"Slick" is the word.
At a glance, it would be hard to find two performances farther apart than the latest star turn of John Travolta as presidential hopeful Jack Stanton in Primary Colors, which opened last weekend, and one of his earliest, as Danny Zuko in Grease (or Vaselina, as it was known in Venezuela), the number-one box office hit of 20 years ago. The former's a lecherous, gluttonous, slovenly--but genuinely caring--Southern governor; the latter's a leather-jacket-cool, yet sensitive, high school sheik. But a closer look reveals the truth in the cliche: The more things change, the more they stay the same. Check out the uncanny parallels:
TRAVOLTA IN GREASE:
Puts a lot of grease in his hair.
Wears skintight clothes to show off rippling physique.
Lies, in the song "Summer Nights," about having had sex with a teenage girl.
Wears leather jacket; friends think he's hip.
He and his gang break up a slumber party.
Object of his desire -- Olivia Newton-John -- is threatened by Lorenzo Lamas of Falcon Crest.
Barely articulate, but is a fox on the dance floor.
Attempts to grope Olivia Newton-John while she wears cashmere.
Gets on Olivia Newton-John's bad side by grabbing her breast at a drive-in.
Sings "Greased Lighting" in tribute to his best friend's car.
Drives a hot rod through a gutter to win a drag race.
TRAVOLTA IN PRIMARY COLORS:
Puts a lot of grease in his mouth.
Wears skintight clothes in spite of jiggling physique.
Lies, on a summer day, about not having had sex with a teenage girl.
Wears barbecue sauce; friends worry about his hips.
He and his gang shake up their slumbering Party.
Object of his desire -- Democratic nomination -- is threatened by Larry Hagman of Dallas.
Brilliantly articulate, but an ox on the dance floor.
Accused of groping a woman named Cashmere.
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Gets on Emma Thompson's good side by grabbing her breasts on an airfield.
Sings "You Are My Sunshine" in tribute to his best friend's mother.
Drives his campaign into the gutter to win the presidential race.