Teen life is full of mysteries, but nothing is more hilarious or more fun than Weird Science, the out of this world comedy that helped define a generation! Join two socially challenged computer whizzes (Anthony Michael Hall and Ilan Mitchell-Smith) as they set out to create the “perfect women” (supermodel Kelly LeBrock). Like a computer generated fairy godmother, the duo’s heavenly creation guides the pair through the pleasures and pitfalls of teenage life. From writer/director John Hughes (The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles).
Weird Science 7.0
For many years, I was unsure if I had seen ‘Weird Science’ or not. If I’d seen it, it was some 25 years ago, during an all-night role-playing bender at one of my buddies’ place, in which case I’ve only seen parts of it. If I haven’t seen it, then what I saw was ‘Real Genius’.
Oh, sure… one is a beloved John Hughes film, and the other is a “piece of crap” featuring Val Kilmer (I am wary of calling it a piece of crap because it actually rates higher on the imdb, but I’m sure John Hughes fans would knock it down in favour of ‘Weird Science’).
But, dammit! It was a long time ago, I was distracted that night, the films came out at about the same time, both were omnipresent in video stores, and my buddy was running it off of The Movie Channel so I probably only caught it midstream. How in the world am I supposed to know the difference over two decades later?
For now, however, one will have to restrain one’s derisive laughter at my inability to tell the two apart. I own a copy of or have seen almost all the other classic John Hughes films (save some of the John Candy ones…. I couldn’t stand Candy except in ‘Splash’ and ‘The Blues Brothers’). So save it!
‘Weird Science’ really is my Achilles Heel – even after having seen it, I’m still not sure if it was the film I saw so many moons ago. However, now that I can finally confirm having seen it, I must admit a certain level of disappointment: it wasn’t nearly as fun as I hoped it would be. (I know, I know… this is blasphemous, but it’s only my first impression; it may change over the time.)
For all intents and purposes, ‘Weird Science’ is a fluff piece whose only purpose is to make real a teenage boy’s fantasy; it has very little plot to speak of, instead being mostly filled with gags, and is bereft of true emotion, providing instead a two-dimensional semblance of real interactions and situation.
It’s all just ninety minutes of wish-fulfillment: our two protagonists (played by Anthony Michael Hall and Ilan Mitchell-Smith) end up getting all they desire with no effort or consequences whatsoever. And, of course, they get the girls in the end, even though there’s absolutely nothing to elucidate how this could be or why they are attracted to those particular girls – they’re blank slates that are devoid of any distinguishing personality, really.
As expected, the so-called “science” is ridiculous, being even less credible than the old Frankenstein films that are referenced throughout the picture. That’s no big surprise. It’s actually funny to watch all the old special effects and all that happens with these old school computers, though: for some reason, with what must have amounted to Commodore 64-level computer hardware, and by tapping into other computers simultaneously, they managed to build a woman out of thin air!
Besides being created out of nothingness, this woman (played by Kelly LeBrock), whom they name Lisa, has unimaginable powers on top of being built like a supermodel! What more could they ask for? Lisa can do anything that she wants or that they request, inexplicably, like magic. She can make cars appear out of nowhere, draw hundreds of people to a party, …etc. She is truly everything that they could ever hope for in a woman, and there is no personal responsibility required, because she clean up any mess or fix any situation, too.
The film pretty much hinges on Kelly LeBrock’s sex appeal; she is meant to be the gravitational force of the film, without which none of it could take place – so her magnetism is core. I couldn’t tell you what my reaction would have been back in 1985, let alone if I were the age of our two teenage misfits, but I must admit that I wasn’t really charmed by her: not only was she an unexceptional actress (she was primarily a model! ), but I found her only okay; she was attractive, with a nice figure, but not especially sexy. And she has smoker’s teeth; her pearly greys really bothered me.
Meanwhile, the rest of the cast was standard for this type of fare: Hall pulled through pretty good as the slightly irritating, eager and horny nerd, Mitchell-Smith played his vacant side-kick like an emotionally bereft Fred Savage, Bill Paxton was annoying as hell (and I could hardly recognize him: he already had no hair by then! So what’s his secret now? ) and Robert Downey jr. was… um.. Robert Downey jr. (as a side-note, I always found that Downey jr. looked much older than his age, but he definitely doesn’t look teenaged liked he’s supposed to be here).
Even though it’s mostly middling fare, ‘Weird Science’ flies by at a good cruising speed from the get-go. It’s only the final act that started to slow things down – that is, from the moment that the two guys conspire with Robert Downey jr. and his buddy to create another “perfect” girl. From that point onward it jettisons any true inspiration and served up a forceful conclusion to the proceedings that was as boring as it was ridiculous.
Still, I’m quite happy to have finally seen it. It’s hardly my favourite of the John Hughes films (that award either goes to ‘The Breakfast Club’ or ‘Some Kind of Wonderful’. Or maybe ‘Sixteen Candles’. Hmmm… ), but it’s not the least of them, either (no thanks to ‘Pretty in Pink’ for that! ).
‘Weird Science’ can be an amusing 90 minutes when in the right frame of mind, but it’s empty of the real-life sentiment that usually permeate John Hughes films. I sure would have loved it if I had seen it was back then, though. It probably would have pushed all the right buttons.