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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  • LongtimeReader

    I was SHOCKED at how good it was. There were several true belly laughs even, and the sequel setup after the credits was both hilarious and a plausible way to continue the story.

  • brmarvin

    I and 2 others must have watched a different movie then. I know many are loving this movie, but I cannot honestly say it was good. If Disney were a dog, I would have to say, “bad Disney” over and over. I expect a beach movie to be campy. This movie was all over the place and tried way, too hard to be campy when it just was not. It felt like a bunch of scenes thrown together with no real flow to the movie. It seemed to go loosely on the storyline of Back to the Future. Don’t mess with things or bad things will happen in your own time. What is dreary is the attempt at the end to suggest that the movie needs a sequel. Reviews suggesting it could be Disney’s next High School Musical just flat out confuse me. I love all things Disney, but could not give this a stamp of approval.

  • brianpinsky

    Comment…because you asked for one.

  • DadOfTwins

    I think my twin 11 yr old daughters have already watched this at least 5 or 6 times….and unless I win this DVD, I fear it will forever be taking space on my DVR. I have not, as of yet, watched it..but have heard the songs…quite catchy.

  • jamwilson

    I have always been a fan of the Frankie & Annette beach movies and had hoped this new movie would do them justice. I am happy to say, it did! It has the cheesy lines, silly characters & to be honest, not that great acting. Just like those fun movies from the 60′s. I enjoyed it & the music was fun. Give it a go if you dare!

  • StormTheCastle

    Missed it when it aired on Disney Channel. Looking forward to watching it and seening Kent and Molly of SYTYCD!

  • love2go2disney

    My kids loved the movie!! All three of them. It was fun family movie night! :)

  • clewandowski

    Ive got three nephews who regularly make up their own band, making up dances and songs the whole nine yards. They are too cute- I have to get this so they can check out what the older movies were like! Thanks for the great review, Aunt Chelsy will hopefully be the cool aunt for bringing over a new cool movie!

  • ajcphantom

    Let me preface this comment by saying I am a 31-year-old, married woman (but really just a kid at heart), and of course a Disney fanatic. I watched this movie yesterday, and I am not ashamed to admit that I loved it! I am a sucker for musicals and movies that have an element of nostalgia for me. I felt the movie was well-written, well-acted, and well-directed. It was cute, funny, and really just pure, wholesome fun! It is sad to me that we don’t see many movies like this anymore, just wholesome movies the whole family can watch. It was reminiscent of the old Disney original movies I used to watch as a kid (that I still enjoy watching for that nostalgic element). It whisked me away to the “good-old, carefree” days of kicking back on a weekend or summer afternoon with my best friend in front of the TV. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

  • LuvsErstad

    My boys were watching this the other day and I only caught a portion of one song and it looked terrible. But based on your review – I will give this a 2nd chance. I loved watching the Beach movies when I was a kid (repeats in the 70′s) so if it’s a take on an old classic, it could be a lot of fun! Hope I win the DVD too!! Thanks for the insightful review!

  • poohmeg

    That actually sounds cute – I don’t have kids, so I can’t even remember the last time I watched the Disney Channel – but I might have to DVR this one!

  • wicked82

    This should be interesting.. the last beach film I saw was Back to The Beach with Frankie and Annette. I love self-parodies so this looks like its right up my alley.

  • KENfromOC

    My 6-1/2 year old girl loved it. And I have to admit the songs were catchy, the girls in the film were not bad to look at either!

  • Marko50

    This is one DC movie that actually looked interesting from the previews. I haven’t watched the Disney Channel (except when my grandson was watching) since they stopped being “for the whole family”.

    • Marko50

      ‘Course, that also meant that I no longer was late to work because I watched the previous nights “Vault of Disney” or “Ink and Paint Club”.

  • julesofhearts

    I already wanted to see this movie. Now I MUST see it!