Back to Grease’s Rydell High again, in the sequel…
So my latest offering is Grease 2, a musical sequel about the newboy Englishman’s love for a Pink Lady with lots of singing and dancing…
Grease 2 – Trailer, ParamountmoviesNL, http://www.youtube.com and photographs © Paramount Movies
In 1978, a couple of years before my grandmother introduced me to the original Dallas (1978-91), a series of which regular readers will have read about ad nauseam, I was obsessed with other things. Cats, Disneyland and Blue Peter (1958-) being 3 of these. A 4th around the time of my 9th birthday was the musical film Grease (1978) with Olivia Newton John and John Travolta. I was the proud owner of the Grease soundtrack album, the bag and the book.
Then about 4 years later, the Grease sequel, the imaginatively named Grease 2 (1982) came out at the cinema. My youngest sister and I watched the sequel when it was out on VHS (ask your mum) a few years after that. This second Grease film is one of two films I know by heart – the other being St Elmo’s Fire (1986) – and now it’s kinda cringeworthy when you watch other more worthy 1980s movies. I had the sequel’s soundtrack too but on CD of which I bought copies for myself and my youngest sister in the last days of Woolworths when they were selling electric fans for less than a fiver.
So now for the review of this the romantic musical sequel. Grease 2 is set in 1961 starring the then little known leads of Maxwell Caulfield – in his pre The Colbys (1985-87) TV days – and Michelle Pfeiffer in one of her earliest film roles. There are a few members of the original cast in the school the most notable being Didi Conn who returns as Frenchy. Frenchy provides salient points of the first Grease film for the benefit of those who hadn’t seen the original and just in case staunch fans had forgotten the storyline. The film tells of Sandy’s cousin the terribly English, Michael Carrington (Caulfield) – ironically Caulfield played Miles Colby who married a Carrington in The Colbys – is the new boy at the new term at Rydell High. Michael falls for the pretty Stephanie (Pfeiffer), the leader of the Pink Ladies. Initially she is dating the leader of the T-Birds Johnny (Adrian Zmed).
Stephanie and Johnny go bowling with some friends. Steph falls out with Johnny and says she will kiss the first guy who comes into the bowling hall after Johnny flirts with her friend. Cue snog with Michael. Later Stephanie asks Michael to help her with her school work and as he becomes her confidant she tells him about her ideal guy, a biker type. Michael then earns money to by a motorbike and wins her affections becoming the mysterious biker guy she’s craving. Steph falls for this alterego with the school not realising it’s Michael as he doesn’t take his helmet off. Michael plans to tell her about this alter ego discussing the situation with his own confidant the ever present Frenchy. And singing about it. Simultaneously, to the Michael/Stephanie story, there is a back story about a talent competition to keep the rest of the cast busy. Or they spend the rest of the time singing whether or not they should put out with each other.
As a guilty pleasure, it should be warned this is a movie you will watch from start to finish. The songs are a bit contrived at times and you can almost guess when a musical number will begin. But it is guaranteed by the end of the film, you will remember at least one of the songs of by heart. Luckily the very catchy Girl for All Seasons is sung more often than most, so hopefully this will stick in your head more than the awful Reproduction song which takes place in a Biology class. The dance routines are pretty infectious and are enthusiastically carried out by the leads and supporting actors alike.
The film is worth watching to catch a glimpse of the early careers of Caulfield and Pfeiffer who have both gone on to bigger and better appearances on film, TV and stage despite the initial reaction when the film had come out. Pfeiffer is an Oscar nominated actress and appeared in movies such as Scarface (1983) and The Witches of Eastwick (1987). Caulfield has appeared in the TV soaps Emmerdale (1972-) and Casualty (1986). The supporting cast, Zmed went on to be William Shatner’s sidekicking TV’s T.J. Hooker (1982-86) (minus the singing). And Pamela Adlon to Californication. (2007-14) The other recognisable support, Maureen Teefy was first seen as main lead characters Doris in the film Fame (1980), but sadly for many of the supporting cast and in relation to the Fame title song, their career appears not to have lasted forever and noone remembers their names.
Weeper Rating: /10
Handsqueeze Rating: /10