What to say about today’s film? It’s based on a beloved character (well, characters) from the TV show Saturday Night Live. As far as Saturday Night Live films go, it’s looked at as one of the very best. And, through one group of friends/family or another, it’s a film that I ended up seeing over a dozen times at the cinema (true story).
Today’s film is Wayne’s World.
For those of you not in the know about Wayne Campbell, first – why not? And second – he, and his best friend Garth Algar, run a late night cable access program (the kind of things people used to do before YouTube) in which they discuss the major issues of the day in their own special style. And that is pretty much all there is to it, really. Well, in the SNL version at least.
In the film, the boys have to deal with a hell of a lot more – first of all, the show has come to the attention of Benjamin Fuller (Rob Lowe), a sleazy TV producer who is intent on owning the show and mass-marketing the crap out of it, making it antithesis of everything that made the show what it is. Also, Wayne has gained a girlfriend, the hard rockin’ Cassandra (Tia Carrera) which leads to a huge falling out between Wayne and Garth. Can the boys reunite, save the show and help Cassandra and her band realise their dreams? Maybe, maybe not – you’ll have to watch to find out, won’t you?
The first thing you notice about Wayne’s World is that it is fun, everyone seems to be having the time of their lives making the film and that translates into a great watching experience for the audience. Given that Mike Meyers and Dana Carvey came from such a long standing comedy institution, you’d expect them to know from comedic timing, and they do. But what is truly surprising are the performances from people not known for comedy – both Rob Lowe and Tia Carrera are great in their respective roles, going toe to toe with Meyers and Carvey at every moment. Alice Cooper, Chris Farley and Lara Flynn Boyle are also great in small, but no less hilarious roles. But the true standout is Ed O’Neill, whose insane donut store owner threatens to steal the movie away from Wayne and Garth, sometimes quite literally.
In addition to all the well-loved Wayne’s World SNL moments and lines, the film itself has given us plenty of classic moments. Ever headbanged to the rock segment of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody? It started here. Ever asked for the Cream of Sum Yung Gai Soup? Ok, that may have not started here, but the movie sure as hell popularised it. Ever dropped to your knees and chanted “we’re not worthy”? Here again.
Honestly – to me, as Wayne and Garth, Mike Meyers and Dana Carvey have never been funnier, and it’s in this film (and the sequel, which I may get to at some stage) that they are truly at the top of their games.
For any fan of Wayne’s World (and let’s face it, that’s who the built in audience for this film was going to be) this film was met with delight. And for non-fans, the film was met with delight – because, unlike a LOT of other SNL films, this is actually funny enough to stand on its own merits. And that is just a huge plus to a film that is nothing but plusses already.