Grease: Live!

Movie review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Grease: Live! Movie Poster Image
Thrilling live musical is fun, has iffy messages galore.
  • NR
  • 2016
  • 132 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 3 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The overall message is that changing oneself for love is acceptable, even admirable, an iffy message parents may not appreciate their kids getting. A "fat" character is shown constantly eating; other characters are framed unsympathetically as "nerds." 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Sandy and Danny are the hero and heroine; they are generally honest and honorable in their actions, but Danny in particular can be cruel to others. Characters frequently mock and prank one another with insults such as "she looks too pure to be pink." 

Violence

Playful scuffling can have a nasty edge; a group of boys tease and shove a "nerd." 

Sex

Vulgar language with a sexual edge: "eat me." Numerous references to sex, often framed as a girl "giving in," as in "Does she put out?" References to body parts such as "jugs." A female character is shamed for having sex and has a pregnancy scare; her male partner is viewed with respect and admiration for his "conquest." 

Language

Vulgar language: "eat me," "crap." 

Consumerism

Viewers may want to watch the movie on which this show is based.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Numerous references to underage drinking. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Grease: Live! is a filmed version of a live stage play based on the popular 1970s film. Those who remember only the catchy songs and 1950s nostalgia may be surprised by the raciness of the production, which largely revolves around a romance in which the male partner constantly begs the female one for sex. There are songs, jokes, and references to sex, generally framed as boys "getting some" and girls "giving in," messages parents may not appreciate young girls and boys hearing. Some crass language often has a sexual edge, a la "eat me." Other assorted semi-curses include "crap." Playful violence and scuffles among male friends sometimes degenerate into the gang picking on others, including on "nerds," who are presented as out of it. A "fat" character eats constantly. There are a few references to underage drinking. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byRebecca K January 9, 2018

Great music, suggestive dancing

My three teens were looking forward to watching this movie because they love the actors in it. The music was great, along with the acting but my teens were surp... Continue reading
Adult Written byDisney32135 September 18, 2018

Vanessa should’ve stuck to Gabriella

I love High School Musical better than Grease and when I saw Vanessa Hudgens in Grease Live I wanted to scream. Her version of Rizzo was absolutely AWFUL. She s... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old March 13, 2016

Good

I haven't seen the original, but this is a fun show to watch as a family, even though it was rated TV-14, its good for 10+ and some younger (9 year-old sis... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byMajor movie master February 2, 2017

The awesomest

The first time I watched this was just 15 min ago and it was the best but it showed some saucy scenes but overall I think this is a great movie. I wished that s... Continue reading

What's the story?

Based on the popular 1970s Broadway production that became a blockbuster movie, GREASE: LIVE! tells the now-familiar story of star-crossed high school lovers in the 1950s. Danny Zuko (Aaron Tveit) is the leader of a greaser gang called the T-Birds; Sandy (Julianne Hough) is a new "nice" girl at Rydell High. The two have a history: Over the summer, they met and dated while on vacation. But at school, they come from two different worlds. Sandy would be more at home among cheerleaders such as peppy Patty Simcox (Elle McLemore), while Danny has built himself a comfy crowd that includes the T-Birds and members of affiliated girl gang the Pink Ladies. Can love stretch across these high school boundaries? It'll take a whole lot of singing and dancing to find out. 

Is it any good?

With thrilling tracking and crane shots that wander backstage and then zoom out into street scenes, this production makes the most of well-known songs and drama (despite it antiquated messages). The first notice that this production isn't going to just be a flat "turn on the camera and perform a play" affair comes in the musical's opening, when a Steadicam follows rock star Jessie J as she sings the theme song -- all around the sets, through dressing rooms, past scenery and crew members, and then right on out to the street, where cast members frolic in the rain with umbrellas. It's a bracing opening, serving notice that this is one production that means to make the most of stage magic. Fans of the 1970s movie will also note that songs formerly found only on the movie's soundtrack pop up (the slumber-party rendition of "Freddy My Love" is a highlight), while other songs are gone (no more "Hopelessly Devoted"). Others are curiously edited; references to a car being a "pussy wagon" are gone, yet Rizzo (Vanessa Hudgens) still refers to a boy "flogging his log."

It all adds up to a show that's only slightly less racy than the movie and still carrying the controversial message that sex is a struggle between men and women that leave women shamed and damaged when they "give in." Still, for viewers old enough to understand and discard the sexist setup, the songs, dances, and characters are a lot of fun, making this a good bet for whole-family viewing for tweens and up. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about this musical's take on sex. Why are girls shamed for having sex but boys aren't? Why are the boys sex-obsessed and the girls aren't? How is sex viewed today?

  • Musicals are often nostalgic, looking back at an earlier era with affection. Why? What is it about nostalgia that lends itself to singing and dancing?

  • Have you seen the movie Grease? How does this play compare? What was added? What was left out? Which do you like better? 

Movie details

For kids who love musicals

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