Weird Science

(USA 1985)

“So, what would you little maniacs like to do first?”

—Lisa

No one can accuse John Hughes of being highbrow with Weird Science, his farcical teenage male fantasy flick. The concept is ridiculously pedestrian: Gary (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith), two high school “donkey dicks” who “couldn’t get laid in a morgue,” create an impossibly hot woman (Kelly LeBrock) using their computer and a Barbie doll—where exactly the latter came from isn’t clear. They name their creation Lisa and hope to put her to use for something—they’re not quite sure what. Turns out, Lisa has her own plans for them. Hilarity ensues.

It might sound awful: Weird Science is silly, indulgent, and crass. What sets it apart from other dumb films of the same ilk is that it actually has a heart. Plus, it’s funny. LeBrock is cheeky, charming, warm, and wry here; she knows exactly when to be flirty and when to be more motherly. She puts forth sincerity in her affection for Gary and Wyatt; the way her voice wavers at their parting scene is more touching than she has any business being in a film like this. Bill Paxton is hilarious as Chet, Wyatt’s militant abusive older brother—”he’s kind of an asshole.” His delivery is downright inspiring—that “greazy pork sandwich served in a dirty ashtray” line gets a snicker out of me every time, as does pretty much everything he says. The scene with Gary’s parents (Britt Leach and Barbara Lang) is classic boy humor. Even Robert Downey, Jr. and Robert Rusler are awesome in their smaller roles as tormentors. I love that Hughes incorporates elements from other movies, Mad Max: The Road Warrior and Return of the Jedi to name two. Even the (hopefully) tongue-in-cheek cheesy special effects fit. Bonus: Oingo Boingo. Somehow, Weird Science‘s utter juvenile goofiness is totally endearing. Be careful what you wish for—you just might get it.

94 minutes
Rated PG-13

(Home via iTunes) B-

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