Follow TV Tropes


Film / Teen Beach Movie

Go To

Teen Beach Movie is a Disney Channel Original Movie about a couple from 2013 who get sucked into a teen beach movie from 1962.

It starts with teen couple Mack (McKenzie) and Brady. They're surfers who live in a beach town. Mack lives with her grandpa who owns a surf shop, that is until her Aunt Antoinette comes to take her to a private school out East as a promise Mack made to her dead mother that she would be successful. Brady gets upset by this, as she didn't tell him the whole time they were together and she breaks up with him so they don't have the strain of separation. Mack is feeling regretful for having to leave and decides to surf one last time in the morning because of the unusually large waves.

As Mack surfs, the weather gets worse, and so do the waves. As Brady and Mack's grandpa watch her defy the lifeguards' red flags, Brady decides to go out to the water and take her in before she gets caught in the oncoming storm. Just as Brady gets to Mack, they are both swept under a wave that they struggle to escape from. When they finally reach the surface, they realize the storm is gone, along with other suspicious things. Once they check out what's happened, they find out they've landed in...

Brady's favorite movie, Wet Side Story; the 1962 teen beach movie about a pair of Star-Crossed Lovers from the rival groups of surfers and bikers rivaling over Local Hangout, Big Momma's. Unbeknownst to everyone but Mack and Brady, evil real estate developer, Les Camembert and mad scientist, Dr. Fusion, are planning to destroy the beach and Big Momma's to build a resort. Also, by accident, Mack and Brady make the leads fall in love with them instead of each other.

As the two try to figure out how to escape and set the plot right, they also teach the characters in the movie about independence and following your heart, and end up teaching themselves the same lessons.

On June 26, 2015 the sequel premiered, appropriately titled Teen Beach 2. This time Lela and Tanner somehow find themselves transported from the movie to the present time with Mack and Brady. The cast was also joined by I Didn't Do It's Piper Curda. Unlike the first movie, the sequel ended up vastly underperforming with a little over 4 million viewers - in the meantime, Disney Channel has decided to switch over to a new musical movie franchise, Descendants, that premiered about a month after Teen Beach 2.

Teen Beach Movie provides examples of:

