Movie Review: Weird Science (1985)
“This Bud’s for YOU!”
Weird Science (1985)
Director: John Hughes
Cast: Anthony Michael Hall, Ilan Mitchell-Smith, Kelly LeBrock
Synopsis: Two school boys create the perfect woman, who turns out to be more of a handful than they expected.
Whatever happened to teenage sex? As far as movies were concerned, it was all over the place in the 1980s. In the States there was Risky Business, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Porky’s, Revenge of the Nerds, Can’t Buy Me Love, The Sure Thing, Screwballs and My Tutor, to name just a few; the Aussies had Puberty Blues, while we British contributed Gregory’s Girl. But, even the cinema’s exploitation of a teen’s robust interest in the opposite (or same) sex couldn’t withstand the double-whammy of AIDS and political correctness. Somewhere along the way, sex stopped being fun; it became fraught with danger, something to approach with caution, like a stray dog or angry spouse. And so, instead of Kelly LeBrock in a cut-off top and panties, today’s teens get cancer victims, Goth vampires, post-apocalyptic heroines and a bewildering array of men in tights. Who said kids today have it all?
John Hughes was the master of the teen comedy back in the 1980s, and Weird Science was his gift to every teenage boy who fantasised about having his very own fully-developed and compliant plaything. Which, let’s face it, was every teenage boy. Hughes wisely chose to have as his protagonists a pair of awkward social misfits, who were nerdy in a way that would appeal to his teenaged target audience, many of whom would, at some time in their young lives, already have known how it felt to be an outcast. Gary Wallace (Anthony Michael Hall – Six Degrees of Separation, The Dark Knight) and Wyatt Donnelly (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) are normal kids who don’t fit in for some undefined reason, and, unlike in real life, we don’t get the impression that they’re friendship exists only because nobody else likes them. Nevertheless, the pair are resigned to the random humiliations heaped upon them by school jocks Max (Robert Rusler) and Ian (a fresh-faced Robert Downey Jr – Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, The Judge), who gain juvenile delight from pulling their victims’ shorts down to their ankles in front of a group of girls, or pouring a slushie on them from a great height in the local mall.
But, although they might be resigned to having no other friends, Gary and Wyatt aren’t so ready to face life without knowing the touch of a female. Believing that no girl would even give them a second glance, they decide to create a woman of their own (as you do). To achieve this, they use Wyatt’s state-of-the-art home computer, which is the cue for a montage sequence featuring a glut of ‘80s high-tech graphics which were futuristically cutting edge thirty years ago, but which now resemble the kind of pixel images reserved for cheap under-5’s computer games. Nevertheless, out of their primitive and cumbersome device pops the luscious big-haired Lisa (Kelly LaBrock), a living doll whose only purpose is to cater for the boys’ every need. You might think this is the cue for handcuffs and custard to be introduced, but the nagging suspicion that Weird Science is going to fail to deliver on its promise, which first arose when LeBrock appeared in skimpy duds instead of tight-fitting flesh, becomes full-blown certainty when the boys accompany her into the shower without even removing their jeans.
There can’t be many horny 15-year-olds that would be as timid as Gary and Wyatt when presented with the fleshy actuality of their adolescent fantasies, especially as LeBrock – who later described Lisa as “Mary Poppins with breasts” – makes such a flawless living doll. Sadly, any teenage boys hoping for a glimpse of LeBrock’s assets at any point in the movie will be sorely disappointed. Which is a shame, really, because her stunning looks are all LeBrock has going for her. When it comes to acting, she simply doesn’t have a clue.
So, with Weird Science, instead of a prolonged sex-fest in which two teenage boys use and abuse a living doll conditioned to carry out their every wish, we get a tame message movie instructing us to be natural if we want people to like us. If the sight of Robert Downey wearing a bra on his head strikes you as hilariously funny, then Weird Science is the movie for you, otherwise if, like me, you first saw it as a teenager, just stay away and preserve your unblemished memories of a movie that seemed so much better back in 1985.
(Reviewed 5th June 2016)