Screen Reviews
Weird Science

Weird Science

directed by John Hughes

starring Anthony Michael Hall, Ian Mitchell-Smith, Kelly LeBrock

Arrow Video

Gary (Hall) and Wyatt (Mitchell-Smith) are just ordinary high school geeks. All they think about are computers and sex, and that prompts them to use Computer Aided Design to create perfect woman. Good thing their pre-Windows computer comes with the new 8-bit version of “Hot Babe Designer version 1.1.” Question number one: how well-endowed should she be? Gary wisely points out with zero irony: “Anything bigger than mouthful is a waste.” Wyatt hits the “Compile Babe” button and the floor disappears and after a 5-minute 1983 special effects extravaganza Lisa (LeBrock) appears in all her teen male fantasy glory. But the one trait she’s missing is the desire to do the horizontal boogie. Instead she offers a strong, competent woman who defends her bewildered creators. She’s takes zero poop from anyone. With character and motivation nailed, we set off to meet every 1980’s teen sex comedy trope ever written.

The premise is classic John Hughes, and a great coming of age sci-fi exercise. You want to see the bullies get their comeuppance, and they do get slapped down gently and never with the nastiness they really deserve. Our two coding geniuses learn a few things along the way to adulthood. Most importantly they learn how to marginalize and deflect bullies, how to approach and appeal to women going through the same crisis they are, and how to take their place in a complex world where sex is always an undercurrent. And the film delivers great sight gags, 8-bit technology, and an LA mindset of easily available money. The ’80s zeitgeist of computer’s potential runs wild. Forty years later, we can design sexy and realistic avatars, but none as fun as Lisa. As an ancient comedy goes, this one still delivers laughs and cheers as Gary and Wyatt come to adulthood. In their world, the future is so bright they need to wear shades.

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