Starring: Michelle Pfeiffer, Maxwell Caulfield, Adrian Zmed
Director: Patricia Birch
Running Time: 115 mins
Grease 2 is an American film and the sequel to Grease. A couple of years after Danny and Sandy’s rocking romance, Rydell High sees another duo in the same situation, but their allegiance to certain cliques keeps them apart.
If you want a lesson in how not to make a movie sequel, then look straight at Grease 2. Apart from the word Grease, the setting, and a few returning cast and crew, there’s nothing that relates this film to the original. What’s worse is that it features almost exactly the same plot, badly disguised as something slightly different, making this much closer to a remake than any sort of sequel.
So, the main thing to know about Grease 2 is that it’s barely a Grease sequel. There’s no Danny, no Sandy, none of the classic musical numbers, and none of the same flair. And this is all coming from someone who doesn’t think particularly highly of the original in the first place.
There are so many things that make this such a poor film, but the worst part of all is definitely the story. Whilst the original may have been insanely cheesy, it had a bit of passion to it. The story here is almost exactly the same, but retrodden in the dullest and most effortless way imaginable.
For starters, the lead characters are pretty much the same, only this time, the nervous one is the boy and the girl is the popular one. Their romance is identical to Danny and Sandy last time out, and the majority of the supporting characters aren’t too far away from their counterparts in the first movie.
Now, a shameless rehash of a film is generally pretty poor form, but what makes Grease 2 even worse is that it tries to cover that fact up with a few lacklustre new editions. For example, one of the characters is British. Also, the guys in the leather jackets aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Et cetera. Despite all that, it’s impossible to look away from the fact that you’re just watching Grease being made again, just with much less effort.
The performances here aren’t much to write home about either. John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John really made the original movie, and are the reason so many people remember it to this day. In the case of Grease 2, there’s no-one who even comes close to them. Michelle Pfeiffer is okay in the lead role, but all of her co-stars are incredibly poor.
From the completely overenthusiastic rider played by Adrian Zmed, to the plethora of comically ridiculous members of staff at Rydell High, there’s nobody that does anything to make this an entertaining watch. What’s worst, however, is that Maxwell Caulfield, whose performance is very dull and uncharismatic (especially when compared with Travolta’s), is shuffled out of the main frame of the picture.
That’s right, one of the film’s two leads is barely in it at all. Apart from making him an even less entertaining and relatable presence, Caulfield’s rare appearances worsen how wooden he feels on screen, in a role that should definitely be bringing a lot more fun to the table.
And then we come to the musical numbers. I’m no big fan of the original Grease soundtrack, but at least it has two fantastic songs, and the rest are all passable. In Grease 2, the music is totally laughable. It’s bad enough that the musical numbers feel completely forced, unnecessary and unnatural, but the things the songs are about are completely ridiculous, to the point where we have an entire five minute song dedicated to bowling innuendos, or even one that begins with an explanation of plant reproduction that descends into a class of teenagers harrassing one another.
If there are some positives to take from this film, I guess you could say that it’s not a bad-looking film. The costume design is just as good as the original (although the same can’t be said for the lacklustre production design), and the dance choreography in the musical numbers is okay, but not stellar.
Overall, it’s easy to see why Grease 2 hasn’t stood the test of time like its predecessor. A laughably bad musical with unlikable and underdeveloped characters that take part in a pathetic rehashing of the same story, badly disguised as a new plot that nobody would care to watch anyway, and that’s why I’m giving it a 4.2.