Directed by Penelope Spheeris
Written by Mike Meyers, Bonnie Turner, and Terry Turner
Cast: Mike Meyers, Dana Carvey, Rob Lowe, Kurt Fuller, Tia Carrere, Chris Farley, Frank DiLeo, Robert Patrick, and Ed O’Neill
Length: 1 hour and 34 minutes
Genre: Comedy, music
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Description from IMDB:
“Two slacker friends try to promote their public-access cable show.”
Wayne Campbell (Mike Meyers), and his best friend Garth Algar (Dana Carvey), run the public access cable show, Wayne’s World, which has become a local sensation. When they are approached by Benjamin and Russel (Rob Lowe and Kurt Fuller), two television executives, they jump at the chance to make money while creating the show they love. However, creative differences soon surface as Benjamin tries to push the duo out of the way in order to seduce Wayne’s girlfriend, Cassandra (Tia Carrere). Wayne struggles to maintain his dream job, dream relationship, and dream friendship in a film packed with rock music and popular culture references to keep any fan of the music genre entertained throughout.
Wayne’s World (1992) is based on the Saturday Night Live skit of the same name, and makes use of the same goofy, if a bit immature, humor. It was directed by Penelope Spheeris, who also directed three documentaries about the heavy metal genre of music called The Decline of Western Civilization. The characters are caricatures of Midwest 20 and 30-year-olds of the 1990’s. Wayne lives at home with his parents and wants to be paid to do his show. He knows “how to party” and does so with his awkward, goofy, and introverted best friend, Garth. The two become local celebrities among the rock and heavy metal music scene, often being recognized in the streets of Aurora, IL.
Wayne’s World is perhaps best known not only for its pop culture references, but those it created. The featured image of this post is taken from the introductory credits with Wayne, Garth, and their camera crew cruising on a Friday night while singing along to Queen’s famous hit, “Bohemian Rhapsody”. There are also a couple of musician cameos, which the Saturday Night Live skit also made use of, with Meatloaf appearing as the bouncer Tiny and Alice Cooper appearing as himself.
Wayne’s World (1992) is full of fourth-wall breaks; for those unaware, “breaking the fourth wall” happens when the characters in a play or film speak directly to the audience. This happens throughout the film, especially with Wayne and Garth addressing the camera to point out absurd happenings, like a security guard (Chris Farley) knowing Mr. Sharp’s (Frank DiLeo) exact route on the freeway; this information helps in the end, but it is still pointed out as being especially coincidental with a wink and a nod. Wayne also looks at the camera and screams when pulled over by a motorcycle cop, who turns out to be none other than the T-1000 (Robert Patrick) from Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991). There is also one occasion where Glen (Ed O’Neill), the manager of Stan Mikita’s Donuts, steals the camera to divulge some pretty cryptic and gruesome details about murder before Wayne wrangles it back under control.
Wayne’s World (1992) captures a moment in music history with the transition from heavy metal as the main genre to grunge and alternative rock. The film is goofy, campy, and so self-aware that it overcomes the formulaic plot. Wayne’s World (1992) is nothing, if not entertaining, and had a lasting effect on my sense of humor as a person and a writer of stories. There are a couple of parts that irk me (Tia Carrere’s screechy singing for one), though none are enough to take away from my overall enjoyment of the film. This is a good movie to sit down and watch without having to pay too much attention. Party on, Wayne, and party on Garth!
Verdict: 3 comedic fourth wall breaks out of 5
Recommended for: Fans of Mike Meyers, fans of Saturday Night Live, those who enjoy high-fives, those who like the fourth wall being broken, fans of rock music, those nostalgic for the 1990’s, and people who don’t mind formulaic plots if the movie is funny enough.
Not recommended for: Fans of Michael Meyers, MADTV fanatics, people who want to play Stairway to Heaven in music stores, musicians who will notice the “musicians” in the film aren’t really playing (except for Dana Carvey), sphincter boys, or those without a sense of humor.