Following the success of films like "High School Musical" and "Camp Rock," it's no surprise that Disney's recent release "Lemonade Mouth" follows a group of teenagers who can sing and dance. While not quite as focused as "High School Musical" and "Camp Rock," "Lemonade Mouth" does offer some enjoyable performances and a decent story that the target audience may enjoy.
"Lemonade Mouth" starts almost like a fairytale as Olivia (Bridgit Mendler) offers a voice over account of the moments that led five strangers to become the band called Lemonade Mouth. And "Lemonade Mouth" really does have a feeling of magic, as each character comes to detention, purchases a rather mysterious looking can of lemonade, and collectively find their voice through song. Is it far-fetched? Maybe. But the sense of destiny and imagination that surrounds the early parts of the film sets you up for the idea that while this is a story about teenagers learning to stand up for who they are, there's also an element of looking beyond the unlikely and embracing the possibile.
The band is made up of five different, but equally important characters. There's quiet Olivia, who lives with her grandmother after losing her mom years before. Stella (Hayley Kiyoko) is the new kid in school who is independent, but feels like she doesn't fit in with her family. Charlie's (Blake Michael) mother tries too hard to make him like his older brother by having him pursue things he's not interested in. Wen's (Adam Hicks) dad is dating a 28-year-old, much to his dismay. And Mo (Naomi Scott) is having trouble finding the balance between who her parents want her to be and who she is. Each student is sent to detention for varying reasons, ultimately bringing them together.
Detention is held in the basement along with any club/class (art, ballet, music, audio visual, Shakespeare, and so on) that focuses on anything other than jocks and cheerleaders. Principal Brenigan (Christopher McDonald) is more focused on getting sponsorships for the school and sports, that he takes little interest in the other students. So, when music teacher, Miss Reznick (Tisha Campbell-Martin) who monitors detention overhears the students performing, she thinks they'd be perfect for Rising Star. Rising Star is a competition that can land a band a record deal. Initially the group are reluctant, after all they just met, but when they realize they could bring a voice to the students who are basically ignored, they agree.
The band takes off fairly quickly with only a few bumps along the way. At their first school dance performance, they get a great reception from the students. However, the principal shuts them down after they try to save the lemonade machine that brought them together, and even more so to help the voices of everyone who feels left out (or left in the basement) be heard. After shutting them down, he also lets them know that they're no longer allowed to use the music room, the instruments, or even hum, and if they do they're suspended. But Lemonade Mouth managed to reach the students despite principal's efforts. Of course not every student loves the new group getting all the attention.
Mo?s boyfriend Scott (Nick Roux) is in a competing band, and his bandmate Ray (Chris Brochu) has had enough of Lemonade Mouth. While Scott is initially upset, Ray takes it to a whole new level. He eventually leads to Lemonade Mouth getting in further trouble with a pizza place where they're allowed to play. Still, that along with some accidents (hurt finger and eye), sickness (cold and sore throat), and even a run in with the law (in protest to the lemonade machine being taken) seems to be their only obstacles to finding success. It's also important to note that there's a decent amount of sneaking around in the film, as some of the characters tell their parents they're one place when they're really with the band. This all works itself out in a nice way, however it does seem that while the film is promoting standing up for who you are (which is great), it's also promoting sneaking around.
"Lemonade Mouth" is a harmless movie with some sweet moments that despite some issues manages to entertain. Watching the group become a band, and more importantly friends, is moving, and the cast gives enjoyable performances that leave you hoping the best for each of them. The songs are hit-and-miss, but I'm not really the target audience for the music. However, there are some catchy tunes and the performances are entertaining and solid. While not "High School Musical" or "Camp Rock," "Lemonade Mouth" is worth a look for fans of the cast, and the Disney musical genre.
VIDEO: "Lemonade Mouth" is presented by Disney in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Presentation quality was a bit above broadcast quality, with crisp, well-defined images throughout most of the running time. While a few minor instances of shimmer were spotted, the presentation was otherwise clean. Colors looked bright and vibrant, with excellent saturation and no smearing.
SOUND: Crisp, clean Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation with well-recorded dialogue and music.
"Exclusive Extended Music Scene!" An additional scene featuring Lemonade Mouth on an interview show eight months later, where they catch up some and play a new song. You can access this scene in the Bonus Features or following the credits.
"Rock-Along" allows you to sing along with the songs in the film.
"Discover Blu-ray 3D with Timon and Pumbaa" and "Learn How to Take Your Favorite Movies on the Go: DVD File Digital Copy" are also included.
Final Thoughts: "Lemonade Mouth" is a harmless movie with some sweet moments that despite some issues manages to entertain. Worth a look for fans of the actors.
The Film B