Anthony Michael Hall and Ilan Mitchell-Smith star as Gary and Wyatt in this enjoyable comedy from the prolific writer-director John Hughes (who, apparently, wrote this in about two days). Gary and Wyatt are losers. They have no friends and no chance to ever get close to the young women they admire from afar (Suzanne Snyder and Judie Aronson). They are typical lead characters for a John Hughes movie. Desperate to get a better knowledge of women, and to gain some practical experience, the two lads decide to use a computer to make one. Lo and behold, they manage to create Lisa (Kelly LeBrock). She’s everything they could ever want in a woman, and she’s determined to help them get what they want, even if her methods are . . . . . . . . . . . . highly unorthodox.
All John Hughes movies are far-fetched, to a degree. From Sixteen Candles to The Breakfast Club to Home Alone (which he wrote the script for), every single one has a fantastical element. Usually that fantastical element is simply the way in which outsiders triumph against all odds to be seen as the coolest kids in high school. In Weird Science the fantastical element is the creation of a woman who can get whatever she wants with some kind of magic powers. But the film also wants to give outsiders a chance to triumph against all odds to be seen as the coolest kids in high school.
The flippant nature of the script might give away the fact that it was written in only two days, but the gag rate is impressively high for such hastily written pages. Hughes does himself a huge favour by putting together one of his best casts. Mitchell-Smith may be a bit of a wet blanket, but he’s supposed to be so that’s not a big problem. Anthony Michael Hall, on the other hand, is almost always hilarious, whether in the dialogue he utters or the reactions to whatever is going on around him. LeBrock is suitably gorgeous, of course, but she also gets to deliver some amusing lines (her chat with an old woman in a lingerie store is a highlight). Snyder and Aronson are pretty, but they’re also treated rather poorly by the script, putting up with lousy boyfriends (a spiky-haired Robert Downey Jr. and a callous Robert Rusler) because the alternative would see them lose any chance at a decent social life. It’s a fair consideration at that age, but doesn’t help their characters seem like more than the under-written “trophies” they end up being. Bill Paxton provides another memorable turn as Chet, the older brother of Wyatt who likes nothing more than to torture his sibling and blackmail him for money and gifts. Last, but by no means least, it’s worth mentioning the fun cameos from Vernon Wells and Michael Berryman.
I’ve always loved Weird Science. It’s a wish-fulfilment movie, like almost every John Hughes movie, and I first saw it at a time when I both enjoyed the comedy and also identified with the problems faced by the main characters, problems that mean the whole world at the time but soon seem inconsequential when we enter adulthood. It remains, to me, a fun film and one I can rewatch almost as regularly as I used to. Maybe that’s just a sign of how immature I can be, or maybe it’s just a sign of how many great lines are packed into this.
WRITER/DIRECTOR: JOHN HUGHES
STARS: ANTHONY MICHAEL HALL, ILAN MITCHELL-SMITH, KELLY LEBROCK, BILL PAXTON, SUZANNE SNYDER, JUDIE ARONSON, ROBERT DOWNEY JR, ROBERT RUSLER, VERNON WELLS, MICHAEL BERRYMAN
RUNTIME: 94 MINS APPROX