Making the Grades
Originally made-for-TV, Camp Rock is rated TVG.
There is nothing in the world Mitchie Torres (Demi Lovato) wants more than a chance to go to Camp Rock, a summer workshop for aspiring musicians. Unfortunately, her family’s income can’t accommodate such an expensive request. Just when it looks like all hope is lost, her mom (Maria Canals-Barrera) lands the catering contract for the venue and works out a deal so Mitchie can attend in return for doing some kitchen duties.
The excited teen feels like her dreams have come true until she meets the other kids at the retreat. Mostly rich, and some related to the fabulously famous, Mitchie suddenly has another overwhelming wish. She wants to be accepted by the popular crowd, and especially by Tess Tyler (Meaghan Martin), the daughter of a successful singer. Without a parentage she can brag about, Mitchie claims her mother is an executive for a TV music channel. Duly impressed, she is admitted into Tess’s gaggle of girls. However, she has ostracized herself from the more down to earth crowd.
Meanwhile, a young superstar named Shane Grey (played by Joe Jonas of the Jonas Brothers) has been sentenced to Camp Rock to do some "voluntary" service and redeem his besmirched public reputation. His fellow band members (Kevin and Nick Jonas) hope the bad boy will rediscover his humble side as he mentors eager students and performs a duet with the winner of the camp’s concluding competition, Final Jam.
Of course Shane and Mitchie’s paths will cross, and he will prefer her company to that of any of the other young women. Also not unexpectedly, the lucky lady’s lie will prove to be a problem in their budding relationship.
Singing and dancing its way from start to finish, this Disney Channel Original Movie attempts to imitate the massive success enjoyed by another of the studio’s productions, High School Musical. While it offers catchy music, supportive parents, repentant moments, a Hispanic star and a trendy teen boy band, Camp Rock falls short of this goal.
Although less than stellar performances and a stereotypical plot are part of the problem, the script’s biggest fault is the character of Mitchie. Waffling unconvincingly between being shy and ambitious, it’s hard to sympathize with her reasons for creating a false persona. Throughout the film when she either hums (timidly) or belts out (with self-assertiveness) her signature number "This Is Me," the contradiction feels even more hypocritical.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Camp Rock.
The script uses many stereotypical characters, such as a bad boy superstar and nasty rich girl. Can you spot any others? Why do you think these kinds of portrayals appear so often in movies?
Mitchie’s poor self-image seems to be the motivation behind her lie. Why is she so ashamed of who she really is? Why does she want to be popular so badly? What things could she have done that would really have built her personal confidence?