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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 21.13%
Average: 7.04%
Pretty Bad: 5.63%
Total Crap: 1.41%

4 reviews, 47 user ratings

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Weird Science
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by brianorndorf

"John Hughes and the Teen Boner"
5 stars

Inside the average 15-year-old boy is a furious mechanism of sexuality that is so demanding, it clouds rational thought. In “Weird Science,” John Hughes harnesses that impetuous, erection-heavy urge and channels the tension into a full-fledged cartoon; he thins down his overstuffed baggage of pathos with a screwball comedy that combines titillation, humiliation, and the awe-inspiring, traffic-stopping screen presence of Kelly LeBrock.

Two bullied high school students, Gary (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) are sex-starved losers, wishing for a day when girls would notice them. Finding inspiration from “Frankenstein,” the boys decide one lonely night to create a woman on the synthetic playing field of computer technology, soon upping the ante with bra headgear and voodoo chants. Out of the effort comes Lisa (Kelly LeBrock), a gorgeous older woman who offers Gary and Wyatt the chance to satisfy all their needs. The boys are in shock, but under Lisa’s care, they are instilled with newfound self-confidence, learning the value of honesty from their fantasy object, along with verbal defensive moves to repel bullies (Robert Downey Jr., Robert Rustler) and the torment of Wyatt’s demented older brother, Chet (Bill Paxton).

“Weird Science” is perhaps the most controversial entry in the John Hughes filmography, surpassing even “Curly Sue” for sheer creative randomness. Coming after the sensitive sleeper hit “Breakfast Club,” Hughes took his vision for a joyride, hoping time spent observing horny, clueless teenage boys would recharge some creative batteries.

I wouldn’t defend “Weird Science” in the court of tasteful cinema, but it’s a picture that has always managed to tickle me, generating huge laughs with appealing exhibitions of slapstick and painful teen mortification. Built on a foundation of “anything goes” fantasy filmmaking, “Science” gallops for the giggle gold, using everything Hughes has in his bag of tricks to keep an outlandish story worthy of audience investment and side-splitting reaction.

The actors mug brazenly for the camera and even break the fourth wall to prod the viewer, there’s nudity and assorted bombs of shame zone excitement to push the PG-13 further than expected, and the film isn’t afraid to drop storytelling altogether to simply stand back and watch improvisational sparks fly. “Science” isn’t an efficient viewing experience resembling other Hughes films; it’s loose and daring, silly and harmless. While the other pictures have always harvested a methodical sense of humor, “Science” is a farce, and a willing one at that, taking full advantage of Hughes’s crack timing and deliriously superlative editorial orchestration.

And then there’s Kelly LeBrock. While already established as a top model blessed with ethereal beauty she once begged us not to hate, LeBrock is Hughes’s secret weapon in “Science.” There are few adjectives around to describe the actress’s visual appeal; she’s a flawless creature with miraculous aim to her sex appeal, wielding her billowy lips and disco hair like a goddess. She’s rightly cast as the object of desire here, but even better, she’s a credible, enchanting actress. LeBrock steals the movie, turning up her charm to impossible volumes of delight. Certainly Hughes isn’t interested in creating dimensional female characterizations in “Science” (this is tree house production, no chicks allowed), so LeBrock has to worm her way into the fun, and she’s a joy to watch once locked in full comedienne mode, bettering the film with her blinding beauty and bighearted camera charisma.

You have to hand it to Hughes here. The script calls for the ultimate sexual weapon to exhaustively bewitch Gary and Wyatt and the rest of their graduating class, and LeBrock, circa 1985, is the definitive casting choice. The role is her glass slipper. It’s a shame Steven Seagal karate-chopped her promising career short.

There’s no doubt that the screen favors LeBrock, but the guys make their own special impression as well. Hall and Mitchell-Smith are capable Laurel and Hardy types who accurately sell the teen unease vibe Hughes is aiming for. Hall reaches for the brass ring here with his constant bug-eyed expressions and drunken improv rants, but Mitchell-Smith (who was 15 years-old during production and frankly looks it), makes for a snappy, high-pitched straight man, dutifully following the idiosyncratic instruction from the director to sly comedic peaks that occasionally require the wearing a panties and the aforementioned bras. Hall and Mitchell-Smith are a fluid, believable comedic team, adding the perfect pimply, gawky verisimilitude to a film that frequently ignores its intention time and again in the pursuit of horseplay.

Of course, no discussion of the picture could pass without mentioning Bill Paxton as Chet. A hardass big brother who enjoys blackmailing his sibling, military crew cuts, and greasy pork sandwiches served in dirty ash trays, Chet is the ideal, animated villain. Paxton dives in with everything he’s got here, and his performance brings to “Science” an even larger sensation of inspiring anarchic energy. It plops an immediate smile on my face to consider that, in one year, Paxton went from this berserk performance to Hudson in “Aliens.” The man could do no wrong.

I certainly fault Hughes for the final act, where “Science” tries to bus in a heart in a film that doesn’t require a drip of sentimentality. Going from Gary and Wyatt challenged by a motorcycle gang of “Road Warrior” types at their whirlwind party to softly expressed pearls of girlfriend adoration feels a little stillborn to me no matter how many times I consume this movie. Everything is nicely performed, just clumsily laid in by Hughes, who, after riding this train into the dense forest of screwball liturgy, suddenly wants to locate the rails again for maximum structural articulation. It always rang false to me. Gary and Wyatt deserve love, but it doesn’t have to slam the brakes on the shenanigans.