  • Affectionate Parody: Of 1960s teen beach movies and also of Disney musical movies.
  • Advertised Extra:
    • Aside from Lela and Tanner, the Rodents and the Surfers don't have much importance to the plot. At least not until they destroy the weather machine. It's most likely a result of Brady and Mack interfering with the movie's plot, as since the Wet Side Story plot requires Lela and Tanner falling in love with each other rather than them, they had nothing to do, since the conflict of the movie fuels what they do.
    • Alyssa (played by Piper Curda which of course the network hyped up) and Spencer also fall into this in Teen Beach 2.
  • Almost Kiss: Two instances.
    • Lela has one with Brady while they’re walking on the beach before he pulls back last minute.
    • Later Lela does this with Tanner before realizing Mack and Brady are missing.
  • Ambiguous Ending: If the idea that the ending of the second movie where Mac and Brady's history is rewritten is a What If? scenario that doesn't actually effect the main timeline of the films, it leads to the idea that while the actual Mac and Brady still have problems with their relationship, they care about each other that much that they'll continue working through them no matter what.
  • Anachronism Stew: The movie is set in 1962, but many of the costumes and aesthetics hark back to the 1950s, even the song Cruisin For A Bruisin is a rockabilly song.
  • Ascended Fanboy: For Brady, it doesn't get any better than getting sucked into your favorite movie musical and leading a dance sequence.
  • As You Know: Brady explains the story of Wet Side Story to Mack, even though it's the favorite movie of both Brady and Mack's grandfather, and Mack is familiar with it, but she wasn't paying attention and probably did need to be reminded of some things
  • Audience Surrogate: Brady is a literal example. He had seen Wet Side Story plenty of times and knows all the songs by heart, so he is overjoyed to find himself in the movie.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Mack and Brady forgetting each other initially leads viewers to believe that Lela and Tanner didn't make it back to their world, which meant Wet Side Story never existed, so Mack and Brady never wound up meeting each other. However, while it's true that Wet Side Story ceased to exist, it isn't because Lela and Tanner failed to make it back, but because after Lela made it back, she became the NEW star, effectively changing the movie, and subsequently changing history in the real world.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Butchy is fiercely protective of his little sister Lela.
  • Big Finale Crowd Song:
    • The first movie has "Surf's Up" which is sung after Mack and Brady return home and Mack finalizes with her Aunt that she wouldn't be going away to boarding school.
    • Teen Beach 2 has the ensemble cast singing That's How We Do, after the plot of Wet Side Story has been rewritten into a more progressive film, and altered Mac and Brady's history.
  • Brainless Beauty:
    • Neither Tanner nor Lela seem to have much on their respective minds other than surfing/motorcycling and the opposite sex. The same is generally true of all the other characters in Wet Side Story, to a lesser extent.
    • Subverted in Teen Beach 2 where Lela instantly understands calculus. Also applies to the original movie as this is a Call-Back to how Lela figures out how to destroy the weather machine.
  • Break His Heart to Save Him: Mack breaks up with Brady in the beginning so separation won't strain their relationship.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In the second movie, Lela mananges to throw Mack a jacket through the screen with no explanation of how she did this.
  • Brick Joke: When the surfers cheerfully introduce themselves in “Surf Crazy”, Mack introduces herself rather boredly. When she introduces herself again in the final song “Surf’s Up”, she’s happy and content.
  • But Now I Must Go:
    • Mack and Brady at the end of the movie.
    • Lela and Tanner at the end of the second movie.
  • Call-Back: The second movie is full of them in reference to the first.
  • Canon Discontinuity: It's pretty clear from the second movie that The Stinger from the first didn't happen.
  • Conforming OOC Moment: Mack spends a majority of the film trying to get out of the movie, and even sings an entire song about how much she hates being trapped in a musical. Despite this, she participates in "Like Me", cheerfully singing along like the others and not seeming phased by it, at odds with her motivation and characterization. note 
  • Coupled Couples: Mack and Brady, and Tanner and Lela. One of the main complications in the first movie is that the latter two fall for the former two instead of each other.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: You'd think that with a machine that could control the weather, Les and Dr. Fusion would just sell the machine (or at least create a company that changes the weather in area for a fee) and become so awesomely wealthy that they could just buy the beach and Big Momma's outright. The same goes for Dr. Fusion's ray-gun. Hell, they could buy their own freaking island with the cash they could bring in with that kind of technology.
  • Deconstruction: Oddly enough, the second movie seems to be this to the first movie, especially as the plot progresses.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance:
    • Both parts of the song "Like Me" contrasts pre-Summer of Love 1960's dating expectations with modern day ones divided by gender.
    • Actually a significant plot device in the second movie.
  • Duet Bonding: Tanner and Lela both attempt to do this to Mack and Brady, respectively, without much success. They fare better when they try it with each other.
