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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Wayne's World
Wayne's World
Paramount // PG-13 // July 9, 2001
List Price: $24.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by DVD Savant | posted August 18, 2001 | E-mail the Author
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Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

All in all, there haven't been very many good or even memorable movies made from skits directly transplanted from Saturday Night Live, even though a pretty high number of alumni have gone on to film careers, even stellar ones. The Wayne's World running skit wouldn't have seemed a likely springboard for a feature, but smart packaging and producing (mainly retaining Mike Myers not only as onscreen talent, but writer as well) resulted in a pair of superior comedies.

Synopsis:

Aurora Illinois wannabe misfits Wayne Campbell (Mike Myers) and Garth Algar (Dana Carvey) run a ragtag cable access show from the Campbell family basement. Fueled solely with their own demented suburban-loser wit, the show is a local success until promoter Benjamin Oliver (Rob Lowe) snags it as a marketing vehicle for a proprietor of arcade halls, Noah Vanderhoff (Brian Doyle-Murray). Ben also tries to co-opt Mike's hot new girlfriend Cassandra (Tia Carrere), a rock'n roller from Hong Kong. Kicked off his own show for dissing the sponsor, Wayne's only hope of keeping Benjamin from grabbing his girl is to interest legit record producer Frankie Sharp (Frank DiLeo) in her career.

Wayne's World succeeds because it comes at its subject from all sides, nailing its comedy targets square on and not losing an essential sense of sweetness. Myers and Carvey understand their characters well and keep them consistent. Wayne and Garth are well-intentioned suburban guys who didn't make it in school and are trying to have lives beyond their dead end fast-food jobs. They're too ambitious to be losers, but their dreams are all based on infantile obsessions with rock musicians like Alice Cooper, who makes a nice personal appearance. Garth suffers more obviously from a case of ingrown self-esteem, but Wayne too hides his personal sense of worthlessness behind an energetic flood of affectations and buzz-phrases. Typically, they consistently react to humiliating circumstances with cheerful grins and poses meant to deflect the pain ... the key to their place in the universe is their abject 'we're not worthy' abasement before any celebrity who crosses their path. In short, they're neither perfect nor cruel, and come off as completely loveable.

Director Penelope Spheeris has done a creditble job keeping up the spirit of the piece, moving to comedy features after a career mostly in rock-oriented docus.  1 Retaining the spirit of the original is what has happened best here, along with the constant flood of extraneous gags, like silly dream sequences, product-placement satire, and Wayne and Garth addressing the camera directly.

It's the basic truth of the character setup that persists ... Garth and Wayne remind us not only of amusing friends in school, but ourselves. Who hasn't driven in a car, singing like an idiot to your favorite song, but feeling like a million dollars 'cause you're with friends and having a great time?

Some inspired casting helps considerably. Tia Carrere is a forthright and uncomplicated love interest. Rob Lowe's particularly slimy villain plays off his real-life bad boy image, more than anything particularly evil he does in the film. Chris Farley does a nice bit as an exposition-loaded security guard. Faces like Ione Skye, Donna Dixon, and Meat Loaf pop up, and Robert Patrick provides a nice sting as a motorcycle cop, in a deft reference to Terminator 2.


On a scale of Excellent, Good, Fair, and Poor,
Wayne's World rates:
Movie:Very Good
Video: Excellent
Sound: Excellent
Supplements: Trailer, Commentary by Penelope Spheeris, cast and crew interviews.
Packaging: Keep case
Reviewed: August 4, 2001

1. Savant can proudly say that Ms. Spheeris was my T.A. at UCLA film school, a formality which involved one hallway conversation. Spheeris was a hot ticket even in 1974 - and my one memory of her in Melnitz was listening as she set up some shooting arrangements over a 'borrowed' UCLA telephone. The other memory was climbing to the top of Royce Hall to witness the Cambodia riots, with hundreds of protesters facing off against Reagan's cops - and finding Penelope up there with an ad hoc camera crew, filming the whole thing. We were chased out of the building by helmeted cops with billy clubs ... (they were breaking arms here and there, we were told) and I don't know how she got away.
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