A feature-length expansion of a series of Saturday Night Live skits, 1992’s Wayne’s World struck it big at the box office upon its release, unexpectedly becoming one of the top 10 money makers of the year. Thus, Wayne’s World 2 was hastily thrown together and released only a year later, but the finished product is not as slapdash or as lazy as most follow-ups of this ilk, which is a miracle in the realm of comedy sequels. The first Wayne’s World was nothing but a succession of silly skits attached to a flimsy narrative framework, and Wayne’s World 2 follows the same type of formula, targeting a new array of pop culture items to gleefully skewer in a clever, witty fashion. It’s not high art, but it’s certainly funny, which is the single most important characteristic when it comes to sketch movies. Although Wayne’s World 2 is hit-and-miss, it hits hard when it works, and maintains enough charm to see it through to the finish line.
Picking up a year after the original movie, Wayne (Mike Myers) and Garth (Dana Carvey) are still hosting their Wayne’s World show on public access television. The two have seldom changed, as they’re still middle-aged man-children, though they have both moved out of their parents’ houses and into an abandoned doll factory. Aspiring to do something worthwhile with his life, Wayne has a vivid dream in which the late Jim Morrison (Michael A. Nickles) informs him that his destiny lies in staging one of the greatest rock concerts in history in his hometown of Aurora, Illinois. Calling the event “Waynestock,” Wayne and Garth set out to make it happen, hoping to book big names and sell thousands of tickets. Helping them is legendary roadie Del Preston (Ralph Brown), who also receives messages from Jim Morrison in his sleep. Meanwhile, Wayne’s girlfriend Cassandra (Tia Carrere) is being courted by an incredibly shady record producer named Bobby (Christopher Walken), leading Wayne to suspect that the two are having an affair.
As with any good sequel, Wayne’s World 2 feels like a natural extension of its forerunner, with the script retaining the type of comedy which defined the first movie: taking the piss out of as many targets as possible with stinging wit. Thus, the flick satirises product placement and has a field day poking fun at all the storytelling conventions of Hollywood motion pictures. There’s even a spoof of foreign chop-sokey martial arts pictures, complete with obvious dubbing and overzealous sound effects. Wayne’s World 2 is exceedingly meta, too – one actor is even replaced mid-scene, and there are several different endings. Sure, such material is derivative of the original Wayne’s World, as is the broad strokes of the plot, but this seems to essentially be the point, though more could’ve been done in a satirical sense. Luckily, the movie works well enough – and delivers enough big laughs – to compensate for any scripting shortcomings.
Produced on a rather sizeable $40 million budget, Wayne’s World 2 is a more polished endeavour, with new director Stephen Surjik handling the comic mayhem with sufficient panache. (The director of the first film, Penelope Spheeris, passed on the sequel as she found the egotistical Myers impossible to work with.) Like its predecessor, although it features antiquated clothing, technology and music, Wayne’s World 2 has not dated too much, as its satire and pop culture piss-takes remain relevant over two decades on. It carries a ’90s cinematic aura, to be sure, but its sharp writing still stands up today. Admittedly, this sequel doesn’t do a great deal to branch out from the first film in any substantial way, but this is Wayne’s World 2, not Citizen Kane 2, so one needs to keep things in perspective. It’s almost refreshing to watch a comedy like this which delivers exactly what the built-in fanbase wants to see, without attempts to be profound.
It’s hard to believe now, but Myers used to be a serious comedic talent back in the 1990s, and this is another demonstration of how good the actor used to be. Slipping back into the role of Wayne with ease, Myers’ comedic timing and delivery is spot-on, scoring plenty of laughs. Carvey is just as good, and he’s given more to do for this instalment. It’s especially amusing to watch Garth find himself in the clutches of a potentially dangerous femme fatale named Honey Horneé, played with scene-stealing elegance by Kim Basinger at the height of her hotness. The Double Indemnity spoofing which stems from this is very amusing indeed. But perhaps the best thing about Wayne’s World 2 is Christopher Walken, who always reliable as the creepy, off-kilter weirdo. It’s a great role for Walken, who plays the role completely straight – there’s a good chance he didn’t even realise he was in a comedy. There are plenty of other random cameos throughout, as well – the likes of Drew Barrymore, Heather Locklear, Charlton Heston, Kevin Pollack, Jay Leno, Rip Taylor, all members of Aerosmith, and others get a look-in to nice effect.
To be sure, Wayne’s World 2 is messy in the narrative department, with subplots that come and go with little impact (Garth’s love interests don’t lead anywhere), and with the film often meandering, lacking the focus of its predecessor. Added to this, the Waynestock payoff is not quite as satisfying as one might hope. These issues likely stem from the rushed writing process, but they are not enough to diminish the worth of this follow-up. Wayne’s World 2 is a flawed but worthy effort, rendering it a satiating companion piece which would play great in a double feature with the original movie. It serves as nice reminder of a time when Mike Myers was actually funny, Dana Carvey was actually acting, and Saturday Night Live features were actually good. How weird all of this stuff seems in 2014.