By the time this came out, I was 15, so I was already out of my teen movie phase, and I had never really appreciated the work of John Hughes anyway. But, as an adult, so many people revere this movie that I became interested in watching it, and it was put on the fast track when my friend lent me his copy. I was not more than ten minutes into it before I was thinking to myself: “This is the funniest shit I have ever seen.” Of course, to think that, it would help immeasurably to have been a teenager during the 80s.
The movie begins with two loser kids, Anthony Michael Hall as the caustic, bullying Gary, and the very cute and charming Ilan Mitchell-Smith as Wyatt. They get the idea, from watching some Frankenstein movie on TV, to create a woman from their computer. This involves some—you guessed it—weird science, and one of the chief charms of this film is that it makes NO pretense that any of this makes any sense. This film is also 80s in every possible way, and during this scene we have a floppy disc from back when floppies were still floppy, as well as the charming notion that deducing a password is sort of like a video game where you travel down multiple corridors to many closed doors. And of course, when you get a password wrong, a blinking skull and crossbones appears on screen. OH, and my favorite, that if you scan a PICTURE of Albert Einstein out of an ad in a magazine, you will assimilate all of his knowledge. So after a bunch of lightning and bullshit the Barbie the kids were working with is a full-sized woman ready to shower with her young creators.
Their creation, Lisa, played by Kelly LeBrock [who I cannot think of without thinking of Julie Brown’s rap about her from her parody of Madonna’s “Vogue:” “Kelly LeBrock thinks she’s great—she’s just cold boogers on a paper plate”] decides that they should all go out and party, so she takes them to a black club. Soon the kids are forced to drink, and they end up drunk off their asses, speaking in OFFENSIVE black English [“Last year I was insane for this little 8th grade bitch”] and do this whole coon routine with the blacks! It’s shocking! But please notice that the kids’ voice while drunk sounds EXACTLY like Cartman from South Park… did this film influence them in some way?
So the boys go home and encounter Wyatt’s brother Chet, played by a young Bill Paxton. He’s hilarious in that obnoxious big brother of the 80s way. A young Robert Downey, Jr. is also on hand, playing one of the “cool” kids at school who make fun of Gary and Wyatt. There’s one scene where they dump a cherry slurpee on Gary’s head what I swear is an homage to Carrie—including the bucket dropped on Tommy Ross’ head after the blood dump. There are a bunch of horror movie references here, most notably [after Frankenstein, natch] the inclusion of that guy from The Hills Have Eyes. I don’t know, it’s all so bizarre.
There’s also this whole homo vibe that is more than a little apparent in the affection the boys have for each other, their frequent appearances in their underwear [and squeezing and/or holding their crotches], and the sudden, not entirely explicable appearance of Wyatt in women’s panties, which prompts his brother Chet to remove his towel and stand before his brother nude. Lisa herself is kind of akin to a drag queen that comes in, throws shit and sass around, and demands that everyone go out drinking. By the end you realize that she is a sort of fairy godmother figure, come to inspire the boys to have self-confidence. Okay whatever.
Things fall apart in the third act, but the first hour is so deliciously daft and packed with small touches that are just so hilarious, bizarre, and ludicrous that it really makes it worth it. There is such a sense of childlike stupidity to it all, and that, combined with the over-the-top teen hysteria [“You’re droppin’ loaf and there’s chicks outside!”] of Hall and Mitchell-Smith, that it all just becomes funny as shit. If you haven’t seen it, you’d better get hip.
Yes, it’s hilarious, especially if you find teens inherently funny, but REALLY especially if YOU were a teenager during the 80s.