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"WAYNE'S WORLD" (1992) (Mike Myers, Dana Carvey) (PG-13)
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Comedy: An opportunistic Chicago television producer meets with two twentysomethings about producing their public access TV show for a wider audience.
Wayne Campbell (MIKE MYERS) and Garth Algar (DANA CARVEY), are in their early twenties, living in Aurora, Illinois, and live for hosting "Wayne's World," a cable-access show that has a major following in their town. Their fans make their appreciation known, and life is good for Wayne and Garth, even though Wayne still lives with his parents which he "admits is both bogus and sad."
A slick Chicago television executive, Benjamin Kane (ROB LOWE), spots the show on TV and decides that it could make a lot of money, with a sponsorship from Noah Vanderhoff of "Noah's Arcade." He's wary about the prospect, but is soon convinced by Benjamin that he could gain more visitors to his chain of arcades by being on this show weekly.
Deals are signed, albeit a bit too quickly, and Wayne soon comes to realize that the new "Wayne's World" being produced is not how he likes the show to be. Garth doesn't like it either. And amidst all this, the singer, Cassandra (TIA CARRERE), he meets is gradually preyed upon by Benjamin as well.
OUR TAKE: 8.5 out of 10
If by chance you've come to this review out of curiosity, aware that your kids have seen "Wayne's World," ask them how they discovered it. Chances are a friend or two turned them on to it, raving about various scenes, quoting lines, maybe even acting out the characters. That's how it happened to me in middle school in the mid-1990s, a friend of mine who didn't so much quote line after line, but just told me occasionally about one scene where Wayne Campbell (Mike Myers), Garth Algar (Dana Carvey), and two of the crew members from their popular public access show "Wayne's World" drive through Aurora, Illinois in the blue "Mirthmobile" and sing "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen in different keys.
I heard the song a few times before being informed of "Wayne's World" (the time the skit was popular on "Saturday Night Live" was when I was about 6 or 7, and therefore couldn't stay up that late), and from what my friend was telling me, about Wayne singing low enough in parts, I could see it work. To me, it seemed that the Queen song was rife for comedy with that.
So eventually, I watched "Wayne's World." And watched it again. And again. And yet again. For me, it holds up as a comedy one keeps close by when laughs are required, much like "Airplane!" and "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." The common link between all three films is that they all successfully skewed their material, "Airplane!" with old airplane disaster films, first with the B-movie "Zero Hour" from 1957 and the first film of the "Airport" series, at least. And with England having a bad time with the bubonic plague, who could forget Eric Idle dragging a cart along, calling out "Bring out your dead!" and the old man hoisted on another man's shoulder, telling that man repeatedly that he's not dead?
But where "Airplane!" was broad with its material and "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" benefited from that which isn't always well known, "Wayne's World" goes for the obvious, which only comes to mind when presented to us. We know what's being talked about, but we don't keep it at the forefront of our minds often. There's a perfect scene satirizing product placement in movies, where Wayne and Garth hold up various products to the camera, such as Doritos and Pepsi, and at the same time bemoan how some people will easily sell out just to be paid significantly. It's still indicative of product placement on TV today, such as the Coca-Cola cups on the judges' table on "American Idol."
This is one of those rare comedies that's not afraid to veer away from the main story for a moment, which involves Benjamin, a Chicago television executive (Rob Lowe) seeing "Wayne's World" as a great opportunity to receive lucrative sponsorship from Noah Vanderhoff (Brian Doyle-Murray) of the Noah's Arcades video game chain. The more money earned, the more time that can be spent in that shiny office building that the camera pans up on a few times, and it certainly explains Benjamin's apartment.
It's a funny contrast, when one considers the atmosphere that Wayne and Garth prowl (less polished than Benjamin's, but with lots more personality), especially in a scene where Garth has a look around Benjamin's apartment and finds books on how to pick up women. Garth may be nervous about approaching the girl at the local donut shop, but at least he has Wayne to offer advice. He doesn't need books.
In some scenes, as Wayne and Garth try to get used to the potential of wider awareness of their show, they are simply who they are. They lay on the hood of the Mirthmobile, behind an airport runaway, waiting for a jetliner to pass over them, or they play hockey in the middle of the street, moving the goalpost whenever a car approaches.
Or they're just hanging out at Stan Mikita's Donuts, which presents a few of the best moments in the film, when Ed O'Neill (celebrated for Al Bundy on "Married with Children"), as the manager, implies that he's killed a man and is so serious about it, even telling two guys with him about what happens if you stab a man outside in the cold, that it's just so funny. Well, definitely more funny than the description here. Plus, O'Neill fully separates himself from Al in that scene, which one may not believe possible, but there's no trace.
Everything wrapped within this film works, from the long hairstyles of Wayne and Garth, to Tia Carrere's Cassandra (serious about her music, whereas Benjamin only seems to coast along with his work and doesn't really look like he does much at all), to Penelope Spheeris' direction that just relaxes everything. The plot is there, but "Wayne's World" says merrily, "Just come along, hop in the Mirthmobile, and ride with us. We'll get you there, but check this out on the left! And this on the right! And look what's right in front of us!" The music featured in the film and Wayne and Garth's love of various genres of music partly drive the film, but it's our laughter which makes it work the most. "Wayne's World" rates an 8.5 out of 10. (R. Aronsky)