Anthony Michael Hall - Gary Wallace
Ilan Mitchell-Smith - Wyatt Donnelly
Kelly LeBrock - Lisa
Bill Paxton - Chet Donnelly
Suzanne Synder - Deb
Judie Aronson - Hilly
Robert Rusler - Max
Robert Downey, Jr. - Ian
Year - 1985
Score - 3 Howls Outta 4
Gary (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) are the geekiest teenagers of their high school. No girl wants them. Wyatt's older military brother Chet (Bill Paxton) bullies them every chance he gets. Their idea of a good time is "tossing off" to Playboy magazines and showering in their clothes. But one night while watching FRANKENSTEIN at Wyatt's house, Gary gets the idea of creating a woman for himself and Wyatt. Using probably a more upgraded computer than the ones we use now [even though it was 1985], Gary and Wyatt suck all the power out of the town [which causes bizarre things to happen] and create Lisa (Kelly LeBrock) - a woman who will do everything possible to make Wyatt and Gary happy. With the help of the magical Lisa, Gary and Wyatt finally live the lives they always wanted to live while learning some powerful life lessons along the way.
WEIRD SCIENCE is a personal favorite of mine. I used to watch this on cable every chance I could get during the 1980s and just loved the science fiction aspect of the film. Looking at Kelly LeBrock didn't hurt either. And Oingo Boingo's theme song was extremely memorable. It's been years since I had seen this film and I think it still kind of holds up, though not as well as other John Hughes films. It's still funny, the message of the film underneath the supernatural stuff still rings true, and the ending is totally a Hughes trademark.
However, the film isn't perfect. The pacing is extremely off. The film doesn't flow like a comedy should and the story kind of goes all over the place at certain points of the movie. There's really no climatic moment in the film - things just kind of happen. I mean, the two hot teenage girls fell in love with Gary and Wyatt because they saved them from bikers? Really? That quickly? I wish I knew girls like that back in High School. And the part with Wyatt's grandparents - was that even necessary in the story? Just seemed like a plot device for Lisa to show how magical she is. Wyatt isn't that interesting of a character, especially since he's the main character of the story. Gary is the character I think most people remember and relate to. Besides, the only reason these two geeks even have a personality is because Lisa pushes their buttons and puts them in these really bizarre situations. Also, I believe guys would enjoy this film more than women. WEIRD SCIENCE is really a guy's comedy because we can relate to the men [and Lisa] and nobody else. This film has no strong female characters other than Lisa, so I'm not sure how women will take to this film. Maybe a lot of them like it, I don't know. I do know a few who don't and would rather watch a Molly Ringwald film. But it's still watchable after all these years and has some really great moments even with all the broken links in the story's chain.
John Hughes wrote this film in two days and also directed WEIRD SCIENCE. The story definitely shares some themes that we see in all of Hughes' classic teen movies. Like the fact that the main characters learn that what matters is being true to oneself, how friendship is important, and how hard it is for those who are considered different and unpopular. It's just not as believable in this supernatural context, but it's there. Hughes' makes these points clear visually as well. It's a really well-directed film [Hughes' third], especially the special effect sequences where Lisa is created, the giant missile rises inside of Wyatt's house, and Chet looking like an uglier version of Jabba The Hut. The part where the girl gets sucked through the chimney is classic too. Just wonderfully shot and directed. I also enjoyed when the main characters would look at the camera as if telling the audience that they're in on the whole fantasy along with us. I've heard people say this film is the worst John Hughes directed film, but I can't see how. Except for maybe the pacing of the film, the rest is a well technically-made movie. I think if it were directed by anyone else, this film would lose the heart that John Hughes gives this film. I think it's a nice job overall.
The acting was pretty good too. Anthony Michael Hall is the King of 80s Geeks, which makes the character Gary a real treat to watch. I think Hall had the best moments in the film and really shows that he has great comedic timing and is a really good actor. I love the scene where Gary is drunk in the bar. And the scene where Lisa is telling Gary's parents about the party in the middle act of the film is just awesome. Hall's face and reactions to the situation within the scene are priceless. If this role was played by anyone other than Hall, I'm not sure it would have been as memorable.
Ilan Mitchell-Smith was just okay as Wyatt. I dunno...he's just really whiny and kind of annoying to me. And he's pretty bland too. I think he played it a bit too straight and should have had more fun with the role. I didn't really find him interesting except in the scene where he confronts the bikers. Just a bland character I thought.
Kelly LeBrock is awesome as Lisa. She's spunky, beautiful, and can do anything she sets her mind on as the "perfect woman". And that British accent...oh God I love her accent. I usually don't like supermodels who act, but LeBrock is a big exception. She has charisma and personality. Even when she doesn't say a word, you're glued to her and want to know what she's gonna do next. And she makes the visually guilty 80s fashion look good! I think she was perfect for the role and it's sad that she didn't really do more classic stuff like this later on. I think she could have been a bigger name than she was in the 80s. But I really enjoy her here and she's the glue that holds this film together.
Bill Paxton is great as Chet, Wyatt's brother. He's the stereotypical bully and plays it up as best as he can. Paxton is hilarious in his delivery and he's extremely natural as a military-like bully. He also has some great lines that make laugh every time I hear them. Paxton seems to have a lot of fun in the role, which makes Chet a more likable character than he has any right to be. If you want a guy to play a great scumbag, get Bill Paxton.
And special mention goes to Robert Downey Jr. as one of the high school bullies. Even though he doesn't do much in the film compared to everyone else, you can tell that this guy was gonna be a star. He also has memorable clothes too. That new wave fashion sure made you stand out, didn't it? Great yellow socks there, pal! And the cameos from Michael Berryman from the original THE HILLS HAVE EYES and Vernon Wells from THE ROAD WARRIOR are hilarious, especially their exit where they apologize to everyone at the party they crashed.
Speaking of the fashion, WEIRD SCIENCE is truly an 80s film that deserves to be in a time capsule. Big hair, leg warmers, narrow ties, pastels, spandex - it's all here. God, I feel nostalgic right now.
THE FINAL HOWL
WEIRD SCIENCE is one of those classic 80s film that you just love even with its flaws. Not John Hughes' best film but it's definitely memorable. This film is definitely a testament to geek power everywhere.