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Paramount Studios presents

Grease 2 (1982)

"Don't you think that's kind of weird? Not weird weird. But, like... exciting weird?"- Stephanie Zinone (Michelle Pfeiffer)

Stars: Maxwell Caulfield, Michelle Pfeiffer, Adrian Zmed, Lorna Luft, Didi Conn
Other Stars: Eve Arden, Sid Caesar, Dody Goodman, Tab Hunter, Connie Stevens
Director: Patricia Birch

MPAA Rating: PG for Some Material May Not Be Suitable for Children
Run Time: 01h:54m:15s
Release Date: 2003-06-10
Genre: musical

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B B-A-B D-


DVD Review

While 1978's Grease is a beloved movie musical, 1982's Grease 2 is not. A great deal of hype surrounded the sequel, one of the few for a musical in movie history, and few films have been a bigger disappointment to critics. However, there is a fan-base out there for this sequel despite Paramount's low-key release with no celebration and no extras. Grease 2 has achieved a minor level cult status with movie theater performances that are attended in the manner of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and, in a rare reversal, the musical film has been adapted for the stage.

The year is 1961 and America is in that nebulous time period between what was in the Fifties and what would be in the Sixties. Our film opens at the beginning of the school year as the kids return in a very energetic mass number, Back to School Again that is sung by The Four Tops and danced very enthusiastically by the entire cast. The lyrics are often very funny and there are some hysterical double entendres, most notably in Score Tonight, Do It for Our Country and Reproduction.

A plot line begins to emerge when Stephanie Zinone (Michelle Pfeiffer) declares herself to have outgrown her boyfriend Johnny Nogerelli (Adrian Zmed) and breaks it off with him. In the hallway, she bumps into foreign exchange student Michael Carrington (Maxwell Caulfield) and he falls for her at first sight. One of the most often noted facts about Grease 2 is that it features the first starring role by Pfeiffer in the role of Stephanie, leader of the Pink Ladies. Overall, she is very cute and acquits herself well, making the role more than just a trivia question. Her performance of Cool Rider is very memorable on several levels. "If he's cool enough, he can burn me through and through!"

Caulfield plays the role of Stephanie's love interest who finds himself at Rydell High demonstrating almost no dancing and little singing ability in a film that is all about singing and dancing. The character just requires one of those triple threat musical screen presences that Caulfield doesn't have, at least not in this, his first film. However, he does achieve a performance that is an essential quality of Grease 2, as it is, and it would be hard to picture the film without him. Adrian Zmed is Johnny Nogerelli, the number one guy in the T-Birds motorcycle gang and he plays it mostly for laughs, leaning more to the Eric Von Zipper-style from the Beach Blanket movies than the Johnny Malone of The Wild One. Zmed was a friend to Tom Hanks in the popular Bachelor Party and played T.J. Hooker's younger partner opposite William Shatner on television. He also put his dancing abilities to good use as the host of the syndicated television variety show, Dance Fever.

In the social hierarchy of Rydell High, since Stephanie is a Pink Lady, she can only date T-Birds. When Michael finds out that she is looking for a special motorcycle rider for a boyfriend, he builds his own bike and emerges with a pair of goggles as a mysterious rider in the nick of time to save the T-Birds from an opposing motorcycle gang that has been encroaching on their turf. As the class moves through the school year, Michael must find a way to reveal to Stephanie that he is the cool rider that "knocked her bobby socks right off."

Other cast members include Lorna Luft, known for being Judy Garland's daughter, in a rare film role. She enthusiastically draws on several different feminine stereotypes in creating Pink Lady Paulette, but does so with good humor and her performance is one of the positives of the film. Didi Conn as Frenchy is one of the links to the original Grease, as Michael is her cousin. As with many of the actors from the original who appeared in the sequel, Conn can probably point to an addition to her house that was paid for by the performance. Likewise, super geek Eddie Deezen makes a cameo appearance as the nerdish Eugene.

Eve Arden (Principal McGee) lends her Our Miss Brooks aura to this film as well as the original Grease film. Another to appear in both films is television comedy legend Sid Caesar, who is definitely under-utilized as Coach Calhoun. Three bit parts to note is Matt Lattanzi, future husband of Olivia Newton-John, sings and dances as Brad in the talent show along with Jean and Liz Sagal, twin sisters to television actress Katey Sagal. Tab Hunter is in his John Waters-mode between Polyester and Lust in the Dust as he leads the kids in the show stopper, Reproduction. Connie Stevens gets adolescent hormones raging as Drama/English teacher Miss Yvette Mason.

The songs are really the heart of of the film and there are some interesting ones. Score Tonight takes place in the local Bowl-A-Rama and features most of the cast in a wild romp about adding up the pins. Do It for Your Country is a very funny attempt by T-Bird DiMucci to raise the patriotism of Pink Lady Sharon in a bomb shelter. With the fear of "nucleid" devastation so close, he does not want them to die without every having done "it." Rock-A-Hula Luau really defies easy description as the cast goes Hawaiian. Girl For All Seasons and Prowlin' both highlight the talent show sequences.

Enjoying Grease 2 is something that all the critics say shouldn't happen. Some call it the worst musical ever made, but there is a lot of humor in the sly script and some scenes that are just out and out funny. Grease 2 is certainly like no musical ever made and darn it, those songs will get stuck in your head. It has a repeatablility factor that many films lack that might justify a DVD purchase rather than a rental.

Back to School Again
Vocal: The Four Tops
Music: Louis St. Louis
Lyrics: Howard Greenfield

Score Tonight
Music and Lyrics: Dominic Bugatti, Frank Musker, Louis St. Louis

Music and Lyrics: Christopher Cerf

Cool Rider
Music and Lyrics: Dennis Linde

Who's That Guy?
(Love Will) Turn Back The Hands of Time
Music: Louis St. Louis
Lyrics: Howard Greenfield

Do It For Our Country
Music and Lyrics: Rob Hegel

Music: Louis St. Louis
Lyrics: Michael Gibson

Girl for All Seasons
Rock-A-Hula Luau
Music and Lyrics: Dominic Bugatti, Frank Musker

Music: Dominic Bugatti, Frank Musker
Lyrics: Dominic Bugatti, Frank Musker, Christopher Cerf

We'll Be Together
Music and Lyrics: Bob Morrison, Johnny MacRae

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The anamorphic widescreen transfer is a really good one with excellent crispness in color and detail. The mass dancing sequences are just lovely visually and very few flaws were visible overall. Some of the scenes seem to be oversaturated and, for the most part, there's very little edge enhancement. Colors and fleshtones appear natural and the black levels are right on cue. In this case, I can almost believe that whatever budget was assigned to this project, it was all spent on the video and audio transfers, a policy that more DVDs might look at in the future.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, Frenchyes

Audio Transfer Review: The audio transfer gives us a full-bodied English Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Surround that provides a nice platform for the quirky songs. The Surround track sounds good on computer, small system and home theater. In 5.1, despite occasional hollowness, there was quite a bit of fun surround, especially in the talent show and the luau. Also included is a nicely-rendered French Dolby Surround that is great fun, even if you don't speak French.

Audio Transfer Grade:

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 18 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Yikes, not even an attempt at a fake extra. Nada. Not a single bone thrown to the Grease 2 cult.

Extras Grade: D-

Final Comments

Hate Grease 2 because somebody told you to, but the rest of us will laugh at the humor and enjoy the enthusiastic performances. If you like musicals or Michelle Pfeiffer, pick up the DVD and experience the wacky romp it is.

Jesse Shanks 2003-06-15