: You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll hurl.
Personnel, courtesy imdb
Mike Myers (characters)
Terry Turner (I)
Cast (in credits order)
Lara Flynn Boyle
Sean Gregory Sullivan
Michael G. Hagerty
Bad Cop (The T-1000)
Frankie Sharp (Mr. Big)
.... Mikita's Manager, Glen
Wayne's World began as a sketch created by Mike Myers
for Saturday Night Live
in the late 1980s. The premise: A couple of post-adolescent goobers (Wayne Campbell, played by Myers and Garth Algar, played by Dana Carvey
) in a suburban basement, sporting Zeppelin shirts and near-mullet
haircuts, talking about girls and butt rock.
The film Wayne's World was released in 1992. These were the days before every reasonably popular, halfway funny five-minute SNL skit was expanded into a braindead 90-minute comedy. That The Ladies' Man was made into a film and Toonces, the Driving Cat was not suggests not only that (Wayne's World and SNL producer) Lorne Michaels has sold his soul to the Devil, but that once upon a time, a skit had to be really phenomenal to make it to the big screen. And Wayne's World was phenomenal, if nothing else. The niche for Wayne and Garth was probably cut by Bill and Ted, and that's probably why they were considered filmable in the first place. Nonetheless, Wayne's World had an enormous following by the time the film reached theaters in 1992 - a following it seems to have kept, while, as far as I can tell, no one remembers Bill and Ted anymore. At least, I don't.
What made Wayne's World interesting, and perhaps more memorable than comparable films of the period, was its use of language. Masquerading as suburban butt-rock chumps, Wayne and Garth are truly the puppets of English majors and early evidence of a sort of postmodern sensibility in youth culture, which many teen films (particularly those prior to Wayne's World) are too naive to acknowledge. The characters had their own vocabulary, which included surferific words like "bodacious" - and others (schwing), which, as far as I can tell, belong strictly to the Mike Myers idiom. But they are more clever than their partied out peers, the stoned idiots who belong to teen-film ephemera. The characters alternate between stupid-clever word play ("If she were a President, she'd be Babe-raham Lincoln"), clever, multisyllabic banter and - perhaps most importantly - pop-culture referentialism.
Garth whistles the theme to "Star Trek" while leaning on the hood of his car with Wayne, parked at the airport; a few moments later, he asks Wayne, "Did you ever find Bugs Bunny attractive when he'd put on a dress and act like a girl bunny?" Wayne and Garth, like most of us and unlike many teen-film characters, lead lives mediated and determined by mass culture: the donut shop, Noah's Arcade, classic and butt rock. "Bohemian Rhapsody," Wayne's World's musical centerpiece is, like the rest of the film, a hodgepodge of motifs, unified. The writers both undercut this sense of a mediated existence (when someone tells Rob Lowe's character that she watches a lot of television, he says, "Of course you do. You're creative") and celebrate it, from the already-alluded-to singing-along-with-Queen montage to the multiple endings ("Good one, Shaggy!" and the After-School Special-esque "Isn't it great that we've all learned something?", now a staple on "South Park").
Though plot is really secondary to verbal style in this film, one of it successes is that it is not simply 90 more minutes of Wayne and Garth doing their public access show in the basement. Instead, the film is 90 minutes about Wayne and Garth doing their public access show in the basement - more specifically, about slimy TV producer Benjamin's (Rob Lowe's) attempts to turn the show into a glitzy network program, a means to shill for video arcade games. The kids, being kids ("Garth and I are between lawyers right now - our last one screwed us royally"), are played for suckers. Wayne protests when Benjamin asks them to do their show in a creepy studio rendition of Wayne's basement, kissing the ass of the sponsor, and Garth freaks out. There's some discussion of "selling out" (and an hilarious display of blatant, shameless product placement). There's also a love story (not to muddle this review with my feminist pretentions, but you know it's good when one woman is rewarded for knowing how to wail, and another dissed for overt displays of dependence). And a lot of scenes added to meet the 90-minute feature-length requirement. And Aerosmith performs a souped-up version of the theme for the closing credits. Party on.
Followed by a sequel: Wayne's World 2.