Grease 2 (1982): Classic Review

grease-2-poster-smiles1-650x975For the lack of anything better to watch,  I sat through the entire Grease 2 movie, which was on cable last night.  Having not heard of anything about it, aside from being a sequel to the very successful Grease movie which made John Travolta and Olivia Newton John the most highly sought after actors in the 70s, I was completely enthralled by the sequel, but for all the wrong reasons.  In truth, I only finished the entire thing because I thought Maxwell Caulfield circa 1982 was super cute.

The sequel brings us back to Rydell High where T-Birds and Pink Ladies, the most popular clique in school reign supreme. On the first day of school, Michael,  a straight A exchange student is immediately smitten with Stephanie (Michelle Pfeiffer), a Pink Lady with an independent streak and a sassy attitude. When Michael tries to woo Stephanie however,  Stephanie tells him that she wants to fall for her ideal man — a cool rider who has a badass bike and an attitude to match. And because this is a teen movie after all, Michael sets out to transform himself from buttoned up goody two shoes to the very guy Stephanie dreams of.

There’s a reason why this movie bombed in the box office thirty years ago, and it is the same reason that viewers up to this very day cringe at the sheer thought of this movie. While it tried to ride the coattails of the first film’s success, it had none of the elements that made Grease such a standout film.

For one, the story was so shallow, and so were the characters. True, they were pretty to look at (no offense to Pfeiffer and Caulfield who have proven themselves to be great actors in their other roles) but the script didn’t give them anything much to work with. Stephanie was supposed to be independent but she blows off everything at the thought of hanging out with a biker she doesn’t even know. Michael, who was supposed to be smart, sacrifices his individuality just to fit in to the T-Bird jacket. And let’s not talk about the other characters whose only function was to provide a backdrop for the romance of the two.

Secondly, the songs were awful and lacked any substance whatsoever. And the production numbers — I love a good musical like any other person but the production numbers seemed so awkward, just popping at random moments. There was no consistency whatsoever. It was a total mess.

Grease 2 lacked the charm and relateability of the original movie, but its biggest flaw was that it lacked depth. If Grease was a reflection of the teenagers of the 80s in the US, then it did the youth of that age a great disservice. It portrayed high school kids like vapid, shallow, sex crazed wildlings and that is really unfair for any generation because there was no redeeming factor in the message of the movie at all. I wouldn’t say that its the worst teen movie I’ve seen but it sure comes close.

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