Questionable Things We Ignored In The "Camp Rock" Movies

We can probably all agree that the 2000s was the peak of Disney Channel Original Movies. Many of us grew up with classics like "High School Musical," "The Lizzie McGuire Movie," "Cadet Kelly," and "The Cheetah Girls." If those movies bring back an instant wave of nostalgia, you were probably also obsessed with the "Camp Rock" movies as a kid.

"Camp Rock" followed Mitchie (Demi Lovato), a girl with a gigantic grin and ambitions of becoming a singer. Mitchie sets off for a summer of music and fun at Camp Rock, where she meets Shane Grey (Joe Jonas), a member of a famous band and a diva who is way out of his comfort zone at the rustic lakeside camp. After lying about her mom, who is really the camp chef, Mitchie makes and loses friends and eventually performs at the camp's Final Jam talent show, where Shane realizes she is the mysterious girl he heard singing weeks ago. It's kind of like "Cinderella"-meets-"The Parent Trap"-meets-"High School Musical." And, for that reason, it's a silly, cliche-ridden, cringe-worthy joy. And the sequel only gets better.

Even though we all saw "Camp Rock" as kids or teens, many of us probably didn't realize just how many questionable things happened in these movies.

Let's start by talking about the hair and the clothes

Remember when you first watched "Camp Rock?" Chances are, if you were anything like us, you were totally obsessed with Mitchie and Tess's clothes. Plus, you probably thought that Shane was the cutest boy you'd ever seen.

However, rewatching the movie today, we suddenly realized just how awful the fashions really were. The movies were filled with cropped cardigans, useless belts, cargo capris, bizarre t-shirt layering, random scarves over tank tops, and dresses over jeans. And how could we ever forget Tess's cowl neck sequin tunic with capri leggings look? Plus, Joe Jonas's choppy, straightened hair cut really speaks for itself. Let's just say it was peak 2000s fashion — which was definitely not a good look.

And we aren't the only ones who have noticed just how bad the "Camp Rock" fashions were. As one writer wrote for BuzzFeed, "Is Kevin wearing..........a shawl?" As Tess would say, "You think you're hot, but I'm sorry you're not!" We are definitely glad these looks didn't survive past 2010!

Camp Rock borrowed a bit too much from High School Musical

Rewatching "Camp Rock" today, we suddenly realized that it bears more than just a passing resemblance to another well-known Disney Channel movie — "High School Musical." The first "High School Musical" movie came out in 2006 and was a huge success for Disney. Two years later, they released "Camp Rock," another movie musical about teens battling it out on stage. As Vox noted, it's pretty clear that with "Camp Rock," Disney was trying to copy the HSM formula that had served them so well a few years earlier.

Let's take a look at some of the similarities. First of all, the leading ladies are practically the same. Both Mitchie and Gabriella are shy outsiders with stage fright who finally find their voices in a dramatic onstage song at the end of the movie. Then there's the male love interest. Both Troy and Shane are it-boys who fall for the leading lady because she's "different." Then, of course, there are the cringey lunchroom dance numbers, the blonde mean girls, the cheesy dialogue, and so on. Let's face it: "Camp Rock" is basically a carbon copy of "High School Musical."

Mitchie is actually a pretty awful girl

As a teen movie, "Camp Rock" follows a pretty standard formula — a shy underdog is bullied by a group of popular mean girls and ultimately triumphs. We saw it in "High School Musical," "Mean Girls," "Heathers," and even "Grease." However, in "Camp Rock," the shy underdog is actually pretty mean herself. It turns out, the heroine of this film is an awful person.

First of all, she lies to everyone at camp about her mother, who is the camp's chef, because she's ashamed of her meager upbringing. And, she becomes obsessed with the idea of being popular. After making friends with Caitlin (played by Alyson Stoner), she promptly ditches her for Tess without even looking back. Plus, she moves into Tess's cabin, leaving her mom behind, too — after taking some of her clothes! Mitchie is supposed to be the film's leading lady, but when you really think about it, she doesn't really have that many good qualities as a person!

Joe Jonas is wearing what looks like a wedding band in the movie

Eagle-eyed fans of "Camp Rock" may have noticed one strange detail about the movies already. If you take a look at shots of Shane Grey, you may notice that he appears to be wearing what looks like a wedding band on his ring finger — which is obviously a bit strange considering the fact that Shane is meant to be a single, unmarried teenager in the movie!