  • Dull Surprise: Camembert takes the fact that he's a villain in a fictional movie really well.
    Camembert: [casually pulls fake mustache off] ...tell me more.
  • Dumb Jock: Tanner, Butchy, and many of the other surfers and bikers are rather one-dimensional.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Camembert and Dr. Fusion. At one point, they try to out-Evil Laugh each other.
  • Explosion Propulsion: The malfunction of the lighthouse/secret hideout sends the villains shooting up the sky.
  • Fake Brit: Camembert is an in-universe example; as Brady explains, he's actually from Pittsburgh. Works out of universe too; he's played by the Scottish-American Steven Valentine, and he really hams up the British accent.
  • Fanservice: Everyone wears fairly revealing clothing. The movie does take place on a beach, after all.
  • Fantasy Keepsake: After returning to the real world, Mack is wearing the necklace given to her by Lela as a parting gift.
  • Faux Horrific: Dr. Fusion lets out a horrified shout in reaction to Struts and Seacat wiping off his blackboard.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water:
    • Brady and Mack are transported from present time (2013) to a film set in 1962.
    • The reverse in the second movie (Tanner and Lela transported from a film set in 1962 to the present time).
  • Fisher Kingdom:
    • After spending some time in the movie, Mack's hair stops getting wet. Soon after, she and Brady find that they can't stop themselves from singing. Then they start talking in plot points.
    • This sequence happens in reverse for Tanner and Lela when they enter into the present world.
  • Flanderization: While he wasn't exactly the smartest guy in the first film, the second one really emphasized Tanner's stupidity to a larger degree than the first movie. He's not any less nice than the first movie as this trope tends to make characters who're more stupid than the rest of the characters in something, but he doesn't have any moments of real depth that shows some hidden smarts like the first movie had. Though, since the first movie couldn't decide between whether he was supposed to be stupid or have hidden depths of genius, this might be a blessing in that it at least gave him a more consistent characterization for the screenwriters to work with.
  • Genre Savvy:
    • Brady is naturally this, given that he has the whole movie practically memorized. It comes in handy to explain to Mack what's happening and to figure out how to get the plot back on its rails.
    • As Mack herself said, she's paid enough attention to the movie to figure out what's going on too, and is just generally savvy enough to understand what generally happens in a movie like this. It's how she figures out they're morphing into the movie (when her hair doesn't get wet) and how she figures out Camembert and Dr. Fusion figured out they figured out their evil plans, even if only a little too late (by how they're suddenly speaking in plot points).
    • Giggles gets an understated moment near the end, when the bikers and surfers are going to rescue Mack and Brady. During this, Butchy says he's afraid of lighthouses, has a brief moment where they try to convince him, only to say he's suddenly gotten over it. They all cheer and rush forward, only for Butchy to carefully try and sneak away… and the apparently-not-so Dumb Blonde saw that coming, pushing him onward once he's caught.
      • And Giggles does it again in the second movie, when Butchy is afraid of the ocean.
  • Gilligan Cut: Mack and Brady are invited to a party that very night while they are at "Wet Side Story". Mack tells Brady they shouldn't go. Cut to that night at the party where both are wearing summer clothes. Lampshaded brilliantly because while time clearly passed for all the characters in the movie, no time passed for Mack and Brady and it was a literal cut for them.
  • Having a Heart: Dr. Fusion tells Camembert that he has his mother's eyes, then adds, "I let her keep the rest of her face".
  • The Heart: Lela is a very sweet, friendly, and kind-hearted girl who doesn't bear any ill will to the surfers she's supposed to have a rivalry with. In Wet Side Story, it's her role, along with Tanner, to unite the rivaling gangs. And even when the plot had been derailed thanks to the interference of Mack and Brady, she's still able to end up accomplishing this.
  • Hurricane of Lampshades: "Silver Screen". This single song hung lampshades on just about every tropes in Disney Channel movies.
  • Instant Costume Change: When the movie jumps to the night after Brady and Mack accidentally alter the plotline, their clothes are instantly changed to fit the movie's 1960's surf nature.
  • Ironic Echo: Mack’s “I’m Mack!”. See Brick Joke above.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Mack's Aunt Antoinette may be an condescending workaholic, but she is only following through with Mack's wish to go to a good school and be a success. At the end of the movie, she agrees that Mack can stay at the beach with Brady, albeit somewhat reluctantly.
    • Butchy in both movies, especially the second one.
  • Lampshade Hanging: It's hard to find a scene without this. The unrealistic conventions of movies are pointed out, usually by Mack. She scoffs at people suddenly breaking into songs and having perfect, dry hair after being in the sea. Having them occur to herself is how she figures out that she is morphing into the movie.
    • Of course it carries through into the second movie, albeit in somewhat of a reversed order.
  • Literally Falling in Love: Something of a Running Gag. In the original story of Wet Side Story, Lela and Tanner fall in love with each other when Tanner catches Lela as she falls off the stage. They fall for Brady and Mack instead when this plot point is messed with, then we learn the plot is on its proper course again when Lela falls into Tanner's arms during their duet. Played with extensively in the sequel.
