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WAYNE'S WORLD

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Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Mike Myers, Dana Carvey, Lara Flynn Boyle, Tia Carrere, Rob Lowe
Director: Penelope Spheeris
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Surround, French Dolby Surround
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Studio: Paramount
Features: See Review
Length: 94 Minutes
Release Date: July 10, 2001

“I’d have to say…a sphincter says what.”
“What?”
“A sphincter says what.”
“What?”
“Exactly.”

Film ***1/2

I can still remember the time when Wayne’s World hit the theaters. Back in the early 90s, such films like this and Bill & Ted seemed to be the defining trend aimed at young audiences. It still surprises me that even today, Wayne’s World doesn’t seem dated at all, as it is one of the funniest films of the past decade.

Wayne’s World is a comedic gem of a movie that ranks with The Blues Brothers as the far best movie treatment of any sketch from Saturday Night Live. If by chance you’ve been keeping track recently with the current list of SNL spin-offs, it hasn’t been pretty. The Blues Brothers made not only a hysterical chase movie, but a dynamic musical as well, and while the given plot in Wayne’s World isn’t of any unique quality, the dialogue and visual gags are, and that to me is the whole point of the movie.

The film features two of SNL’s most talented veterans, Mike Myers and Dana Carvey, creating characterizations out of the slacker, heavy metal music loving generation. The two play party hounds Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar, who host a popular local cable access show called Wayne’s World, is taped live in Wayne’s own home basement. Myers had originally created the character of Wayne for television in Ontario before joining SNL, while Carvey’s Garth is more or less an interpretation of his brother, who was a genius with electrical items, as Garth is in the movie. Their show basically consists of the two bringing on eccentric guests, and occasionally saluting their favorite models or dream babes, such as Claudia Schiffer, the then Guess jeans girl.

This show captures the attention of Benjamin (Rob Lowe), a sleazy ad executive who thinks Wayne’s World would attract a very profitable sponsor. He then convinces the owner of a video arcade chain (Brian Doyle-Murray) to sponsor the show, to which he can sell it to a teenage fan base. Benjamin then presents Wayne and Garth with two checks for $5,000 each, to which of course, they immediately agree to. During the course of this deal, Wayne falls for the sexy band leader Cassandra (Tia Carrere). All is well, until the two soon detect the downfall of selling out, which leads to Wayne falling out with both Garth and Cassandra. Realizing the scheme that Benjamin has created, Wayne stops at nothing to make things right, and get his show back under his control.

Mike Myers of course went on to create even popular comedy characterizations such as Austin Powers, and most recently in the animated Shrek.  Looking back, Wayne’s World was perhaps the perfect introduction for Myers outrageous tone for comedy, resulting in such winning scenes as the one in which he and Carvey both spoof the notion of product placement to perfection. Dana Carvey, who in my book has always been an underrated comedy performer, presents a subtle humorous quality to Garth. And then there’s Rob Lowe’s nastily funny and revealing performance as the antagonist, Benjamin.

The bottom line is that Wayne’s World still rocks to this day, and still makes me laugh every single time I watch it. Not a whole lot of thought provoking plot, but a whole lot of laughs, this is one rocket of a comedy that is sure to bring a smile to your face.

Video ****

With their older movies, Paramount is hard to predict as to how their transfers will turn out. For Wayne’s World, the result is purely outstanding. This anamorphic presentation is consistently sharp and clear from minute 1 to minute 94. Absolutely no flaws in the image whatsoever, not even the slightest bit of edge enhancement. By far the studios best looking disc of any movie from their old library since perhaps The Untouchables.

Audio ***1/2

The key standout in the audio fare of this disc is the music in the movie, which is of the loud and furious kind. Music is played in nearly every scene in the movie, and the 5.1 Dolby Digital transfer serves the songs magnificently well, particularly the hysterical opening sing-a-long to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. Another key scene of loud crisp noise comes when Wayne and Garth go to an Alice Cooper concert, which is also a big standout moment. A very well handled audio job from Paramount.

Features ***

Normally, with this level of extras, I wouldn’t exactly merit an easy 3 star rating, but I’m giving Paramount extra credit for delivering perhaps one of the most brilliant uses for menu screens I’ve seen recently. About this menu screen, it is set up like the local preview guides on TV, with numerous ads in the upper area, which also will play snippets of the WW trailer, as if it was about to come on. A very, very clever use. The extras include a half hour documentary titled “Wayne’s World: Extreme Close-Up”, a commentary with director Penelope Spheeris, and a trailer.

Summary:

If you’ve waited for it as long as I have to arrive on DVD, or if you’re a fan of pure comedy, Wayne’s World is as big as the come with the laughs. Kudos to Paramount for adding the necessary touches to this outstanding disc.