It turns out, the ring wasn't a character choice. Instead, it was Joe Jonas's purity ring. Jonas and his brothers all wore purity rings as teenagers as a symbol of their dedication to abstaining from sex until marriage (via Today). As the movie's director, Matthew Diamond, told Insider, they never officially decided that Shane as a character would also have a purity ring. "I think we were just OK with it," Diamond said. According to Diamond, he didn't think the ring looked too much like a wedding band. After all, it's pretty clear that the character is unmarried. "He's a guy who wears a ring. And we're not ever pointing it out and saying this is his purity ring," Diamond went on.

The acting in Camp Rock wasn't always all that great

While we never thought that "Camp Rock" was an Oscar-worthy film, we didn't realize just how dreadful some of the acting was when we were younger. But rewatching the movie, it's impossible not to cringe at some of the line deliveries. And we have to admit that the very emotional scene when Mitchie confesses to her lie involves a lot of dramatic sighs and invisible tears. Naturally, several TikTok users have taken note.

In fact, the acting is so bad, even the film's own stars have commented on it. In 2020, for instance, Demi Lovato rewatched the movie and posted videos of their reactions on Instagram. In one Instagram story, they wrote, "The amount of awkward f***ing things I did in this movie... I can't." In another, they can be heard laughing and saying "so f***ing awkward — what!" Clearly, even Lovato can admit that they made some — well — questionable choices in these movies.

The movie features a lot of food — but no one actually eats

"Camp Rock" involves a lot of food. Mitchie's mom is the camp chef, after all, and Mitchie has to spend part of her summer working in the kitchen to help pay for her time at the camp. There are also plenty of scenes that take place in the camp's dining hall.

There is one very weird thing about all of the food in "Camp Rock" — we literally never see anyone actually eating it! For instance, in the very first scene, Mitchie's mom presents her with a beautiful omelette before sitting down at the table with an omelette of her own. "Great cheese omelette, by the way," Mitchie says, pointing at her untouched plate.

Why so much uneaten food? Well, as director Matthew Diamond told Insider, he had actually asked the cast not to touch the food because of continuity. "You don't want their plates to mismatch," he said. "If they ate an entire taco the first time, but they only feel like one bite the second time, and I have to cut between the first take and the second take, you can't really do that."

Camp Rock featured some seriously weird choreography

If you were anything like us as teens, you and your friends probably spent more than a few hours obsessing over the dance numbers in "Camp Rock." Maybe you even tried to learn some of the moves.

Looking back on those routines today, we have to admit — they are some of the most cringe-worthy dances we have ever seen. Seriously — what is up with the weird choreography in "Camp Rock"? One TikTok user even went viral for making fun of the weirdest dance moves in the movies. The choreographer was clearly obsessed with made-up hip-hop moves, child breakdancing, claps, awkward hops and head bobs, and a lot of strange punchy arm movements. Let's just say these are not moves we have ever seen before!

In a featurette for "Camp Rock 2," choreographer Rosero McCoy explained, "You'll see all kinds of tricks and flips, from beat boy moves to locking moves, popping moves." Well, he certainly got that right!

Shane is actually a huge diva

Mitchie may be bad, but "Camp Rock's" leading man is even worse. Shane Grey is the lead singer of Connect 3, and let's just say, the fame has gone to his head. In the first "Camp Rock" movie, he waltzes around complaining that he's running out of hair products, refuses to get out of bed to teach his class, and demands his uncle get his agent on the phone. What a diva!

As if all of that weren't enough, he storms in on Mitchie in the kitchen complaining about his food. Of course, he does have a bit of a point. As a BuzzFeed writer put it, "Ok no offense because Shane Gray sucks and is rude but SO DOES HAVING FOOD ALLERGIES so I mean, he's not in the wrong for asking for them to be recognized, that's all I'm saying!" Nevertheless, Mitchie was definitely right to tell him that this is no way to talk to another human. Remind us why we were all swooning over this jerk as kids?

When Shane sings Gotta Find You, the sound design doesn't really make sense

Remember that adorable scene when Shane asks Mitchie to listen to his new song "Gotta Find You"? Well, something really strange happens that we all just decided to ignore.

At first, everything is pretty normal. Shane starts strumming on his guitar, gazing into Mitchie's eyes. However, when he reaches the chorus, there is suddenly another voice harmonizing with him and other instruments begin to play. Some TikTok users even noticed this weird moment in the movie. What is going on with this sound design — it literally makes no sense!

According to the film's director, he took some "dramatic license" in the scene to make the song sound better. "Obviously nobody else is there, you can see, there's a wide shot and it's just the two of them, and it's designed as a great romantic moment," he told Insider. Fair enough!