  • Little Miss Snarker: Mack. She mercilessly mocks Wet Side Story both in real life and after she finds herself in the universe.
  • A Little Something We Call "Rock and Roll": Mack taught Lela the modern point of view about feminism and female independence. This caused Lela to change the original Wet Side Story into Lela, Queen of the Beach, a feminist movie at the end of the second movie, and created a bond between the two ladies that survived even the reset button that is pressed when Lela changed her movie.
  • Magical Profanity Filter: Alluded to in the second film. During the song "Silver Screen", Brady and Mack are telling Leia and Tanner about all the benefits of living in their movie universe rather than the real world, one of which includes automatically-bleeped swear words. As the first movie made it clear that there is some sort of magic going on to make things conform to the movie's reality, it's implied that this is literally the case for characters in the movieverse.
  • Manly Tears: Butchy sheds some after Tanner's Rousing Speech.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • Mack's line "I'm Mack" is this, occurring in the middle of the first music number in and out of the movie within the movie.
    • In the second movie, Mack and Brady reminisce about how they met when Brady talked up Wet Side Story to Mack and promised her a mango smoothie if she didn't enjoy it. After the Reset Button, they have the same exchange about Lela, Queen of the Beach (the new version of Wet Side Story), but with the roles reversed.
    • The reprise of 'Meant to Be'' becomes a secondary running theme in both movies, as it's repeated more than you'd expect, especially in the second movie.
  • Medium Awareness: Dr. Fusion gains this after Mack tells him that he's a villain in a film, looking directly into the camera.
    • The first movie zigzags this, with some of the characters, at times, looking like they're aware they're in a repeating cycle for the movie, know it, and they're just reenacting what they've done before, but then at other times they don't.
  • Meta Guy: Brady and Mack.
  • Metaphorgotten: A little way into 'Cruisin' For A Bruisin'' the Rodents seem to forget the meaning of the phrase and begin applying it to themselves instead of the surfers.
    • Might be an early sign of the derailment the movie underwent, as that's when Brady really started changing parts of the movie.
  • Misspelling Out Loud: In the second movie, Tanner tells Brady:
    Tanner: But in my world, we have our own word. Confidence. It's spelled K-O-N...fidence.
  • Naive Every Girl: Lela, who just can't understand why her brother's gang and the surfers can't get along.
  • Narnia Time: Brady and Mack spend several days in Wet Side Story, but when they return home in the end, exactly no time has passed since they left.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: All of the bikers use fake-sounding Brooklyn/Jersey accents, except for Grace Phipps who speaks in her normal Texas drawl.
  • Official Couple: Brady and Mack, as well as Lela and Tanner.
    • To a lesser extent, every surfer-biker pair at the end of Wet Side Story, from Butchy and Giggles to Rascal and Struts.
  • Only Sane Man: While Brady doesn't take any time jumping into music numbers, Mack acts like any normal person would when they find themselves trapped in a musical, stumbling around in confusion.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Maia Mitchell's native Aussie accent slipped into the opening song 'Oxygen,' but the rest part of the movie Mack uses a generic American accent.
  • Parental Abandonment: While it is explicitly stated that Mack's mom died several years before the movie started, there is no mention of her father and she is living in her grandfather's surfboard shop. Mack also mentions her mom's diary stating she wanted to go to college before Mack was born, so it is probable that her mother got pregnant in high school, or soon after, and the father didn't stick around.
  • Parental Bonus: There are certain scenes that are funny enough as received by most of the target demo, but funnier still to anyone familiar with beach-blanket movies and 1960s youth-market comedy in general.
  • Pink Means Feminine: Lela's all-pink biker outfit reflects her girly personality and feminine interests. Also Struts and her hot pink shoes.
  • Pretty Boy: Tanner. Subverted in that Mack calls him 'the mannequin with six rows of teeth' the first time she sees him.
  • Red Herring: Brady speculates that they were transported into the movie due to a weather based electrical phenomenon and that they have to use the lightning storm at the end of the movie to return to their world. it's actually the decal on the surfboard that was responsible for bringing them into the movie. This is figured out in the second movie when the decal is transferred to the motorised surfboard to send Lela and Tanner back into their movie. Checkoved by Mack's grandfather telling her that two generations of her family found their destiny on that surfboard and now it's her turn.
  • Reset Button: The ending to Teen Beach movie 2 When Lela and Tanner left on Brady's motorized surfboard, this got hit hard - the entire 53 years worth of history from the making of Wet Side Story up to this point, including the entire first movie and the majority of the second, is reset and rewritten. Wet Side Story was changed into Lela, Queen of the Beach, and Mack and Brady never really met. Although, Lela still had that Save the Beach bracelet Mack gave her with the flower from her necklace attached. Somehow the ladies still had a connection. Plus, while the movie is playing on the outside screen at Mack's fundraiser dance, Lela looks directly at Mack and winks at her. Possibly indicating that Lela can see what is happening in the real world every time her movie is shown.
