Grease 2 is a 1982 American musical romantic comedy film and the sequel to the 1978 film Grease, directed & choreographed by Patricia Birch, starring Maxwell Caufield and Michelle Pfeiffer in the lead roles.
It was also produced by Allan Carr and Robert Stigwood.
| Spoiler warning: The following contains plot details about|
the entire movie.
"Grease 2" is set in 1962 (two years after the original "Grease" movie).
It's thee first day of school at Rydell High and the T-Birds & the Pink Ladies dance and sing as they enter the high school ("Back to School Again"). The Pink Ladies are now led by Stephanie Zinone (Michelle Pfeiffer), who feels that she's "outgrown" her relationship with her ex-boyfriend, Johnny Nogerelli (Adrian Zmed), the arrogant and rather immature new leader of the T-Birds.
A clean-cut British student Michael Carrington (Maxwell Caulfield) (who is a cousin of Sandy Olsson from the previous film) arrives at the school & is welcomed by Frenchy (Didi Conn), who has returned to Rydell to get her high school diploma so she can start her own cosmetics company.
Michael eventually meets Stephanie and quickly becomes infatuated with her. At the local bowling alley, a game ("Score Tonight") turns sour due to the animosity between Johnny and Stephanie. Stephanie retaliates by kissing the next man who walks in the door, who just happens to be Michael.
Bemused by this unexpected kiss, Michael asks her out, but he learns that she has a very specific vision of her ideal man ("Cool Rider"). As he realizes that he will only win her affection if he turns himself into a cool rider, Michael accepts payment from the T-Birds to write term papers for them; he uses the cash to buy a motorcycle.
Following an unusual biology lesson ("Reproduction") given by substitute teacher, Mr. Stuart (Tab Hunter), a gang of rival motorcyclists called the Cycle Lords (most of whom are members of the defunct Scorpions) led by Leo Balmudo (Dennis C. Stewart) surprise the T-Birds at the bowling alley.
Before the fight starts, a lone mysterious (unnamed) biker appears (who is Michael in disguise), defeats the enemy gang and disappears into the night ("Who's That Guy?") & Stephanie is fascinated with the stranger.
Meanwhile, Louis (Peter Frechette) (one of the T-Birds) attempts to trick his sweetheart Sharon (Maureen Teefy) (one of the Pink Ladies and Stephanie's friends) into losing her virginity to him by taking her to a fallout shelter and faking a nuclear attack ("Let's Do It for Our Country").
The next evening while working at a gas station/garage, Stephanie is surprised again by the Cool Rider & they enjoy a romantic twilight motorcycle ride. Just as Michael is about to reveal his identity, they're interrupted by the arrival of the T-Birds and Pink Ladies.
Before Michael leaves, he tells Stephanie that he will see her at the school talent show, in which the Pink Ladies and T-Birds are performing. Johnny threatens to fight the Cool Rider if he sees him with her again. The Pink Ladies walk away haughtily, but this has little effect on the T-Birds' self-confidence ("Prowlin'").
At school, Stephanie's poor grades in English lead her to accept Michael's offer of help. Johnny, upon seeing them together in a discussion, demands that Stephanie quit the Pink Ladies to preserve his honor ("rep", reputation). Although still enamored with the Cool Rider, interactions with Michael reveal that she has become romantically interested in him as well. Michael ponders over his continuing charade he puts on for Stephanie ("Charades").
At the talent show, Stephanie and the Cool Rider meet, but they are ambushed by the T-Birds who pursue Michael on their respective motorcycles with Stephanie & the Pink Ladies following in a car. They chase the Cool Rider to a construction site which conceals a deadly drop & the biker's absence suggests that he has perished below which leaves Stephanie heartbroken and inconsolable.
Johnny and his T-Birds remove the competing Preptones preppie boys by tying them to a shower pole in the boys' locker room and drenching them.
During the Pink Ladies' performance in the talent show ("Girl for All Seasons"), Stephanie enters a dreamlike fantasy world where she is reunited with her mystery biker ("(Love Will) Turn Back the Hands of Time"). She is named winner of the contest and crowned the queen of the upcoming graduation luau, with Johnny hailed as king for his performance of "Prowlin'" with his fellow T-Birds.
The school year ends with the luau ("Rock-a-Hula Luau"), during which the Cycle Lords appear and begin to destroy the celebration. However, the Cool Rider reappears. After he defeats the Cycle Lords again, he reveals himself to be Michael.
