It’s 1961 now at Rydell High, a becalmed, upbeat time when JFK’s photo has replaced Ike’s on the school wall. In fact, hardly anything is happening socially or musically.
It’s not even a question of will boy get girl, but how. Gorgeous Michelle Pfeiffer plays the leader of the foxy Pink Ladies, whose members are only supposed to go out with greasers from the T-Birds gang. Maxwell Caulfield, fresh from England and complete with accent, is the new boy in school, and it’s made clear to him that Pfeiffer is off limits until he proves himself as a leather-clad biker.
Where this film has a decided edge on its predecessor is in the staging and cutting of the musical sequences. Choreographer and director 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.
Pfeiffer is all anyone could ask for in the looks department, and she fills Olivia Newton-John’s shoes and tight pants very well, thank you. Caulfield is a less certain choice.