  • Revealing Continuity Lapse:
    • In the first movie, as part of Mack and Brady being sucked into a fictional movie world, they notice things don't quite line up with reality. They change clothes in an instant, their hair is dry even when they've fallen into the ocean, and they even experience an immediate time-shift.
    • In the sequel, movie protagonists Tanner and Lela end up in the real world. For quite a while, their interactions with reality line up with the rules established in their own world- their hair is dry in water, and whatever clothes they wear instantly turn into clothes straight from the 60s.
  • Romantic False Lead: Mack for Tanner, Brady for Lela. They were supposed to fall in love with each other, but their romance takes a detour when their Love at First Sight moment goes wrong.
  • Satellite Love Interest: Lela and Tanner parody this.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Gender inverted with Brady and Mack. Mack is dismayed to find herself in a movie, whereas Brady acts like a kid in the candy shop, joining in musical numbers shortly after their arrival. However, Brady actually comes off as more socially savvy within the context of being stuck in Wet Side Story.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Big Momma. Her Establishing Character Moment occurs when she dances a little with one of the surfers, then slaps him playfully and scolds him for taking her away from her cooking.
  • Self-Parody: Disney seems to be parodying some of its own movie clichés. High School Musical in particular. Considering it's not their first time giving a good jab at their older material, it shouldn't be much of a surprise. Though, it came only 5 years after the HSM trilogy rather than the decades the earlier film did.
  • Sequel Hook: After the ending credits, we see Lela, Tanner and the rest of their friends washed up on the beach in the real world.
    • The announced sequel is said to have that exact plot. And a second hook is laid after the aforementioned reset button is hit - Lela and Mack still had a connection somehow.
    • Camembert and Dr. Fusion starting to have a conversation on the fact that they're in a movie counts.
  • Shirtless Scene: Inevitable considering the setting, but an extremely gratuitous one occurs as Brady and Mack are leaving the Wet Side Story universe - Brady's shirt magically opens between shots and flutters open in the wind, for no discernible reason.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Dr. Fusion says the plutonium is heated to what scientist would call "Woah, that’s hot!".
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Movie Within a Movie is a full-on Whole-Plot Reference to West Side Story. It's called Wet Side Story and primarily features a romance among two feuding gangs.
    • The Stinger features a mohawk-sporting teen who has Justin Bieber as the background for his smartphone.
    • "Surf Crazy" has a roll call sequence eerily reminiscent of "The Nicest Kids in Town". Coincidentally, Hairspray also took place in the 60's.
    • All of the songs are very reminiscent of the 60s, but "Like Me" is especially Beach Boys-esque, especially in the opening.
    • The movie seems to take a lot from a movie called "Beach Party:"
      • The hangout was called "Big Daddy's."
      • The bikers were called "The Rats," had similar jackets and logos, and the leader called everyone stupid.
      • Teen Beach's "Crusin' for a Bruisin" sounds like the brief song "Surfin' and a-Singing."
      • During Beach Party, the surfers had control of Big Daddy's and the bikers wanted it, just like in Wet Side Story.
    • Brady finds Seacat playing a game where he shoots at some "angry birds" with a slingshot. Brady is amused at this unintentional reference.
  • Slumber Party: Lela and the biker girls have one near the middle of the movie, and Mack gets invited so she can tell her that Tanner is supposed to like her and not Brady.
  • Smarter Than You Look: Despite his lack of interest in college, Brady of all people demonstrates a profound understanding of engineering, being able to fashion surfboards with built-in motors, which ends up coming in handy during the final act.
  • Spontaneous Choreography: Heavily used and heavily lampshaded. Including a song strictly about lampshading it.
  • Surfer Dude: Wet Side Story's surfers.
  • Token Minority Couple: In the sequel, the two Asian characters are paired together.
  • Tomboyish Name: Mack, short for McKenzie. Her Gender-Blender Name serves to establish her as the "modern" character to be contrasted with the 60's film characters.
  • Trapped in TV Land:
    • When Mack and Brady get transported to the Wet Side Story Movie.
  • Water Is Dry: For the Wet Side Story characters, and later for Mack and Brady.
    • Subverted later in the second movie, when Tanner freaks out because his hair is beginning to get wet.
  • What Are Records?:
    • Being a present-day non-hipster teenager, Mack has trouble operating a record player.
    • Inverted in the stinger and the second movie. The 60s folks are utterly fascinated, and from time to time terrified, by 53 years worth of human development: water jets, parachute skiing, speedos, Segway, and especially Siri. Lela had trouble changing songs on Mack's iPhone, and the "technology confuses you huh?" comment is shot back at Lela from Mack.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?:
    • Butchy claims he is afraid of lighthouses. The fact that this one is spitting out creepy energy beams doesn't help.
    • In the second movie, Butchy is afraid of the ocean.
  • Work Info Title: The title describes the film-within-a-film the characters get sucked into.

Alternative Title(s): Teen Beach 2