10 June 2004 | iago-6
So appalling it exerts a perverse fascination!
I used to work in a record store in the late 80s/early 90s, and one thing we sold a copy of at least every week was the Grease 2 soundtrack. I used to ask the people buying about it, and they all acknowledged that it was one of the worst movies, but that there is something about it so lovable, and that the songs are terrible, but there's something about them so charming
Now that I've seen the movie, I know what they mean.
This movie is appalling in nearly every respect, but there's just something about it--perhaps how brazenly appalling it is--that gives it an almost hypnotic fascination.
I love how the producers made only the most surface-level attempt to even appear 50s. The clothes, hairstyles, songs, and ways of speaking all scream 80s. I haven't the slightest idea why they decided to dress Michelle Pheiffer in things that essentially look like sweatshirts for the first half of the movie. And she's got on those huge dark glasses all the time
making her look like early Debbie Harry. You just really have to wonder. As for the sets
I don't think I've ever seen such low production values in a movie released by a major studio. The sets also are brazenly 80s
When Michelle is being tutored, they are OBVIOUSLY in an Elias Brothers Big Boy! Couldn't they at least have found a 50s-themed diner? There is also a scene showing guys motorcycling through a subdivision that looks like 1985 Westland, Michigan, and another time--my favorite--when Michelle and someone are sitting out in what is obviously some municipal park, with a huge superhighway with massive 18-wheelers barreling by in the background. I really have to take my hat off.
What's also charmingly appalling is how the producers made NO attempt to recapture ANYTHING you may have loved about the first movie. And I tell you, this movie makes the original look like Gone With the Wind. You really should be required to see both to appreciate what a graceful, charming movie the first one is. This is so obviously just a craven cash-in by whoever owned the rights (that's you, Allan Carr!) that, in some perverse way, only makes it the more appealing.
Everyone in this movie looks embarrassed, but none more so that Michelle Pheiffer. Obviously WRONG in every way for the part, and obviously PAINFULLY aware that she's going to look like an idiot on movie screens across America, poor Michelle seems afraid to really put herself behind any expression, movement, or song, as though by staying as still as possible she can diminish the damage. The poor girl, you can really feel her pain, especially as she sings 'Cool Rider,' and tries to dance up that ladder and down. The thing about musicals is that the characters have to appear to be transported with joy or anguish to the point that they break out in song, and poor Michelle is just so embarrassed that it really clunks. Of course, ALL the musical sequences clunk massively. If you're not buying a musical sequence it just looks like a bunch of people idiotically moving around on a set
and that's what we got here. Those poor, poor individuals.
I was amazed how poor the sound quality was. I hear this has been improved on the DVD, but it's quite clear that they were aware that these people COULD NOT SING, and tried to bury their voices as deep as possible.
What else? Well, I guess that's about it. Truly poor direction just adds to the general malaise. If you like bad, cheesy movies, they just don't get any better than this. If you are a fan of the original, you should definitely watch this, as it'll just make you love the chemistry, charming songs, and graceful story arc all the more.
--- Check out my website devoted to bad and cheesy movies: www.cinemademerde.com