What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this popular '80s comedy -- an early recipient of the new PG-13 rating -- has frequent adolescent sex, booze, and boob and drug jokes. Two main characters are lust-driven and manage to create a beautiful artificial woman as a sex-fantasy plaything -- but they are unsuccessful in their timid efforts to get something started with her and end up treating the bombshell more like a big sister. There are scenes of underage drinking (as a bonding exercise with threatening black males), much swearing (usually the s-word), and cavalier behavior with cars and a gun. Nudity includes a girl who loses all her clothes (in profile) in a windstorm, and a schematic of bare breasts on a PC monitor. Recreational drugs are briefly mentioned.
What's the story?
Gary (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) are sex-starved 15-year-old schoolmates, disliked, dateless, and continually bullied. With Wyatt's parents away for the weekend, Gary sleeps over at Wyatt's suburban-Illinois mansion, where the movie Frankenstein gives them an idea. Using Wyatt's new computer the lonely guys input data and pinup clips that materialize a gorgeous, eroticized woman (Kelly Le Brock) out of thin air. The creation, named Lisa, shows magical powers and attributes rather like a mythical genie, but she also has her own strong will, as she takes the two reluctant nerds on a fun-filled weekend that leaves them stronger, more assertive, and with a genuine couple of human girlfriends.
Is it any good?
Adolescents flocked to it, while critics hated WEIRD SCIENCE,
from writer-director John Hughes, whose 16 Candles,
Pretty in Pink, and The Breakfast Club seemed a relief from many Porky's-imitations that were all teen sex and revenge. What critics forgot: their messiah had contributed to the lowbrow National Lampoon, and Weird Science springs from that -- outlandish, borderline-tasteless gags aimed at teens and tweaking The Establishment (the nasties in a Hughes movie are commonly adults with classical music playing around them).
The pacing here is quick, with most jokes well executed despite the pandering wish-fulfillment, and the good cast takes it over the top agreeably. Teens, the target market, will respond more than mature adults, but when juvenile white geek Anthony Michael Hall drinks in a largely black bar and talks street-jive like an old Chicago bluesman, it's politically incorrect, sure -- but hilarious, even for grownups.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the tone of the comedy. How does this relate to John Hughes' more sensitive dramas of teen angst and empowerment, such as The Breakfast Club and 16 Candles?
Compare-contrast Weird Science with the underrated S1m0ne, a later and realistic comedy about a man facing unexpected travails when he evokes a "perfect" woman via software. How do kids feel about making idealized "avatars" on social-networking sites and interactive online games?
How does this movie compare to modern-day teen sex comedies? Are the jokes here still funny? If the movie was remade, how would it be different now?