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Non-Review Review: Wayne’s World 2

I have to admit I have a soft spot for Wayne’s World 2. It’s not a patch on the original film, but there’s something so charming about Mike Myers’ creations that it’s hard not to enjoy the film, even if the number of misfiring jokes is compounded by a sense of “been there and done that.” More than that, though, the sequel features any number of original and hilarious moments that have managed to bleed out into wider popular culture. While it’s nowhere near as brilliant as the first film, it’s a still a fairly entertaining watch.

There's no need to feel down...

To a certain extent, the movie suffers from the simple fact that the novelty has worn off. When Wayne’s World made to the cinema, I don’t think most audience members had ever seen anything as smartly self-aware and rapid-fire as this. Pop culture references and surreal off-topic interludes were something new and fresh and exciting in a major American comedy. This time around, however, it doesn’t feel as fresh, or as new.

It hurts that so many of the jokes from the first film have been so needlessly recycled. It’s the same sort of thing that you see with The Hangover 2. Sure, the fact that the original was such a hit indicates that audiences responded to the gags, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessary to repeat them. Stuff like the “multiple endings” joke, or a parody of product placement or even some of the more obvious pop culture references feel a little safe and a little forced. It’s alarming how quickly something new can become something old.

Keepin' it clean...

Which is a shame, because the movie has any number of jokes that stand on their own merits and have become just as famous as the gags from the original film. I mean, there are any number of lines you can repeat from the film and anybody will instantly know the context and the source. I think that’s the sign of an iconic comedy. “I had to beat them to death with their own shoes” is a line that’s impossible to read without a dry and sly British accent.

People recognise the naked Indian instantly, arguably an example of where the parody has become more iconic than any serious interpretation of that old narrative device. I think that’s quite an accomplishment. The Village People scene involving the Indian is a great example of the comedic concept of set-up and pay-off. And I think that Charlton Heston’s cameo might be one of my favourite celebrity cameos in any film, which is remarkable because it’s in the service of a single one-note gag. But it’s a clever and funny one-note gag.

Over the edge...

Watching the film again all these years later, it’s interesting what hindsight brings to the table. For example, I know notice that Mike Myers isn’t so much putting on a “bad Irish accent” as much as a “good Scottish accent” when doing his Leprechaun impression. I wonder if this is where Christopher Walken developed his love of comedy, cast in the role of surreal straight-man essentially filling in for Rob Lowe. I wonder if this explains why the actor has favoured comedic turns in recent years, making Walken in a serious dramatic role a very rare pleasure indeed.

Wayne’s World 2 isn’t quite a comedic classic, and it never manages to measure up to its predecessor. However, the film is served well by its leads, and by any number of clever gags that keep it all pleasantly amusing. The film contributes several iconic pop culture moments, but these are counter-balanced by a somewhat disappointing feeling that we’ve unfortunately seen all this before. Still, it’s not a bad film, or even a majorly disappointing one, it’s just not quite as energetic or impressive as its predecessor.

2 Responses

  1. I never got into this one as much as the original, but it was fun ride nonehteless.

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