'Wayne's World' Turns 25: Here's What the Critics Said in 1992

‘Wayne’s World’ (Photo: Everett)
‘Wayne’s World’ (Photo: Everett)

Twenty-five years ago when Mike Myers and Dana Carvey starred in Wayne’s World, the big-screen version of the Saturday Night Live sketch, reviewers hailed it as a brilliant cinematic masterpiece, a Citizen Kane for slackers…NOT! Like some of the best youth movies, the PG-13 comedy alienated many adults — including critics. “A Dim Duo In a Revel Of Stupidity,” read a New York Times headline on the film’s opening day. We rounded up some of the best and worst reviews.


Janet Maslin, New York Times: “H. L. Mencken may have noted that no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people, but not even he could have anticipated this…Wayne and Garth do their best to elevate stupidity to an art form.”

Richard Corliss, Time: “What’s the value in a stretched sketch about two heavy-metal heads…who do a cheap cable-TV show from Wayne’s basement? Well, it’s sorta funny, and most genial: for all their ranking on parents and drooling over hot babes, Wayne and Garth are innocent kids wasting time creatively.”

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: “As a movie, Wayne’s World isn’t much more than an amiable goof, yet it’s carried along by the flaked-out exuberance of its two stars…. Maybe one reason these two characters have had such resonance for the aging Saturday Night Live audience is that, with their gentle, space-cadet zeal, Wayne and Garth are really the last hippies-smart-ass flower children for the information age. They’re hippies without a revolution, and in Wayne’s World, they keep you grinning.”

Variety Staff, Variety: “A colorful but uneventful picture.”

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: “I walked into Wayne’s World expecting a lot of dumb, vulgar comedy, and I got plenty, but I also found what I didn’t expect: a genuinely amusing, sometimes even intelligent, undercurrent…. Some of the biggest laughs in the film could not possibly be described, because their humor depends entirely on the fact that the filmmakers were weird enough to go for them in the first place.”

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: “From time to time, in sequences like Wayne and his pals breaking into a back-seat chorus of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” or Garth doing a passionate doughnut shop pantomime to Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady,” Wayne’s World…does catch comedic fire and become genuinely funny. More often, however, one is conscious of how unimaginatively padded this movie feels, how little the filmmakers have found for Wayne and Garth to do. Even with three different endings, not to mention several musical numbers for Cassandra and even a guest solo for Alice Cooper, there is not nearly enough satisfactory plot and incident to fill the film’s bare bones 95 minutes.”

Desson Howe, Washington Post: “Maybe you have to be hip to the ‘Wayne’s World’ skit on TV’s Saturday Night Live. Maybe you have to be puerile, young-hearted and susceptible to jokes about — there’s no other way to put this — sphincters. Well, Wayne’s World-the-movie is a Roto-Rooter for clogged humor. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll drive home. As Wayne or Garth would say, it’s schweeeet.”

Watch the trailer: