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WEIRD SCIENCE

     

For Hicksflicks.com, Friday, May 29, 2020

EDITOR’S NOTE: Every now and again Hollywood churns out a comedy for kids that is clearly one that kids should be steered away from. Even this film’s original poster crows: ‘It’s purely sexual.’ Still, the 35-year-old fantasy-farce does have a cult audience … no doubt made up of men in their 40s and 50s who loved the film as teens. (It also spawned a four-season 1990s TV series!) Anyway, it’s been given a major ‘special-edition’ Blu-ray boost with loads of featurettes from Arrow Films. My review was published in the Deseret News on Aug. 3, 1985. (And though I didn’t mention them, Bill Paxton and Robert Downey Jr. are among the actors playing goofy teens.)

John Hughes wrote “National Lampoon’s Vacation” and “Mr. Mom,” and wrote and directed “The Breakfast Club” and “Sixteen Candles,” the latter two being funny/insightful examinations of modern teenagers.

But with “Weird Science,” Hughes has taken a very bizarre turn. This is an absurdist fantasy, loaded with off-the-wall humor and sight gags, some of it funny but more of it just strange.

Beneath it all, however, is that old teen movie standby – teenage wimps trying to lose their virginity.

To get all the jokes, it helps to be well-versed in American pop culture, and though some of the humor is on the mark, and occasionally there is that insight into modern youth that has become Hughes’ trademark, more often he takes the throw-in-everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach — which seems to better suit Mel Brooks — while combining “Animal House,” “WarGames,” “Electric Dreams,” “Private Lessons,” “Risky Business” and even “The Road Warrior.”

     

Kelly LeBrock, Anthony Michael Hall (center), Ilan Mitchell-Smith, 'Weird Science' (1985)

The story, which is really little more than a jumping-off device, has two 16-year-old nerds (Anthony Michael Hal, Ilan Mitchell-Smith) creating a woman by computer. The premise is ridiculous, of course, but Hughes makes it happen so fast and furious, in such a razzle-dazzle manner, that you can go with it. This is fantasy, after all.

The woman they create is Kelly LeBrock (she was “The Woman in Red”), beautiful, sensuous, alluring, and brainy, too. And the first thing the boys do is take a shower with her. Of course, they keep their jeans and shoes on, staring in wide-eyed disbelief at their own handiwork.

Next, LeBrock, who is endowed with magical powers, conjures up sports cars and takes them into town to party. After that, she brings the party to them, inviting all the popular kids from school to Mitchell-Smith’s house for a wild bash.

The furniture is sucked up the chimney, a gang of mutant bikers (led by Vernon Wells, spoofing his similar role in “The Road Warrior”) crashes the party, and grandma and grandpa are frozen and kept in a closet.

Well, as you can see, this movie defies description. So why bother?

     

Suffice it to say that several set pieces are funny, and Hall, who played endearing nerds in Hughes’ “Breakfast Club” and “Sixteen Candles,” proves once again he is a master of comic timing. LeBrock is also much more appealing here than she was in “The Woman in Red,” taking on a motherly role as she attempts to teach the boys that they don’t really want sex — they want love.

That’s nice, of course, but unfortunately Hughes’ definition has sex going along with it. So two 16-year-old boys finally romance two girls they really care about … by bedding them on the first date. Nice message for today’s youth, right?

“Weird Science” is occasionally quite funny but it’s an extremely up and down experience. You’ll have to see this one at your own risk.

It is rated PG-13 for sex, nudity, profanity, vulgarity and some comic violence.