There are so many bad tributes to Jeff Spicoli, and Wayne’s World is a key offender. Where Bill and Ted managed to pay fantastic homage to Sean Penn’s most memorable character, Wayne and Garth fall flat. The more Wayne uttered “excellent,” the more I was reminded how much of a bad rip-off he really was. Now don’t get me wrong, the film certainly does have some positive moments. The boys meeting Alice Cooper was definitely a stand-out, and Rob Lowe would have to be the world leader in deadpan acting, but overall many jokes were too obvious for their own good, and the “dude, excellent,” act was better in 1989.
A spin-off of sorts from a Saturday Night Live sketch created by Mike Meyers and Dana Carvey, Wayne’s World started kicked off a string of lame SNL films based off sketches. The film follows Wayne Campbell (Mike Myers) and sidekick Garth Algar (Dana Carvey, two metal-loving dudes who host a variety show of sorts on public access television from Wayne’s mother’s basement, where the two share exploits, “play” music and interview local celebrities, subtly making fun of their guests without their knowledge. When a big network executive Benjamin Kane (Rob Lowe) discovers their show, he pitches the idea to his boss, in a ploy to gain more advertising whilst paying less. He offers the two a “huge” salary of $10,000 to buy the show and proceeds to fire them after the first show. After Wayne and Garth figure out Kane’s plan, to not only exploit them for cheap advertising, but also steal Wayne’s girlfriend Cassandra (Tia Carrere), the duo work to foil said plan.
The film’s plot is obvious, which I tend to ignore when the film is funny, but unfortunately this film is not, and it eventually became just too irritating to bear. Rob Lowe is hilarious as our incredibly deadpan villain, and a sequence where our lovable duo meet Alice Cooper backstage at a concert is funny, even if only for Cooper’s performance and there are funny bits here and there (Schwing!) but a lot of the time the jokes are either initially funny then overdrawn, or just not funny at all. Myers’ penchant for parody and satire shines through, and sometimes it’s really clever, yet most of the time it isn’t.
As stated earlier, Wayne and Garth are clear rip-of– I mean homages to Ted “Theodore” Logan and Bill Preston, Esq, two seemingly-dumb, metal-loving best friends who get thrust into a situation clearly above their heads. Carvey plays his role to hilarious perfection, as the high-strung extremely shy Garth Agnar, but unfortunately for Mike Myers, Carvey and Rob Lowe are the funniest parts of the film. Wayne Campbell paved a doorway for Dr. Evil, and Mike Myers had a bunch of fun playing him, but the people around him were much funnier.
I’ve spent a lot of time comparing this film to the Bill and Ted films, which may seem unfair to some, but it’s hard not to. The characters are flawed clones, the plot functions are quite similar (though closer to Bogus Journey than Excellent Adventure)and the film’s most famous one-liners, such as “Excellent,” and “Party on,” are taken straight from the pockets of Bill and Ted scripters, Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson. Hey, at least we know Mike Myers loved it.