hey’re already out there in small
pockets and their numbers are
swelling by the minute. By June
they’ll be so thick on the ground
you just won’t be able to avoid
those people ending a patently ludicrous sentence with the word ‘Not!’ and" responding to your desperate ‘No Way!’ with a gleeful ‘Waaay!’
For Wayne’s World is coming and it’s going to be both huge and very irritating indeed. Huge that is with the sort of people who love describing in excruciating detail the funny bits in Naked Gun 21/2 and learning the dialogue from Monty Python films just in case they get the opportunity to recite great chunks at parties. Wayne’s World is the finest example so far of Nerd Cinema, made for nerds by nerds and about nerds. ‘There’s no message. It’s a comedy,’ says Wayne himself, Canadian actor Mike Myers. The film is a celebration of average babe-chasing dudes from the ’burbs with Fender Stratocasters for brains, embracing what Myers calls ‘the homogenous North American heavy metal experience.’ They shoot, they score and ka boom, they party on. They’ve also put the English language back a couple of centuries.
Actually Mike Myers and Dana Carvey, alias Wayne and Garth are far from nerdish individuals. In fact they’re a couple of regular professional guys whose throwaway sketches for the US TV show Saturday Night Live proved a cult hit across the States. That show’s producer Lorne Michaels was looking for franchise-friendly (ie begging for cheapo sequels) movie ideas, and yo, 36 days of shooting later on a comparatively tiny $14 million budget Wayne’s World was ready to be unleashed on the slack- jawed American market. They loved it to the tune of $60 million in the first three weeks of release. A bit ofa ﬂop. Not (sorry, that’s definitely the last time I do that).
The essential premise of Wayne's World is that cocky adolescent metalhead Wayne and his geeky computer-obsessed sidekick Garth present a wackoid show on public access TV ' in Aurora, Illinois, a town near Chicago but
Wayne’s World is the finest example so tar ‘ ot Nerd Cinema, made for nerds by nerds and about nerds.
distinctly excitement- challenged. Wayne’s World the show is devoted to the twin and related pleasures of paying tributes to
' ‘babes’ and adoring hirsute heavy rock stars, with the occasional bizarre invention thrown in for a laugh. Essentially it’s an affectionate satire of the mindless lifestyle of your average braindead rock ’n’ roll juvenile. A brand spanking new and original idea you might say. And monkeys might fly out of your butt. The distinctly overrated Spinal Tap and a couple of Bill And Ted capers have mined a distinctly similar comic seam. It has proved a rich source of broad yucks with a rather interesting ability to cross generation barriers, pulling in both the lank-haired juvenile dudes who see a celebration of their lifestyle, and the middle-aged breadheads who see a
Schwing! Excellent! If she was a President, she’d be Baberaham Lincoln. Wayne’s World hits a cinema screen near you imminently
and threatens to demolish sensible conversation all summer. Tom Lappin gives the film the serious analytical treatment. Not!
devastating satire on their mindless offspring. That’s not to say that Myers and Carvey
don’t bring a certain fresh appeal to the idea.
Their penchant for viewing their
; surroundings through a miasma oftrash
culture references is the sort of thing guaranteed to get the Modern Review and Kerrang readers nodding along in unison. Appropriately enough Myers bears a
' striking resemblance to Neighbour.s"s Joe Mangel, while Carvey is Brookside’s Harry
Cross in a David Coverdale wig. Their show (and the film) is littered with references to models (‘schwing, tent-pole, she’s a babe!’), bands and daytime TV, their language a patois derived from HM talk. understatement and bludgeoning sarcasm, leavened with plain gibberish.
So these are the guys. Their life is an uncomplicated one, consisting ofcruising down to the local psychotic’s donut shop, singing along to Bohemian Rhapsody in the car or hanging out at the Gasworks heavy metal club and a ‘veritable babefest.’ These sort of vignettes are all well and good for the occasional five-minute sketch on Saturday Night Live, but a 90-minute movie surely requires a different dynamic? Producer Michaels thought not, rejecting all ideas of an inventive plot. The ﬂimsy storyline basically consists of baddie Rob Lowe (playing to type as a lecherous hunk) buying the Wayne’s World show and neutering its appeal, until the guys decide to fight back.
This laziness in execution is just one of the elements of shoddiness-as-virtue which pervade Wayne’s World. It’s a peculiarly apolitical film, rejecting even any suggestion
WAYNE‘S WORLD FEATURE
' of generation war. The battle between
a corporate lizard Lowe and ‘artists’
i (shyeeeah, riiiiight) Garth and Wayne is a ' cartoon one. The whole thing smacks ofa Q gigantic in-joke with the central actors
obviously well past their adolescent years (Carvey is old enough to be Garth’s Dad) and the supposed non-commercial credibility ofthe show sent up in a wonderfully blatant product placement
Saturday Night Live in the 70s and 805 had a radical reputation that sat uneasily with its prime-time TV slot. When its performers moved on to the movies, however,
_ catchphrase-driven infantilism was the order
of the day. The difference in the 90s is that Myers and Carvey took the nerd approach to begin with. It‘s paying off, as demonstrated
i by Myers’s litany of spin-off product.
‘There‘s a Wayne‘s World book, six T-shirts, a hat, poster, greetings cards. mug, doll, video. . .’ The message is by all means have a laugh, but let’s make a few million bucks in the process. Mind you, all isn’t hunky-dory in downtown Aurora. The sequel contracts weren’t watertight, and Myers is all ofa sudden rather hotter property than this time last year. Nobody is talking to each other it seems, director Penelope Spheeris is saying she feels under-appreciated, and we could end up with the Scooby Doo ending after all. ‘We’d have got away with it ifit hadn’t have been for you pesky kids. . .’
Wayne’s World has a wide release from Friday 22 May.
The List 22 May-4June 199211