Filmmaker John Hughes is known for his ability to connect with teenagers through his movies about their lives, and the problems they may face. Examples of some of his earlier work consists of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, The Breakfast Club” and “Sixteen Candles”, among others. But one of the many teen-orientated flicks that he directed stands out distinctively is “Weird Science”. By throwing a dash of science-fiction into the mix alongside his usual bout of adolescent hiijinks, you can be sure that you’re in for quite a series of events.
The movie stars Hughes’ regular muse, Anthony Michael Hall, as Gary, and Ilan Mitchell-Smith as his best friend, Wyatt. As you might expect, Gary and Wyatt are two hopeless geeks who secretly long to have girlfriends. When they’re publicly humiliated by thuggish bullies Max (Robert Rusler) and Ian (a young Robert Downey Junior) as punishment for lusting after their girlfriends, Deb (Suzanne Synder) and Hilly (Judie Aronson), Gary and Wyatt decide that it’s time to take action once and for all.
Desperate for a chance at being popular, Wyatt persuades Gary to create their ideal woman from a computer (as you do), inspired by the movie “Frankenstein”. To their surprise, the plan is actually effective when an alluring woman (Kelly LeBrock) materializes and inquires to the bemused boys “So, what would you little maniacs like to do first”?
After the initial shock has worn off, Gary and Wyatt gift their creation with the name “Lisa”, after a former crush of Gary’s who didn’t reciprocate his feelings. Lisa makes it her mission to show the nerdy teenagers some fun, so treats them to a night on the town, ending with Gary getting completely drunk. She becomes a sort of older sister to them, instead of the object of lust they anticipated.
The trio then encounter Wyatt’s mean-spirited older brother, Chet (Bill Paxton), who takes sadistic pleasure in bulling his younger sibling. However, Lisa has some tricks up her sleeve which just might inspire the boys’ confidence, and encourage them to take risks, as well as serving up a healthy dose of comeuppance for their tormentors…
“Weird Science” isn’t one of Hughes’ best flicks, with the jokes being cruder and the element of fantasy is a prominent element here. However, with intelligent nerds being the protagonists, and the story takes place in the fictional suburb of Shermer in Chicago, a common setting in Hughes’ work. All of the main cast are on form here, with Hall in particular excelling as the most assertive of the geeks, though Ilan Mitchell-Smith has some interesting moments, making it sad that he retired from acting only six years following the movie. As for LeBrock and Paxton, they clearly have fun in their roles, and their best scenes have the two of them together, where Lisa is successfully intimidating Chet into treating Gary and Wyatt with respect.
I give “Weird Science” a total of four out of five stars, as it has funny moments of dorky comedy that teens of 15 and over should appreciate. Among some of of the risky forms of content for younger kids are in the form of swearing, teen drinking ,some shots of female nudity on a computer monitor, and a team of bikers crashing a party. If you enjoyed this title, then check out the 90’s TV series, “Weird Science”, starring model Vanessa Angel as Lisa.