The new kid Michael is a nerd. A hopeless nerd! And furthermore, he's in love with Stephanie, who as a Pink Lady can only go with a T-Bird. Naturally, the solution is to find out what she wants in a man and become it, regardless of cost or effort. But Michael succeeds so wildly he ends up upstaging the T-Birds, impressing the whole school, and becoming so awesome that Stephanie starts to question whether she wouldn't rather just have the normal, nerdy guy who keeps helping her with her essays. When Michael finally reveals his true identity, he gets the girl and the acceptance he so craves. Hooray!
Even those who took the original seriously might have trouble with this one. Song topics include plant reproduction (which is really sex), going off to war to become a man (which is really sex), and the moral flexibility of the women one meets at the grocery store (which isn't even disguised). Also features a talent-show act with girls trying to act sexy while dressed as Christmas trees and jack-o'lanterns, and almost every instance of informed or designated anything.
This was Michelle Pfeiffer's break-out role, but the only other actors you will recognize are Christopher McDonald, Rex Manning as the male lead, Pamela Adlon, Adrian Zmed, and the actors who reprised their roles from the first movie.
This provides examples of:
- Adaptation Title Change: The stage adaptation was called Cool Rider.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: "Cool Rider". Stephanie somehow resists the charms of the sweet British boy, because she's "...lookin' for a dream on a mean machine / With hell in his eyes / I want a devil in skin tight leather..."
- Be Yourself: Zig-Zagged. Michael isn't interesting to Stephanie as the bookish exchange student, but immediately catches her eye once he perfects his Cool Rider persona. But he quickly realizes that he doesn't want to form a relationship with her just by being mysterious. On Stephanie's end, she's not sure she wants to get together fully with "Cool Rider" herself since she doesn't know what he's like under his mask, and starts to find that she and Michael have more in common than they thought, and they start to get close. At the end, the moral's downplayed; Michael's happy he and Stephanie can just be themselves, but Stephanie admits she got the best of both worlds.
- Black Sheep: Davey of the T-Birds. He rides on the sidecar of Goose's motorcycle. He is the only one of the T-Birds who does not have a girlfriend. Also, during the "Prowlin'" song, he is looking at the others as if he is looking for their approval. Davey is also the shortest of the T-Birds. He only gets a girlfriend at the end with becoming the boyfriend of Paulette's little sister.
- Book Dumb: The T-Birds, especially Louis when he states that he was unaware that the Roman Empire fell. Some of the Pink Ladies could be this as well.
- British Stuffiness: Michael comes to the first day of school with a suit. His dressing style becomes more casual as the movie progresses.
- Boisterous Weakling: The T-Birds in the first movie were already pretty laughable Bad Butts, but here they're nothing but tough-talking wimps who run away from any fight they might provoke.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Frenchy disappears midway through the film, since by then the script was finished and the writers had decided Didi Conn's character should never have been in the film to begin with, only to use some of her scenes anyway in post.
- Contrasting Sequel Main Character: Unlike Sandy, Stephanie demonstrates sexual independence, and refuses to compromise her character just to impress a guy. Likewise, Michael is caring, bookish, and intelligent rather than a chauvinistic bully like Danny. By agreeing to write term papers for the T-Birds, Michael proves he is also willing to throw away his academic integrity for a girl.
- Curse Cut Short: During the "Prowlin'" song.De Mucci: Well, I like a debutante, who comes across—now that's what I call class.Davey: Well, I like a tall girl, with long legs that go right up to her...
- Disney Acid Sequence: The "Turn Back the Hands of Time" number, which takes place when Stephanie apparently spaces out in the middle of the talent show and imagines singing a duet with the spirit of her Mysterious Protector in what we can only take to be Biker Heaven. Except that when Stephanie returns to reality at the end of the number, the audience is applauding and she's won the talent show, leaving us to wonder if they all somehow experienced the whole sequence with her. And, if not, then who was really singing the male part of the duet while she was tripping out?
- Fanservice: Michael sports a leather jacket, halfway unzipped showing his chest. In the bowling musical number, Johnny also wears his shirt unbuttoned getting occasional nip slips. Yum.
- Forbidden Fruit: Pink Ladies can only go with a T-Bird. Anyone else better not even look.
- Foreign Exchange Student: Michael who is from Britain and is the cousin of Sandy from the first movie who was from Australia.
- Foreign Remake: The script was adapted into the Indian musical, Premaloka.
- Funny Background Event: Foreground actually, but not the main focus. Right after Louis and Sharon sing to each other, during the cut to all the main characters dancing together. You can see Dolores grab Davey's ass and him move her hand up.
- Language Barrier: Eugene talks to Michael like they have one of these. Despite him being very smart and English.
- Malaproper: Johnny Nogerelli, whose verbal garbling produces gems such as turning "menstruation" into "mentalstration".
- Must Not Die a Virgin: Intentionally invoked and set to music, with the song "Let's Do It For Our Country". Louis brings Sharon down to the bomb shelter, where a confederate sounds the bomb siren to make her think it's The End of the World as We Know It. Cue an incredibly Narmful song where she sings about volunteering for the war, contrasting with his rather less patriotic intentions. Then she realizes the siren has stopped, opens the shelter door, and trips over his friends listening at the door.
- Secret Identity: Michael masquerades as the Cool Rider in order to win over Stephanie's heart. His plan doesn't exactly go the way he intended though. Stephanie couldn't care less about Michael, but she falls head over heels for the Rider.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Michael and Johnny. Played with in that at first, neither guy holds Stephanie's interest, since Johnny is a chauvinistic boor and Michael is a nerd. Once Michael learns to ride a motorcycle (and loosens up a bit in the process), the combination of sensitive and manly-man traits proves to be what wins Stephanie over.
- Smart People Speak the Queen's English: Michael is a straight A student from Britain. He helps the T-Birds with essays on The Fall of Rome and William the Conqueror. Michael also helps Stephanie with an essay on Hamlet. He is shown to be one of the only people paying attention in biology class.
- It's also subverted by Stephanie; her essay shows that she actually understands the material as well as Michael, as he points out. She just lacks the vocabulary to express it in a way a teacher will accept, which is what Michael helps her with.