Three Italian-American brothers, living in the slums of 1940's New York City, try to help each other with one's wrestling career using one brother's promotional skills and another brother's con-artist tactics to thwart a sleazy manager.
After a single, career-minded woman is left on her own to give birth to the child of a married man, she finds a new romantic chance in a cab driver. Meanwhile, the point-of-view of the newborn boy is narrated through voice-over.
In this sequel to Saturday Night Fever, former disco king Tony Manero has left Brooklyn and lives in Manhattan. He stays in a cheap hotel and works as a dance instructor and as a waiter at a dance club, trying to succeed as a professional dancer on Broadway. The breakaway from his Brooklyn life, family and friends seems to have matured Tony and refined his personality, represented by his diminished accent and his avoidance of alcohol and profanity. However, certain attitudes have not changed, as with his most recent girlfriend, who's also the singer of a local rock band.Written by
Mark J. Popp <email@example.com>
Another example of why the '70's were better than the '80's
The people who made "Staying Alive" (yes, including you, Sly) made it for all the wrong reasons. For one thing, they probably thought that Travolta's presence alone would guarantee strong box office. After all, that's what happened with the first movie, right? Yes, and no. "Saturday Night Fever" wasn't a hit JUST BECAUSE of Travolta. Think of "Saturday Night Fever" as a pizza: Travolta was the cheese, but of course cheese alone doesn't complete the pizza; there has to be a nice crisp crust, and there has to be a zesty sauce. In the first movie, the crispy crust was the genuinely worthy storyline--a young man uses music/dance to escape his dreary existence; and the zesty sauce was DISCO!!!!!!! In 1977, Disco was on almost everyone's mind; it was the Place To Be. And the filmmakers were shrewd enough to capitalize on that and smart enough to depict it truthfully and respectfully.
Flash forward to 1983, and all "Staying Alive" has to offer is the Cheese. No crust this time, no sauce. No worthwhile storyline, no interesting characters, no reflection of any societal fixation. Let's face it: in 1983, society wasn't going crazy over Broadway dancing. "Staying Alive" has always struck me as a vanity movie, much like a lot of the movies of the 1980's: Let's give the people a Bang For Their Buck. Style over substance.
So that's the main reason why "Staying Alive" didn't stay alive at the box office, or in critics' hearts. Granted, the Cheese in the guise of Travolta is still good. He gives a solid performance and remains true to Tony Manero's character. Plus, I agree with the movie's notion that Manero probably would be an aspiring Broadway dancer 6 years after the events of the first movie--he loves dancing AND show-boating so much.
But that's as good as this movie gets. Most of it is just too ordinary, while the first movie was anything BUT. "Saturday Night Fever" is that cool, funny, exciting, talented kid down the block; "Staying Alive" is that kid's dull, quiet, clueless, ordinary younger brother.
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