Movie Review: Grease 2

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An English foreign exchange student falls for the leader of the Pink Ladies gang and learns to ride a motorbike to impress her.

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Patricia Birch, 1982

3 years after the events of the original Grease, all-girl gang The Pink Ladies have found a new leader in Stephanie Zinone (Michelle Pfeiffer). Rebellious and cool, Stephanie dumps her dopey boyfriend Johnny Nogerelli (Adrian Zmed) in hopes of finding a real “cool rider”. English transfer student Michael Carrington (Maxwell Caulfield) is pretty much the opposite of what she wants, but he’s taken with her the moment he meets her. Determined to win her over, Michael saves up to buy a motorbike and learn to ride it. When he appears on the motorbike, Stephanie finds herself attracted to him despite not recognising him. Meanwhile, Nogerelli forces Stephanie to give up her position as a Pink Lady, and dates her friend Paulette (Lorna Luft) to make her jealous.

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Grease 2 is a really disappointing movie. The idea of switching the genders up from the Grease story is one that has some potential, and almost by default, Grease 2 is a more feminist take on the material, though it’s still far from being a feminist movie. Unfortunately, the execution of this idea fails on almost every level. Firstly, Grease 2 is a musical without any musically talented stars. It’s so important to cast actors who can sing and dance to make a musical work. Michelle Pfeiffer is sweet and charming, but she doesn’t have the pipes to make this work. At least she commits to the character, though, dedicating herself to making it work. Maxwell Caulfield has all the charm of a damp dishcloth. The character is meant to be nerdy and sweet, but the actor comes across as pompous and arrogant. He’s also similarly lacking in the musical talent department. Of course, it doesn’t help that the songs aren’t good in the first place. It’s one thing for them to be badly executed, but they also lack that youthful energy and cheeky pep that made Grease so memorable. The film bounces aimlessly between barely connected musical numbers that are frantic but unfocused.

Part of the magic of Grease comes from a colourful cast of supporting characters. There are minor supporting characters from Grease who return for Grease 2, but the only really important character to return is Didi Conn as Frenchie, the pink-haired Pink Lady from the original. She’s misplaced and underused. The rest of the characters are barely developed at all – there are very few subplots, with the exception of Nogerelli’s attempts to use Paulette to get back at Stephanie. Paulette has a real “you go girl” moment at the end of the movie, but then we’re treated to a “We Belong Together”-esque number full of characters we don’t care about or even know the names of. A lot of the musical numbers seem to be attempting to imitate the original film’s songs, but they do nothing to advance the plot and aren’t even particularly well choreographed. They’re mostly just…boring. And that’s this film’s ultimate crime. It’s not just terrible, it’s boring.

Grease 2 on IMDb

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