A British student at a 1960s American high school must prove himself to the leader of a girls' gang whose members can only date greasers.A British student at a 1960s American high school must prove himself to the leader of a girls' gang whose members can only date greasers.A British student at a 1960s American high school must prove himself to the leader of a girls' gang whose members can only date greasers.
I saw both within a month of each other at age 13. I hated the original and loved this one.
As I've gotten older, I've come to recognize that the original is a better piece of work, overall. The music from the original is better when taken as a whole. The supporting cast of the original has better players. The storyline doesn't seem as convoluted at times.
But there's something about this movie that holds on to you. It appeals much more to the age group pictured in the movie (i.e., junior-high and high-schoolers). The song "Cool Rider" and the scenes that accompany it in the movie rival anything in the original.
The dialog is better in places and the interplay between the male and female leads are better, I believe, than in the original. The original movie's pairing of Travolta and Newton-John gave us a dimwit trying to woo a goodie-two-shoes girl whose performance was oftentimes wooden and uncomfortable. This one gives us Caulfield and Pfeiffer, and the interplay between an intelligent, wise-beyond-his-years male lead and the "wild child" female lead.
Adrian Zmed's supporting performance as Johnny still cracks me up and is one of the few performances from this movie that still entertain me as an adult.
That's because outside of the performances of accomplished character actors Christopher McDonald, Eve Arden and Dody Goodman, the rest of this cast is just plain bad. Some of it is bad acting, some of it is miscasting and a lot of it is bad writing.
What we're left with today, 20-something years later, is a movie that made a really good attempt to build on the original, but in the end, was the soufflé that fell. It's still better than most want to admit, but it could have stood a couple of rewrites and a little more attention to detail in the prospective cast interview room.
- Jul 12, 2008