Some of the music actually still holds up

Ok, a lot of things about "Camp Rock" now come across as incredibly cringey — the acting, the dancing, the clothes, the list goes on. However, there is one thing about the movies that has stood the test of time. There are some serious bangers in these two films! For one thing, "This is Me," the duet that Demi Lovato and Joe Jonas sing at the end of "Camp Rock" is still such a great song. In fact, their duet, "Wouldn't Change a Thing" from "Camp Rock 2" is also an amazing ballad.

Plus, there are a bunch of other great, under-appreciated tunes from the two films. As a BuzzFeed writer noted about the song "What It Takes", "Lola Scott is an icon??? This song is a BOP???" And, as Lovato said about "Our Time is Here" in an Instagram story in 2020, "This sh*t slaps, not gonna lie" (via Teen Vogue). Even Tess's Final Jam song, "Two Stars," is pretty good. As one fan wrote for The Tab, "Tess' song at Final Jam was actually a banger and she didn't deserve to be embarrassed on stage."

Camp Rock doesn't really have the moral backbone of other Disney classics

It's no secret that Disney loves a tale that hinges on morality. In Disney, the good guys always prevail over evil. However, this formula changes in "Camp Rock." As Entertainment Weekly pointed out in their review of the movie when it first came out, the good guys don't persevere because they are "brave" or "better." Instead, the heroes and heroines are just — well — lucky. "Mitchie admits her mom is the cook only because she's cornered, and Mean Girl gets sweeter only because she flubs her big routine," the review states.

They definitely have a point. We've already established that Mitchie and Shane aren't exactly great role models. And neither of them become much better or learn many lessons over the course of the movie. Instead, they just happen to find each other and perform a killer duet out of luck.

When Shane sings with Mitchie, he kind of steals her spotlight

One of the most iconic moments in "Camp Rock" comes at the end of the film when Mitchie sings her song "This Is Me" at the end of Final Jam. When Shane hears her singing, he suddenly realizes that Mitchie was the girl he heard singing earlier in the film. She's the one who helped him rediscover his old "sound." He spontaneously leaps to the stage, microphone in hand, to join her song with his own song. It's meant to be a romantic, boy-gets-girl moment.

But in hindsight, this moment isn't nearly as romantic as we used to think. After all, Mitchie has been preparing to sing this song on stage for the entire movie. Plus, she's adamant that she doesn't want any back-up singers — she wants to do this on her own, independently. And that's exactly what she does until Shane appears, effectively stealing her spotlight. One BuzzFeed writer put it, "The one thing that I know for sure is that 'This Is Me' was NOT supposed to be a duet!! It's a song about ONE person." They added, "Earth to Mitchie!! Now is NOT the time for romance. Shane stole your spotlight! Don't be a fool!!!" They have a point!

Maybe we misjudged Tess when we were young

Throughout "Camp Rock", Tess is presented as a typical mean girl — blonde, cruel, dictatorial, vain, bossy, and so on. Eventually, her sidekicks see the light and they ditch her right before her Final Jam performance. Then, when Tess gets up on stage, she gets distracted by her mother in the audience and ends up getting knocked over by a prop mirror. She runs off stage in tears. Finally — justice!

However, rewatching "Camp Rock", we couldn't help but notice that maybe Tess wasn't really the villain we originally thought. After all, she is the daughter of a multi-Grammy award winner who apparently ignores her. Tess is only bossy and domineering because she's desperate to prove herself and get the attention she craves from her mother. It's actually a pretty tragic story. Maybe we should have been a little more forgiving of poor Tess!

Wait, did Nick Jonas just sing a Jason Mraz song?

One great thing about "Camp Rock 2" was the fact that Nick Jonas got a little more screen time. He even got a love interest in the form of Chloe Bridgers. However, there was one thing about his performance that we never really noticed before. After struggling to open up to her, he finally reveals everything about himself in a song called "Introducing Me." And this song sounds very, very familiar. If you know the song "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz, you'll know what we mean. Both songs have a similar tune and are even sung in the same key — you can even listen to them side by side on YouTube.

Apparently, Mraz even took note of the similarities. As he told, he didn't bother to take legal action as he thought the song wasn't good enough to warrant any more of his attention. "I heard the song, and it was just a tremendous, tremendous horror of a tune," he said. "I noticed a few similarities in the melody, but it wasn't enough to pick up the phone and argue with somebody about it. If anything, I just wanted my $1.29 back that I spent on iTunes" (via MTV). Yikes, that's pretty harsh!