Movie musical fans seem all jazz-hands-ed about this Grease Sing-A-Long thing. Me? I’m resentful. That sing-a-long is missing something very important, at least in this bowling-themed song lover’s heart. A two.
As my old friend Rizzo might say, there are worse things you could watch. But they wouldn’t be nearly as fun to make fun of. So throw off your letterman jacket and and pull on pleather pants, Grease-rs. It’s time to rock Rydell 1961 style (or is it 1982?)!
Why it’s terrible:
– It was originally going to be called, wait for it, Son of Grease.
– The movie tries to connect itself to the first story, but fails epically. Case in point #1: Maxwell Caufield’s character, Michael, is reportedly a long-lost Aussie cousin of Sandy – with a British accent. Case in point #2: The only returning Rydell alumni are Eugene, Frenchie and everyone’s favourite odd announcer-couple, Blanche and Principal McGee.
– The story is out of control. Bitchy Pink Ladies leader, Stephanie comes back from summer vacay looking for a new motorbike-bound lover. When she realizes no such T-bird exists, she decides to let her true wishes be known – via pop song (“Cool Rider”). New nerdy boy, Michael, hears this. Master disguise work and sudden love montages follow.
– Michelle Pfeiffer’s costumes look more mullet mallrat than pink lady-like. Sorry, but the last time I looked at the DVD box, she’s supposed to be rockin’ it 1961 style, not Pat-Benetar-with-shoulder-length-blonde-hair style.
– “Let’s Do it For Our Country”: a ballad about a blue-balled T-bird who pretends the nuclear war has started to get his less-than-willing date to sleep with him in a bomb shelter. She misinterprets his vague metaphors (“America’s calling… let’s care enough to GIVE our very best.”) and assumes he means they should enlist, as a soldier and a nurse, respectively.
– When Steph’s new cycle-rockin’ hero stops by her workplace, she drops everything to go off on a afternoon ride with him, minus a helmet and her sense of logic. Girl decides to straddle him from the front, completely blocking his view of the scenic roads. How inconsiderate.
– At the end of her big solo song, “Cool Rider,” Stephanie hops her way out of the prop room and into the quad, using jazz hands and bum wiggles. And yet, nobody bats an eye.
– G2‘s Patty Simcox is an annoying freshman named Dolores who tries to act like she’s big enough to party with, or at least cheer on, the non-training bra bunch. Bitch gets a date – and a kiss! – from Michael.
– Stephanie is actually really shifty and gross. Girl chews with her mouth fully open and thinks “incestuous” is a BRILLIANT word. It makes no sense that a sweet, supposedly smart essay forger like Michael would find her “sort of terrific” (direct quote).
– These gum commercial mofos, who totally break the third wall during one song and drain the movie of all indie cred.
Why it’s awesome:
– Maxwell Caufield: SMOLDERING SINCE ’82.
– Forget about illegal car racing, mooning, spiking the dance punch and making it to third base at the drive-in. These T-Birds get rebellious knocking down some pins at the local Bowl-A-Rama – and singing about it using some not-so-highly-veiled innuendos and fancy knee-slide work.
– Special guests at the PG-13 bowling belting party? A few local nuns.
– Michael, trying to get in on the bowling bag fun: “Howdy fellas. Let’s bowl some balls! BOWLING, ANYONE?”
– Michael goes to the Reverse Clark Kent School of Disguises, assuming that some small biker goggles will hide his nerd-coif and baby blues and make him a C-O-O-L R-I-D-E-R. Works like a charm – and inspires a T-birds/Pink Ladies group sing aptly titled, “Who’s That Guy?”
– Frenchie plays the Kevin Bacon to Michael’s Chris Penn. Except instead of dancing to “Let’s Hear It for the Boy,” they have meaningful convos about motorbiking in a random field and chemistry lab.
– When “Cool Rider” rolls into visit Stephanie at her after-school job, he makes sure to point his cold, hard gas pump her way. But only while she’s looking off in the other direction.
– The cinematography is just immaculate. Like a postcard. Or a grocery store romance novel cover.
– Steph: “Can’t stop shivering.” Cool Rider: “Then, hold on.” Steph: “That’s what’s making me shiver.”
– At one point, Steph thinks her beloved Cool Rider is dead (he gets in a mysterious biking accident). She’s so overwhelmed by this that during her really important number (“A Girl For All Seasons,” complete with month-themed costumes) at the talent show, she falls on the ground and deep into a misty-eyed, dry-ice filled dream sequence in which she prances around in a Grecian dress and canoodles with her late lover, amidst some spray-painted old motorcycle carcasses.
– When Michael gets sick of the dressing up charades, he sings a ballad called “Charades,” in the cafeteria, his bedroom, the hallway and HIS MIND. Seriously.
– Who needs a Graduation Carnival when you can have….an end-of-the-year luau!!
– One word: “REPRODUCTION.”
– “WHERE DOES THE POLLEN GO?”
ALL SCREENCAPS: Paramount DVD