I was about six years old when I first watched ‘Wayne’s World’, and I didn’t have a clue what was going on. I only watched it then because it was my auntie’s favourite film, and she had exhausted all other options for a viewing buddy. All I remember is the wacky, repetitive, slapstick comedy that appealed to my post-toddler sense of humour. Nearly twenty years passed before I watched ‘Wayne’s World’ again, this time fully aware of the film’s cult status as a classic teen comedy, a film which captures perfectly the cultural transition between the late 80s and the early 90s. Yet even this time I was still wonderfully oblivious to what exactly was happening.
The plot to the film isn’t really that important, it’s not what ‘Wayne’s World’ hinges on. Broadcasting from a basement in Chicago, Wayne (Mike Myers) and best pal Garth (Dana Carvey) have their own mad, amateur television show called (you guessed it) ‘Wayne’s World’. When hotshot TV exec Benjamin Oliver (Rob Lowe) stumbles across the show, he sees dollar signs and takes the pair to arcade tycoon Noah Vandahoff to fund the production of the show to a larger audience. With the duo’s creative freedom stifled, Wayne walks away from the show and abandons Garth, before pushing away his new girlfriend Cassandra. What ensues is Wayne’s attempts to make amends and win everyone back, with lots of capers and surrealism along the way. We are even given the privilege of a bad, medium and happy ending.
Mike Myers leads the line as Wayne, and is truly ‘excellent’ at making it all about him throughout the film. Hints of his future alter-ego, Austin Powers, are clearly evident and it’s obvious that Myers was a real star in the making. As oddball Garth, Dana Carvey manages to come across as super weird, even by ‘Wayne’s World’ standards. He is exceptionally awkward and strange, but is all the more endearing for it. Rob Lowe is effortless in his portrayal of the sleezy, double-crossing, slimeball Benjamin. It is no coincidence that Lowe went on to play such a character time and time again on the back of this role.
As a film at the heart of the teen-stoner-hipster demographic, ‘Wayne’s World’ excels in its very self conscious irony, underpinned by repetitive catchphrases and gimmicks. This is a stoner film to rival all others, a simply bizarre and stupid film but one which is adequately entertaining. I would describe ‘Wayne’s World’ as the 90s equivalent to ‘Pineapple Express’, with a little less of a narrative, or at least a little less of an interest in the narrative. But every bit as concerned with the comedic value of gags, slapstick humour and the irony of youth culture.
I would say ‘Wayne’s World’ is just about as good as it gets for a film of this style and subgenre. And I mean that as high praise. It is a film which champions stupidity and irony, whilst cleverly poking fun at the film industry, and indeed the whole global commercial market through thinly veiled satire. ‘Wayne’s World’ is so wacky you just have to sit back and laugh, and that’s the beauty of it, this basic comedy is deceptively entertaining. Party on!
DIRECTOR: PENELOPE SPHEERIS
STARRING: MIKE MYERS, DANA CARVEY, ROB LOWE