LeBrock's Lisa is a Teenage Fantasy
When you look back at the 80s teen movie scene there is one name which stands above all others, that of John Hughes who wrote as well as directed this fun comedy from 1985. Whilst "Weird Science" may not be his best 80s teen movie it is one which shows his ability to tap into the teenage mind and present their fantasies in a fun and humorous manner. In the case of "Weird Science" the fantasy is having an amazingly fit woman at your beck and call, but it is also about being popular and confident, something that a lot of teenagers still go through today. This theme really provides the back bone for "Weird Science" and whilst all the chaos which ensues throughout the movie as the boys and Lisa encounter problems provides much humour, the movie remains focused on this theme right up until the climax.
Fed up of lacking confidence with girls and generally being treated like nerds, best friends Gary (Anthony Michael Hall - The Breakfast Club) and Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) set about creating their perfect woman with the aid of Wyatt's' computer, magazines and a Barbie doll. But when there creation miraculously comes to life in the shapely form of Lisa (Kelly LeBrock) they may have got a lot more than they bargained for as she sets about changing their lives forever.
One of the best things for me, being a bit of a movie geek, is "Weird Science" ties in to the great movie theme of Frankenstein's monster, with Gary and Wyatt bringing that scenario up to date with the use of computers to design the perfect woman. Of course this was completely in the realms of fantasy but it allowed for some very funny scenes as you saw lights flicker on fake computer consoles, as well as the funny discussion as to what size a woman's breast should be, as they manipulated an on-screen graphic to gigantic proportions.
This modern day monster, although one heck of a good looking one at that, really just provided the set up for the rest of the movie which saw the characters of Gary and Wyatt grow as Lisa taught them the ropes and to be honest after such a great start "Weird Science" struggles to match it until it reaches the end, which although in retrospect is completely daft, still has me laughing. That is not to say that the film is boring, far from it with humour abundant in every scene, both visual and vocal, it's just after that opening sequence the rest of the movie seems to coast along for a bit too long for my liking.
Without doubt one of the most memorable scenes in "Weird Science" features the introduction of Lisa, as a door explodes open and the then modern day goddess is standing there in underwear and a crop top, which for many young boys propelled actress Kelly LeBrock to fantasy status. With her defined looks and classy English accent everything about her oozed sex appeal in a way I can only compare to when Angelina Jolie hit the screens in skin tight lycra as Lara Croft. But her performance was much more than just an airhead, play thing for the boys and writer John Hughes did a brilliant job of creating a character which was also authoritative without being boring or nasty. Of course even the best of characters can be ruined by a poor performance, but that is not the case with Kelly LeBrock bringing Lisa to life (excuse the pun), which really does make you forget you are watching an actress.
As already mentioned, John Hughes was the in name when it came to the 80s teen movie scene and regularly used young actor Anthony Michael Hall in his movies such as "Sixteen Candles" and it is Anthony Michael Hall alongside Kelly LeBrock who makes "Weird Science" so memorable. From the start he epitomizes the uncool kid but by the end you see a real change in his character, although still remaining a bit nerdy. There are far to many memorable scenes from the shaving foam in the bathroom, to getting drunk in the bar, to pick just one but they all show that despite his young age Hall had a brilliant talent for comedy as well as playing the geek.
Sadly Ilan Mitchell-Smith who plays Wyatt does not fare so well and seems to be over shadowed by Anthony Michael Hall and Kelly LeBrock, which although a shame may have been best as watching Hall and Smith vie for screen dominance would have spoilt the movie. Saying that he does an adequate job and provides a few moments of mainly visual humour. Also making up the cast in early minor roles are Bill Paxton as Wyatt's brother and Robert Downey (before he became Jr.) as a cool school kid.
Of course "Weird Science" is well past its teens and is now in its adult 20s and as such is feeling a little dated, although with all 80s teen movies they have that enjoyment factor of looking back at a fondly remembered era, well for me anyway. Everything from clothing, hairstyles and special effects look so funny now, especially the scene featuring Wyatt hacking into a big computer system, which featured hilarious security blocks like skulls. But despite its ageing, "Weird Science" is still good fun and for those who remember it from the 80s will no doubt find it inspires moments of nostalgic reminiscing.
If there was one criticism I have about "Weird Science", is in the soundtrack with the only memorable piece being the title track "Weird Science" by Oingo Bongo, which I have to admit is strange as just looking at the list of artists and songs which appear in the movie, it features the likes of Van Halen, Kim Wilde, OMD, and Mike Oldfield.
What this all boils down to is that despite its age, I still really like "Weird Science", maybe my opinion is tainted as it was a key movie for me in my formative years, but even so it still has more clout and humour about it than many modern teen movies, which seem to rely heavily on gross out humour rather than comedy which is in sync with the story. In a way I would say "Weird Science" is a mixture of the juvenile fascination with women, such as that which features in "Porkys" but combines it with a decent story of being popular, such as that in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off".