Initially shocked, Johnny gives him a T-Birds jacket, officially welcoming him into the gang & Stephanie accepts that she can now be with him. All of the couples pair off happily at the seniors' graduation as the graduating class sings ("We'll Be Together").
The movie credits start rolling in yearbook-style, as in the original film.
- "Back to School Again" – Cast and The Four Tops (verses by the Pink Ladies are absent from the soundtrack)
- "Score Tonight" – T-Birds, Pink Ladies, Cast
- "Brad" – Noreen and Doreen
- "Cool Rider" – Stephanie
- "Reproduction" – Mr. Stuart and Students
- "Who's That Guy?" – Michael, T-Birds, Pink Ladies, Cycle Lords, and Cast
- "Do It for Our Country" – Louis and Sharon (Sharon's part is absent from the soundtrack)
- "Prowlin'" – Johnny and T-Birds
- "Charades" – Michael
- "Girl for All Seasons" – Sharon, Paulette, Rhonda, and Stephanie
- "(Love Will) Turn Back the Hands of Time" – Stephanie and Michael
- "Rock-a-Hula Luau (Summer Is Coming)" – Cast
- "We'll Be Together" – Michael, Stephanie, Johnny, Paulette, and Cast
- Maxwell Caulfield as Michael Carrington
- Michelle Pfeiffer as Stephanie Zinone
- Lorna Luft as Paulette Rebchuck
- Maureen Teefy as Sharon Cooper
- Alison Price as Rhonda Ritter
- Pamela Segall as Dolores Rebchuck
- Adrian Zmed as Johnny Nogerelli
- Peter Frechette as Louis DiMucci
- Christopher McDonald as Goose Mackenzie
- Leif Green as Davey Jaworski
- Didi Conn as Frenchy
- Eve Arden as Principal Magee
- Sid Caesar as Coach Calhoun
- Dody Goodman as Blanche Hodel
- Tab Hunter as Mr. Stewart
- Dick Patterson as Mr. Spears
- Connie Stevens as Miss Mason
Co-producer Allan Carr (the co-producer of "Grease") had a deal with Paramount Pictures to be paid $5 million to produce a sequel, with production beginning within three years of the original film. Carr decided to hire Patricia Birch as director for the sequel, as she had previously served as the choreographer for the stage and film versions of "Grease."
Birch was initially hesitant to accept after learning that neither composers Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey nor John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John would be involved in making the film.
The total film budget for the production was $11.2 million (which was almost double the budget of the original).
"Grease 2" was supposed to be the second film (and first sequel) in a proposed Grease franchise of four films and a television series. (The third and fourth films were to take place in the '60s and during the counterculture era.)
However, the projects were cancelled due to the underwhelming box office performance of the sequel.
Maxwell Caulfield was unhappy with the film's "drab" title & he unsuccessfully lobbied to change it to "Son of Grease."
Birch proposed an idea to feature John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John reprising their characters as a married couple running a gas station near the end of the film, but it did not come to fruition.
Paramount tried to get Jeff Conaway and Stockard Channing from the first film to do cameos in the sequel, but it didn't not happen. Timothy Hutton was announced as a male star, but Maxwell Caulfield was signed after impressing producers on Broadway in the play "Entertaining Mister Sloane."
Pfeiffer had only made a few films before. According to her:
"That was really weird for me. I'd been taking singing lessons and I had taken dance, because I loved to dance, but I had never considered myself a professional at all. I went on this audience as a fluke, and somehow, through the process of going back and dancing, and then going back and singing, I ended up getting the part. I went crazy with that movie. I came to New York and the paparazzi were waiting at the hotel. I know the producers put them up to it. I am basically very private, and I'm really nervous about doing publicity. Every time I set up an interview, I say, "That's it, this is my last one. I'll do this because I committed to doing it, but I'm never doing another one." It was insane."
Lorna Luft was the last star cast in the movie. The part played by Connie Stevens was originally meant for Annette Funicello, but she was unable to appear in the movie because she was filming a peanut butter advertisement that week.
Patricia Birch said that the movie's script wasn't complete by the time filming began, so she had to try her best to work with what she had.
Michelle Pfeiffer was a wild card choice for the lead female role, but according to Patricia Birch, Pfeiffer won the part because (according to Birch), she "has a quirky quality you don't expect."
Andy Gibb was supposed going to play the male lead, but he failed his screen test.
