- Movie Rating -

Grease 2 (1982)

| June 11, 1982

All through Grease 2, I kept thinking back to different movie.  Not the earlier movie from 1978, but rather George Lucas’ American Graffiti.  Both take place roughly around the same time – Lucas’ film in 1962 and this film in 1961.  What Graffiti understood all-too-well was that the world was changing in the early 60s, things were topsy turvy with social changes and political changes and that an eruption was about to take place on the American landscape in the form of a seemingly endless war in Vietnam.

Grease 2 doesn’t know that.  It exists in a kind of fantasyland that regards the early 60s as a time of music and hot rods, a hangover of the 50s greaser era without ever regarding the changes that have obviously taken place.  Even the songs seem alarmingly naïve.

If you really loved the original Grease, then Grease 2 will not quench your thirst, mainly because it doesn’t really understand high school, kids, gangs, rock and roll or much of anything else.  It’s a far more sex-minded film closer to the spirit of Porky’s than a puppy-love musical.  More than the first film, this one feels like 50s dress-up.

John Travolta and Olivia Newton John are absent here and replaced by a group of kids that feel like over-zealous clones.  They aren’t as interesting.  The punk gang in this movie are part of the scene, flirting with teachers and having at least one teacher flirt back – wrong!  Punks in leather jackets (The T-Birds) are supposed to shock the establishment with rule-breaking and rude behavior but in this Rydell High they are respected, almost like a faculty-sanctioned club.

The softening of the outsider class struggle undermines the story here, which has Michael (Max Caulfield) a new kid from Australia falling in love with Stephanie (Michelle Pfieffer) a member of the Pink Ladies, who are girlfriends of the T-Birds.  The law of the land says that Pink Ladies can only date T-Birds, but if the T-Birds are part of the landscape, then that would seem to rob this unholy union of its potential danger.

I know I sound like I’m over-analyzing this thing.  I’m suppose to sit back and enjoy the show but the movie never establishes the rules.  I wasn’t the world’s biggest fan of the first movie but at least it had a template, some social rules, something to follow.  This film seems to be making it up as it goes along.  The performances are dull, the songs are forgettable save for the opening “Back to School” number, but this movie feels out of time, out of date and without purpose or meaning.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1982) View IMDB Filed in: Musical