CAMP ROCK 2: THE FINAL JAM (2010)
Starring Demi Lovato, Joe Jonas, Nick Jonas, Kevin Jonas, Daniel Fathers, Maria Canals-Barrera, Alyson Stoner, Chloe Bridges, Meaghan Jette Martin, Anna Maria Perez de Tagle, Matthew “Mdot” Finley, Frankie Jonas, Jasmine Richards, Abigail Chu, Roshon Fegan and “Big Rob” Feggans.
Screenplay by Dan Berendsen and Karin Gist & Regina Hicks.
Directed by Paul Hoen.
Distributed by Walt Disney Home Video. 92 minutes. Rated G.
I know that at the end of Camp Rock, you were left with an incomplete feeling and gnawing curiosity – what in heaven’s name happened to everyone? After a young poor girl has accomplished all of her dreams of love and artistic success, what will she do for an encore?
Okay, okay, so Camp Rock 2 is not so much telling a story that was begging to be told, however the first Camp Rock was a huge hit so it was rather inevitable that the old gang would be rounded up for another year on the bunks and canoes and stages of this rock’n’roll (well okay, bubblegum pop) summer camp.
Of course, as I said earlier, they pretty much told the story that they had to tell the first time around, so what now?
Essentially more of the same old stuff, though they have added an evil rival singing camp to the mix in an attempt to drum up a little conflict. And this time around, the two less cute Jonas Brothers actually get more than a couple of scenes. Oh yeah, and it seems that Julie Brown (“The Homecoming Queen Has a Gun”) the co-creator, co-writer and supporting actress as a counselor of the first film, has apparently been given her walking papers.
The film takes place the very next summer (though the movie is actually two years old at this point) where all of the kids from the first film return to the scene of their “best summer” looking for love and music and fun in the sun.
No one is going into Camp Rock 2 looking for innovation or revelation, so again this is essentially the story of a cute-as-a-button normal girl named Mitchie (played by Disney princess Demi Lovato, who has perhaps the whitest, straightest teeth I have ever seen) who achieves her dreams of pop stardom and winning the heart of the dreamy boy band singer (Joe Jonas!!! Sigh…). Hey, Mitchie even gets to be an inspirational camp counselor this time around.
Mitchie – you truly are queen for a summer.
After all, this is a Disney Channel production, which means you are going to have beautiful (and ethnically diverse) teens, sharp-tongued youngsters, extensively choreographed singing & dancing numbers and sweet, chaste romance which pretty much peaks at singing together, kissing briefly and holding hands by a bonfire.
Strangely, though, Camp Rock 2 has lost a little bit of the original’s spark simply because it is trying so hard to be bigger. For all of the ridiculously overblown musical numbers in the original, the story felt strangely intimate. Here, by adding a sing-off with a new rival camp which even in the story has hugely deep pockets (the place looks more like an industrial compound than a camp) and lots and lots of pyrotechnics, the movie loses the slight personal feel that even the original kind of grasped.
This attempt to add big, useless gestures to the mix is shown early on when the Jonas Brothers’ empty tour bus crashes off a cliff and sinks in the ocean. Why? It doesn’t change the story line, really. It’s not even a particularly funny set piece. It’s just needless effects – as if the filmmakers are afraid that they won’t be able to keep their audience’s attention without lots of huge stunts and productions.
The story – well what of a story there is here – has the former rival of Camp Rock’s owner opening a music boot camp called Camp Star across the lake from our heroes’ camp. The owner of Camp Star is a huge music exec with unlimited funds and an apparent bottomless pit of spite against his former friend. He vows that he will destroy Camp Rock.
It seems kind of odd that this hissible bad guy would take three months off from running a multi-national conglomerate, spend millions of dollars and all of his time just to show up a long ago rival. Axel, baby, you are worth 30 times more than Brown. You have already won, my man.
However, you may have more money, but Brown has the respect. Therefore, the Camp Rock kids band together to save their camp by having a big sing-off against Camp Star – a local camp singing competition which somehow has become a huge internet event.
Strangely, no one ever takes into account that Camp Rock would seem to have a huge advantage because they have three pop superstars as part of their group. Even stranger, the Camp Rock singers do not seem to have gotten more popularity in the voting despite this obvious advantage.
Meantime, Mitchie’s working so hard trying to save the camp that her pop star boyfriend is feeling ignored. Meanwhile, another one of the Jonas boys has a Romeo & Juliet-esque shy romance with the daughter of the other camp owner.
The Jonases don’t sing all that much here, surprisingly. They do one or two songs by themselves, Joe does some duets with Demi and one of the other interchangeable brothers does a goofy serenade – but musically this is much more of a showcase for Demi Lovato, who gets several songs.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2010 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: September 12, 2010.