Strap a bra to your head, Universal is about to make things weird … again.
Superficially, 1985’s Weird Science was like any other crude teen comedy produced during that era. Its basic plot is pretty simple: Two nerds, who’ve never gotten laid, try to create the girl of their dreams using only porno mags, Frankenstein references and Hollywood’s amazingly poor grasp of how computers work. What set Weird Science apart from movies like Teen Wolf Too however, was its surprisingly talented cast, which included Bill Paxton and Mr. Tony Stark himself, Robert Downey Jr. among others. Plus, the film was written and directed by John Hughes, a man whose name became synonymous with classic teen movies throughout the 80s.
What with everything old being new again in Hollywood, Universal Pictures hopes that it can tap into the vein of nostalgia the Internet constantly generates, burns down, then rebuilds with an upcoming Weird Science remake. According to Deadline, this new version is being created as a collaboration between Universal Pictures and Joel Silvers’ Silver Pictures studio. That should be seen as great news, as while Silver has a few large black marks on his Hollywood record – Batman & Robin anyone? – he produced the original Weird Science, and thus should have some solid idea of where this remake should go.
As for that direction, Deadline claims that the new Weird Science will likely be an R-rated, edgy comedy, in the same vein as the recent cinematic 21 Jump Street redux or the endlessly lucrative franchise spawned by The Hangover. So far there’s no word on who the producers have in mind for cast or crew, nor any release window for this film.
So, how worried should we be about this? That largely depends on your age. Many of our readers were negative five years old when Weird Science hit theaters, so there’s likely to be a number of you who’ve never seen the original flick. If your only experience of Weird Science to date came from the USA Network sitcom it spawned in the mid-90s, you’re severely missing out. Seek out Weird Science if you like other John Hughes movies like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off or The Breakfast Club. It lies in that same region of teen comedies that can deftly balance overtly sexual, childish humor with genuine pathos. With Universal hoping to turn the new version into a more edgy adaptation, I worry that the film will lose the elements that made its predecessor a classic. There’s likely no one in Hollywood capable of one-upping Hughes, so the best we can really hope for is an inoffensive comedy with the same basic elements of the original Weird Science and whichever comedian/attractive person duo the casting office has decided would have the most mass market appeal.
That is the real problem with this idea. Hollywood has changed immensely in the nearly 30 years since Weird Science debuted. At this point the system is so focus-tested and efficient that it almost entirely snuffs out the sort of individual creative touches that could potentially elevate a Weird Science remake into something really special. We’ll reserve judgment until this flick hits theaters, but don’t think we’re holding our breath in anticipation.