|Wayne's World 2|
|Written by Abbie Bernstein|
|Monday, 09 July 2001|
"Wayne’s World 2" is one of those movies that’s hard to review at any length, not because there’s anything particularly indescribable about it, good or bad, but because any comments make its elements sound better or worse than they really are. The original "Wayne’s World" is inspired lunacy. This follow-up, while it doesn’t radically change the main characters or the set-up, is simply agreeable, no more and no less.
In "Wayne’s World 2," best friends Garth Campbell (Mike Myers, who originally created the character for "Saturday Night Live") and Garth Elgar (Dana Carvey) are still running their public access cable show in Aurora, IL, although they have finally moved out of their parents’ homes. When Garth is visited by Jim Morrison in a dream, he is inspired to mount Waynestock, a rock festival that is to feature bands so far oblivious to the venture. Garth is also faced with the problem that his beautiful, talented rocker girlfriend Cassandra (Tia Carrere, returning from the first "Wayne’s World") seems to be on the verge of romance with her new record producer (Christopher Walken).
There’s nothing wrong with any of the above, but there’s nothing very inspired about it, either. The references to other films and self-satire seem less plentiful and inspired this time out. A dubbed martial arts parody in Chapter 9 may raise a smile and a lot of the jokes elicit grins, but there are no out-loud laughs. In Chapter 19, an homage to "The Graduate" is a little too on-target – not enough has been changed for the sequence to be funny in its own right. A Chapter 11 riff that seems to encompass both Beatles album covers and a Village People routine works better – it’s breezy and off-the-wall enough to tickle the funny bone.
Sound here is likewise acceptable but with few real highlights. The surround occasionally provides directional effects, with a nightmare rattle and thunderclap that jumps from right main to left rear in Chapter 5 and a strong ringing telephone in the right main in Chapter 7, but there’s not much effort to place the listener anywhere particular during the (usually abbreviated) concert sequences in Chapters 3 and 21. Aerosmith perform "Dude Looks Like a Lady" (Chapter 3) and "Shut Up and Dance" (Chapter 21) with plenty of brio, so fans of band ought to check out their lively onscreen work here.
Since "Wayne’s World 2" has not only the same lead actors – Myers, Carvey, Carrere – but the same producer (Lorne Michaels) and writers (Myers and Bonnie Turner & Terry Turner) as its predecessor, it’s a bit of a mystery as to why this second effort is so comparatively tame. Perhaps they used up most of the gags they were dying to tell in the first film or perhaps original "Wayne’s World" director Penelope Spheeris was such a substantial contributor to the earlier film’s tone that her absence this time out constitutes a loss. Director Stephen Surjik shows himself to be perfectly capable and occasionally lets the action develop its own momentum – a dance between Walken (who has a dance background in real life) and Carrere in Chapter 10 is unexpectedly sexy and sly. Mostly, though, he’s content with an amiable ambience and cheerfully silly but not incisive gags. This level of pleasantness extends to the "making-of" interviews and Surjik’s audio commentary.
There are certainly worse ways to kill 90+ minutes than by watching "Wayne’s World." Ideally, it should be viewed right after the first one, so that you can gently wind down from the original’s manic whimsy rather than crash cold turkey back to reality.