Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam Review
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Two years ago, the Disney Channel’s Camp Rock seemed poised to pick up where the wildly-successful High School Musical left off. It worked because it was like HSM’s more down-to-earth little cousin. Lighter on camp and melodrama, it offered the same catchy musical numbers with a lovably low-key cast and a natural setting. Apparently, though, it was a little too subtle for director Paul Hoen, who decided to crank up both the camp and the melodrama for Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam.

In the sequel, Demi Lovato’s Mitchie Torres is excited to return for another summer at Camp Rock, to spend time with her old friends—and rocker heartthrob Shane (Joe Jonas), too. Though they’ve kept in touch throughout the year, his busy rock star schedule has kept them apart, and they’re both eager to finally have some time together.

This year, though, the campers at Camp Rock aren’t the only ones on the lake. A flashy new camp, Camp Star, has gone up across the lake, and it’s giving Camp Rock some serious competition. After Camp Star steals most of Camp Rock’s staff, Mitchie and her friends decide to fill in as counselors. But after they challenge the egomaniacs at Camp Star to a big end-of-summer jam, Mitchie ends up spending so much time and energy keeping the camp afloat that she doesn’t have time for fun—or Shane.

Like the characters in Camp Rock 2, the story gets so caught up in drama that it’s just not fun anymore. In the beginning, Lovato’s Mitchie is as sweet and lovable as ever (though she’s clearly gained a bit of star power since the original Camp Rock). Eventually, though, she goes from everybody’s friend to the camp’s resident slave driver. She bosses everyone around and snaps at her friends—and she’s just not all that likable anymore. Of course, her relationship with Shane suffers in the process, and they soon start fighting like an old married couple. Add that to the campers’ constant fears that competition from Camp Star will force Brown (Daniel Fathers) to close Camp Rock for good, and you’ve got a pretty heavy film.

To balance out the story’s heaviness, then, the Jonas Brothers have to be extra silly. Joe’s Shane is constantly tripping over his own feet, and Nick’s Nate awkwardly stalks a girl from Camp Star. Still, the Brothers get the best moments in the movie—from their catchy group performance on the Camp Rock stage to Nick’s adorable solo number.

While Camp Rock 2 does have some fun musical moments, though, its over-abundance of schmaltz and melodrama makes it a bit too dreary for the usual pre-teen Disney Channel slumber party crowd.

Blu-ray Review:
Though the Blu-ray Extended Edition release of Disney’s Camp Rock 2 comes with three discs (one Blu-ray, one DVD, one digital), it’s still pretty light on extras. The Blu-ray disc offers a Rock-Along option, which allows fans to sing along with their favorite Camp Rock songs. It also includes five international Camp Rock music videos and a short Q&A, with Alyson Stoner interviewing new cast members Chloe Bridges and Matthew “Mdot” Finley. But if you’re looking for more behind-the-scenes footage—or more of Demi Lovato and the JoBros—you’ll be disappointed by the surprisingly short special features menu.

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