I’ll watch it. I’m a long-time fan of the kitschy beach party movies, a short-lived genre fad of the mid-1960s (before things got really weird). Why not try to resurrect the idea? Watching attractive teens singing and sporting is a great way to waste a couple of summer hours.
The Disney Channel plans to air Teen Beach Movie, a modern take on the sun-and-fun approach, starting July 19. They’re looking to start a franchise that they hope will be as popular as High School Musical, which perhaps explains the bare-bones, this-is-exactly-what-you’re-getting title.
More recently, there have been parodies, such as Psycho Beach Party, but this Disney project takes a somewhat meta-level approach.
In “Teen Beach Movie”, two modern adolescents are transported into “Wet Side Story”, an over-the-top 1962 tale of surfers versus bikers. The characters from the film within the film — Tanner, Butchy, Seacat, Cheechee, Giggles, Lugnut and Struts — welcome the interlopers. But the modern visitors inadvertently change the plot.
Sounds vaguely like Pleasantville, which worked out pretty well. Also, this is promising:
“Teen Beach Movie” also comes with empowered modern girls who bristle at the antiquated views on gender roles in “Wet Side Story”. Rolling her eyes at the boy-crazy antics of one of the girls in “Wet Side Story”, Ms. Mitchell’s character asks, “Why does she need a boy to be happy?” (The answer: “Because it’s 1962.”)
By the way, the last of the original beach movies, 1987’s retro nostalgia piece Back to the Beach, is now available from Warner Archive.