Living in 2016 with knowledge of films like The Love Guru (2008) and there being more bad Shrek films than good, it can be easy to forget that Mike Myers can be funny. Lets go back to 1992, before I was born, when he made his big-screen debut with Wayne’s World.
Directed by Penelope Spheeris, I decided to watch Wayne’s World as part of my #52FilmsByWomen pledge. In terms of genre and thematic content, it’s a pretty far cry from Lost In Translation (read what I thought of that here) but, hey, variety is the spice of life.
It had been a long time since I watched Wayne’s World, which I generally hold fond memories of from childhood, and it was great to revisit it from a (slightly) more grown up perspective.
The film is based on a Saturday Night Live sketch – in fact, it is one of the only good movies with that origin story, the other being The Blues Brothers (1980) – and stars Myers and Dana Carvey as Wayne and Garth, two metalheads who perform their show, Wayne’s World, from Wayne’s parents’ basement.
The plot is pretty straightforward – the pair are noticed on Public Access TV by Benjamin (Rob Lowe), an executive who talks them into a deal to broadcast their show. Of course, nothing goes to plan, and all the pair are really interested in is getting chicks anyway, with Cassandra (Tia Carrere) stealing Wayne’s heart.
The thing is, the plot is secondary here, with the jokes and dialogue being the star of the show. It’s rare that a film can pull off having such a flimsy plot, but Wayne’s World not only handles it but actively embraces it, with hilarious results.
The film plays out like a series of sketches, with frequent breaking of the fourth wall and clear segments. They are ultimately a bit of a mixed bag – Bohemian Rhapsody and the product placement skits are hilarious, whilst others went over my head (this is probably a combination of being from the UK and not being born when it came out – some of the pop culture references are bound to be lost on me).
Take it at face value, and Wayne’s World is a fun and offbeat comedy where nothing really happens, but where you can revel in the comedic meandering. However, the film does play with themes of friendship and innocence, particularly through Garth’s character.
Whilst Garth may seem like a one note character, that doesn’t seem so bad when the note is played so beautifully, and Myers and Carvey play off each other brilliantly in one of cinemas great bromances.
Another highlight is of course the music – the in-movie band Crucial Taunt are led by Cassandra and deliver some of the catchiest tunes, such as a rendition of Ballroom Blitz. Then of course there is the Alice Cooper cameo, which sees him perform Feed My Frankenstein.
Wayne’s World proves that women can do comedy and they can do it brilliantly – the film is an enduring cult classic that was both critically and commercially successful when it was first released, so much so that it spawned a sequel the following year. So much for women aren’t funny, right?
Here are my top five quotes from the film (it’s hard to pick just five from such a goldmine of dialogue)…
“It’s sucking my will to live!”
“I love you two months ago. Are you mental? Get the net!”
“Wayne, did you ever find Bugs Bunny attractive when he put on a dress and became a girl bunny?”
“Benjamin is nobody’s friend. If Benjamin were an ice cream flavour, he’d be pralines and dick.”
“I’d never done a crazy thing in my life before that night. Why is it that if a man kills another man in battle it’s called heroic, yet if he kills a man in the heat of passion, it’s called murder?”
Learn more about #52FilmsByWomen here.