Disney Channel is hoping to again ride the ratings wave of its Teen Beach Movie original film franchise.
Teen Beach 2 stars Maia Mitchell (The Fosters) and Ross Lynch (Austin & Ally), reprising their roles as smart, headstrong McKenzie and talented-but-laid-back surfer Brady. The sequel picks up where the original ended with the summer now over and McKenzie and Brady going back to high school.
The two teens’ harrowing experience of nearly being forever lost in the 1960s beach musical movie Wet Side Story during the original Teen Beach Movie seems a distant memory as both go about their lives with their friends and school activities.
Soon, they hit a rough patch and eventually begin to pull away from one another. Fed up with Brady’s secrets and unwillingness to follow her plans for the future, McKenzie hits the beach, where a fortuitous chain of events brings Wet Side Story movie stars Lela (Grace Phipps) and boyfriend Tanner (Garrett Clayton) out of the film and into the present to reconnect with their stunned compatriots from the future. The two movie characters then seek to help McKenzie and Brady rekindle their relationship while faced with the dilemma of whether to stay in the present or to return to their world within the movie.
Much like Teen Beach Movie, the sequel is full of impressive dance numbers, often silly dialogue and toe-tapping pop music songs that will certainly appeal to the network’s target 6-to-11-year-old audience. Still, Teen Beach 2 lacks a bit of the charm exhibited in the first movie, although that will not matter much to fans of the original.
— R. Thomas Umstead
Note: this review originally appeared in the June 15 edition of Multichannel News.