Mike Myers, Dana Carvey
Think of them as Hope and Crosby in Levi’s 501 jeans—with the knees torn, of course. Wayne Campbell (Myers) and Garth Algar (Carvey), those two suburban Chicago metalheads who pop up periodically on NBC’s Saturday Night Live, have arrived on the big screen in an amiable movie that is—surprise, surprise!—good dopey fun throughout.
Unlike too many one-joke SNL sketches, this movie zips along with high spirits and even wit, right through the credit-following coda. For those who couldn’t tell post-Cone-heads SNL from a defunct S&L, pals Wayne and Garth live with then-folks, have dead-end jobs (“I have an extensive collection of name tags and hair nets—not what I’d call a career,” Wayne says) and not a whole lot going on upstairs. Downstairs is a different story, though, since it’s from downstairs on Wayne’s basement couch that they broadcast their own cable access show, Wayne’s World.
The movie’s plot, a serviceable framework for its consistently inventive gags and routines (Myers co-wrote the script with SNLers Bonnie and Terry Turner), has an oily TV producer (Rob Lowe) trying to promote the show and its stars to the big time. Will Wayne and Garth sell out? (Hint: As Wayne so eloquently puts it, “Led Zeppelin didn’t write songs everyone liked. They left that to the Bee Gees.”)
Director Penelope (The Boys Next Door) Spheeris proficiently showcases Myers and Carvey, both of whom are appealing performers clearly reveling in the chance to take their characters beyond the limits of a five-minute sketch. Myers has Wayne do an impression of Marilyn Monroe singing “Happy Birthday,” and Carvey has Garth hesitantly wondering, “Did you ever find Bugs Bunny attractive when he’d put on a dress and play a girl bunny?” As the yupped-out sleazeball producer, Lowe may have found his métier, and Tia Carrere acts and sings credibly as Wayne’s girlfriend, a Chinese-born rock singer who admits to learning English “at college and from the Police Academy movies.”
Party on, guys. (PG-13)