“Weird Science” is a riotous production, blending sci-fi and technological conceits with an age-old exhibition of inexperienced teenage lust (the boys are faced with Lisa, and all they want to do is shower with her). Surely it’s the least profound film Hughes ever made, but for sheer laughs, it’s one of his strongest efforts. Throw in an infectious Oingo Boingo title tune, LeBrock in the finest fashions the Reagan-era could offer, and intoxicated tales of large-chested, knee-happy ex-girlfriends, and you have yourself one delectable adolescent comedy.

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originally posted: 09/08/08 04:39:24
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User Comments

2/21/17 morris campbell it was funny when i was young 3 stars
4/02/16 David Hollingsworth Classic 80s comedy with actual substance 5 stars
10/11/11 Heather Furmanek A cult classic! 5 stars
1/17/10 Dane Youssef Fine for it's time, but just plain doesn't hold up. TV episodic by today's standards. 3 stars
8/11/09 CTT Really crude, but still memorable stuff 4 stars
2/11/08 karen very funny and entertaining 5 stars
12/21/07 David Cohen Thought it was great as a kid, now I'm not so sure 3 stars
12/06/06 David Pollastrini boring, dull, etc. 2 stars
5/27/06 Sheena 5 stars
11/21/05 Frank Rountree Excellent movie, very funny, great casting! 5 stars
8/12/05 ES Loved this film, still love this film, despite Bill paxton being in it 5 stars
5/21/05 hl a cult classic 5 stars
2/05/05 peter classic 80's flick good fun 5 stars
1/17/05 Jeff Anderson I have two words. BILL PAXTON!!! He alone saves this film in an insane, funny performance. 3 stars
11/04/04 Josh Standlee Best line: "You die, she walks out of here with a severe limp!". 5 stars
7/12/04 trina aguilar it's a whacky combation of a sex pot and 2 nerdy geeks 5 stars
5/10/04 altafur rahman This film takes the hilarity and reality and create a duality. 5 stars
2/07/04 Joe Domico Favorite part...has to be the Bar Scene...Classic 80's...Fats man let me tell you my story. 5 stars
12/10/03 Samuel a pretty funny movie!! 3 stars
9/06/03 scott summer best film ever 5 stars
8/07/03 marc_ian_a Very funny ! (5 stars) :) 5 stars
1/29/03 Pinkline Jones Much funnier than Angela's Ashes 5 stars
9/08/02 AshFan "If you're gonna fart, squeeze cheese!" 4 stars
11/29/01 HM3 "Good mornin' turdbrain" "Why don't you shut up, bitch!" 4 stars
11/23/01 Andrew Carden Hall Is A Teen Idol To Me, but In This He's Just Not Funny. 2 stars
11/22/01 Mike Lyond On Dutch TV tonight. Pretty 80's, pretty bad. :-) By the way, B.Pullman is not B. Paxton! 2 stars
9/04/01 Butterbean Cool as hell! There should be a remake with Elizabeth Hurley 5 stars
8/08/01 Mr. Hat Wouldn't it be COOL to make a woman....make 'er as sexy as you want???!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 4 stars
8/07/01 E-Funk It's all about Chet...Paxton rocks, LeBrock rocks, this movie rocks. 5 stars
8/05/01 Robert Lee Ramey Liked it as much as Lady in Red 5 stars
7/31/01 the scarecrow shut up Andrew Carden, this is a classic 5 stars
4/15/01 Gary GREAT! 5 stars
3/30/01 rrhunter77 Reminds me of BeDazzled with Elizabeth Hurley or viceversa. 5 stars
3/10/01 tttone69@hotmail I wannnnnt Kelly labrock after this movie 5 stars
8/02/00 Bender Hilarious dialogue really makes the film. 4 stars
4/13/00 Rita John Hughes rules. What else is there to say? 5 stars
4/06/00 Tyler Blase Another great that came out of the 80's 5 stars
2/07/00 steve layne Not Hughes' best all around teen movie but it has the best one-liners. 4 stars
4/19/99 SciFi Good flick. Run don't walk to rent/buy it 5 stars
4/11/99 Alonzo ( one of the awesome 80s teen movies. plus it has a classic oinga boinga song 5 stars
4/06/99 Michael Grimm 2 words: Kelly Labrock, 2 more: Thank You 5 stars
11/26/98 Mr.Pink PUH-LEAZE!!!!!!! 2 stars
11/09/98 Lord Of The Dunce A great example of 80's teen angst nerds aagainst the world comedy. DOWNEY JR WITH BIG HAIR 5 stars
10/28/98 Silent Rob 'Why do you always have to fuck with a fantasy?' Just enjoy it! 4 stars
10/19/98 Johny Goofball 80s teen film 4 stars
9/30/98 {{{OZ}}} Fair movvie, but Kelly LeBrock pisses me off. Early Bill Pullman is funny. Disbelief city. 4 stars
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  02-Aug-1985 (PG-13)
  DVD: 01-Nov-2005



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