Cher initially signed on to play the role of Paulette Rebchuck, but she backed out of it complaining of a low salary and not having a finished script.
Jennifer Beals signed on to play the role of Sharon Cooper, but she dropped out to play the lead character in the 1983 film Flashdance.
Debbie Harry of rock band Blondie was asked to play the lead female role of Stephanie, but she declined, saying that she was too old to be playing a high school student. Another singer, Kim Carnes was offered the role of Stephanie, but she also declined it.
Lisa Hartman, Kristy McNichol, Andrea McArdle and Pat Benatar were also considered for the role of Stephanie Zinone.
Pamela Segall (now called Pamela Adlon) was unable to complete filming the movie because she was in a car accident on her way to the set midway through production. Most of Segall's scenes were already filmed, but stand-ins were used some scenes (such as the talent show sequence).
Christopher McDonald originally auditioned for the part of Johnny before he was cast in the role of Goose.
Tom Cruise auditioned for the role of Johnny Nogerelli, but Patricia Birch wanted someone older and taller.
"Grease 2" was the theatrical film debut for actress Lorna Luft and the last film role for Eve Arden, who died on November 12, 1990.
The scenes at Rydell High School were filmed at Excelsior High School, an abandoned school in Norwalk, California. Filming took place throughout a 58-day shooting schedule, beginning 9 November 9, 1981.
According to director Birch, the movie's script was still incomplete when filming commenced. The sequences that were filmed but cut during the movie's post-production include scenes in which Frenchy helps Michael become a motorcycle rider & a sequence at the end of the film showing Michael and Stephanie flying off into the sky on a motorcycle.
In the film, after Stephanie wins the contest, it goes on to show the stakeout in the final scene.
Originally, there were a few minutes dedicated to a scene in which Michael (believed to be dead in his alter ego, by Stephanie) comes out on stage as Stephanie is exiting the stage, unbeknownst to her that he is the cool rider and he is alive. He attempts to ask her what's wrong and she storms past him and runs off crying, then it cuts to the stakeout.
There was a scene within the "Who's that Guy?" number in which Goose accidentally smashes Rhonda's nose at the Bowl-A-Rama door. None of these scenes have been shown since the film's release.
"Grease 2" opened at #2 at the box office (opening behind films such as E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Rocky III and Poltergeist), grossing $4,645,411 during its opening weekend with an average of $3,716.
Domestically, it grossed $15,171,476.
"Grease 2" had a rating of 32% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 28 critics' reviews with an average rating of 3.6/10. The site's consensus states: "Grease 2 is undeniably stocked with solid songs and well-choreographed dance sequences, but there's no getting around the fact that it's a blatant retread of its far more entertaining predecessor."
Janet Maslin for The New York Times condemned the film as "dizzy and slight, with an even more negligible plot than its predecessor had. This time the story can't even masquerade as an excuse for stringing the songs together. Songs? What songs? The numbers in Grease 2 are so hopelessly insubstantial that the cast is forced to burst into melody about pastimes like bowling."
Variety commended the staging of the musical numbers, writing that Patricia Birch has "come up with some unusual settings (a bowling alley, a bomb shelter) for some of the scenes, and employs some sharp montage to give most of the songs and dances a fair amount of punch."
Roger Ebert gave the movie 2 stars out of 4, saying: "This movie just recycles Grease, without the stars, without the energy, without the freshness and without the grease."
However, Michelle Pfeiffer received positive notices for her first major role. The New York Times review cited her performance as the "one improvement" on the original film: "Miss Pfeiffer is as gorgeous as any cover girl, and she has a sullen quality that's more fitting to a Grease character than Miss Newton-John's sunniness was." Variety wrote that she was "all anyone could ask for in the looks department, and she fills Olivia Newton-John's shoes and tight pants very well."
Michelle Pfeiffer later said about the movie: "That film was a good experience for me. It taught me a valuable lesson. Before it even came out the hype had started. Maxwell and I were being thrust down the public's throat in huge full page advertisements. There was no way we could live up to any of that and we didn't. So the crash was very loud. But it did teach me not to have expectations."
Barry Diller of Paramount said that the movie was "on no level is as good as the first. The quality isn't there."
Jim Jacobs described it as "awful... the pits."
Michelle Pfeiffer was nominated for a 1983 Young Artist Award in the category of "Best Young Motion Picture Actress."
"Grease 2" was nominated for a Stinkers Bad Movie Awards for "Worst Picture."