of shows and expected this to be like that. Now you got me very interested as I did like those old beach movies! I’ll have to check it out, thanks!

    • It’s definitely worth a look…much better than the usual fare they have!

  5. My daughters, age 9 & 14 watched it on the Disney Channel and found it quite entertaining. I heard lots of laughter from the two of them, so I figured it must have been better than the usual DC summer movie fare.

  6. Well if your 10 year old Alex liked it, then there’s a good chance that my 10 year old Alex will like it too! Looking forward to checking it out! Thanks for the review. Btw, will you be reviewing Robin Hood soon?

    • Alexs of all ages will enjoy it!

      Next week, George and I will look at Robin Hood, Sword in the Stone, and Oliver and Company!

      • Yay! Lookin’ forward to it! Thanks Jeff.

  7. Being a huge Disney fan, I couldn’t miss it! I started watching it and my husband looked at me funny and left the room… :) I enjoyed it without him and thought the music was pretty good!

  8. We also really enjoyed it! The kids loved the songs and I appreciated the great choreography. This is one movie that I don’t mind watching again and again! :-)

  9. Well now I’ve got to see it and I had no intention of seeing it. Disney owes you one LOL.

  10. Having grown up in Southern California with frequent trips to the beach, I couldn’t wait to grow up and have my own beach party, just like Annette. But since no one could fill out a bikini like Annette Funicello, my parties never lived up to her movies. A summer tween movie that’s not all fart jokes and blows to the manparts sounds appealing, even without the Queen of the Beach! I would watch it in her memory…

  11. Seeng as we recently lost Mrs. Funicello, I think it’s great that Disney has done the kind of movie that she’s best remembered for. In a summer where end-of-the-world films are the norm, it’s nice to see a film (even if it’s only on video) that celebrates life and fun. I look forward to seeing this and will probably purchase it as soon as I see it in the video store. Sounds like a keeper…and one I’d have no problems showing to my family.

  12. I haven’t seen the movie, yet, but I did think the previews on the Disney Channel did a better job giving us a preview of this movie, than the movies that Disney places in the Theaters. Yes, it does look to be aiming for the same group of kids that made High School Musical so popular. Also, insightful that you compared similarities of this movie with Back to the Future.

  13. The TV premiere to DVD release turn around on this title is extreme! One week!?

  14. I am commenting, too – as your review makes this look like a fun popcorn movie my adult son with autism (who still likes Hannah Montana) would love. I think I’d enjoy it, too.

  15. This movie is worth it for the “Make it Stop” number, which is an instant classic.