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‘Wayne’s World’ (PG-13)

By Desson Howe
Washington Post Staff Writer
February 14, 1992

Maybe you have to be hip to the "Wayne's World" skit on TV's "Saturday Night Live." Maybe you have to be puerile, young-hearted and susceptible to jokes about -- there's no other way to put this -- sphincters. Well, "Wayne's World"-the-movie is a Roto-Rooter for clogged humor. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll drive home. As Wayne or Garth would say, it's schweeeet.

For the uninitiated, the regular "Wayne's World" sketch is about two longhaired, suburban, rockin' teenagers, Wayne (Mike Myers) and Garth (Dana Carvey), who cohost a public-access cable show in Aurora, Ill., called . . . you know.

The cable show is about anything that occurs to their spacey brains. They might profile the Top 10 "babes" of the year, or even discuss the news. They're adolescents spinning around in the media-barraged white-youth culture, their entire references based on syndicated TV shows of the 1970s, heavy-metal bands and TV commercials.

Not unlike the similar (and less funny) characters Bill & Ted, they have invented their own dude's phrases, expressions and trademark facial contortions. The widest known Wayne 'n' Garthism is their use of "not." As in: " 'Wayne's World' is a truly excellent movie that pursues the deepest impulses of man in a dehumanized world. [Pause.] Not!!!!"

In the movie, Wayne and pal Garth have become quite famous in their neighborhood thanks to the cable show. Along comes exploitative Ben Oliver (Rob Lowe), who signs them into contract bondage with a sleazy operator (Brian Doyle-Murray) who owns the largest video arcade chain in Chicago.

Myers, who created the original characters, has to make a feature film out of a teeny sketch. With cowriters Bonnie and Terry Turner, he fares better than you'd expect. But there are stretch marks -- not to mention guest stars, including Alice Cooper, Meat Loaf, Lara Flynn Boyle and Donna Dixon. The finale, an attempt to lampoon movie endings, is a despair-driven inability to end the movie.

Myers has also let success prematurely go to his head. The romance between his character and lissome rock singer Cassandra (Tia Carrere) would never happen in a million years. In Wayne's dreams maybe.

There are plenty of Wayne-Garth moments to enjoy, however. Whenever Wayne sees Cassandra perform, he goes into a swoony reverie, with Gary Wright's "Dream Weaver" playing over the soundtrack. We're talking one of the most cringe-inducing AM songs of the 1970s. If Cassandra were president, opines Garth, "she'd be BABE-raham Lincoln."

Carvey's Garth is the best thing about this movie. A shy, cross-eyed lad with black spectacles and an enormous mane of hair, his body moves in a tentative, jerky way. When, in a fantasy scene, he picks up the woman of his dreams, he lip-syncs to a raunchy Jimi Hendrix tune ("Foxy Lady"), gyrating toward her with involuntary pelvic thrusts. It's worth the price of admission.

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