Are you tired of having to meet up with other Grease 2 fans after dark behind abandoned drive-in snack bars just to talk? Are you silently humming “Reproduction” when everyone else is talking about their favorite scenes from the original film? Just like how cable enabled Patricia Birch’s much-maligned sequel to find an audience after the shabbiest theatrical reception ever, the internet has allowed that audience to realize how huge it really is.
The screenplay gets a lot of flack for simply reversing the genders of the two leads and calling it a day. While that is true, as Michael (Maxwell Caulfield) is the uncool one mooning over the hipper than hip, Stephanie (Michelle Pfeiffer), the sequel has the good sense to move the two most appealing offscreen aspects of the first to the forefront: how Danny and Sandy fell in love in the first place and the foxifacation of Sandy from good girl to cool chick at the finale. We not only get to see everything the dork has to do to become cool, but we also see the love solidify and feel honestly earned instead of bestowed as a plot anchor.
“…Michael is the uncool one mooning over the hipper than hip, Stephanie…”
We are so lucky to have a motion picture directed by choreography giant Patricia Birch. Her decades of achievements on Broadway and in cinema include choreographing the original stage musical, both Grease titles, and the dance number for Big. Her direction of movement gives the whole production a beat you just don’t get from other pictures. Look at the sequence where Michael sells Nogerelli (Adrian Zmed) a term paper. Every move is perfectly timed. The filmmaker wound the movie like a watch, one that has definitely taken its licking and kept on ticking.
It’s easy to see why Pfeiffer is so perfect for the disillusioned leader of the Pink Ladies. Throughout, Grease 2 she summons the same frustrated smoldering boredom that she mastered for her following picture, Scarface. Caulfield gets to be the perfect Spiderman before Spiderman, being the cool, mysterious figure in goggles while Peter Parkering out in his daytime life. The rest of the Pink Ladies stand up and out. Lorna Luft brings a classic 1950s vibe to Paulette, the Rizzo of the picture. She should have had more roles in many other films instead of flaming out after another.
"…it's the music that makes a musical, and Grease 2 has some great songs..."