Grease 2 (1982)
Grease 2 is a disaster, and since we play Grease almost every year (and will have played it just a few days prior), it’s time we talked about it. It’s not just a failed sequel. Cinema history is littered with failed sequels, and there’s nothing interesting about that. It’s what it was a failed sequel to — the original was one of the most successful and highest-grossing films of all time in its day, and G2 was slated to be the launch of a franchise of four movies and a TV series. So how does one mess up this badly?
First: make sure none of the original stars return. The biggest name they got back was Didi Conn as Frenchy, but since they started filming before completing the script, her character simply disappears without explanation halfway into the movie. Second: make sure the actors you do cast hate each other. Michelle Pfeiffer (the best thing to come out of this movie) and Maxwell Caulfield famously couldn’t get along. Too bad — the original first choice for Michael was Andy Gibb! Third: rush the production. Besides the late screenplay, the disorganized filming schedule meant that a lot of the (enormous) cast wasn’t available for key scenes. Note that in the bomb shelter number Let’s Do It for Our Country (seriously), Maureen Teefy couldn’t make the recording session and had to have her lines dubbed in later. And fourth: open your movie the same day as E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.
Grease 2 is pretty likable, as disasters go. Michelle Pfeiffer is undeniably delightful. Most of the songs are fun. And it made back its budget. But it was doomed from the start; no movie was ever going to repeat the alchemy that Grease did. And since our audience loves singing along to that classic so much, we figured: why not present it in a little context? You can learn a lot from failure. So prowl on down to Tampa Theatre, you cool riders, and enjoy Grease 2 in the spirit of REWIND and cheesy, campy, cinematic leftovers.