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Weekend At Bernie's (1989)

Hot and Cold

Bernie may be dead, but hes still the life of the party!

Directed by:

Ted Kotcheff

Rating: 6/10

Running Time: 95 minutes

UK Certificate: 15

On DVD

Country: United States

Plenty of actors will go through their entire careers without producing a performance as lively as Terry Kiser's in 'Weekend at Bernie's'. Quite an achievement for ol' Terry, given he spends the vast majority of this movie portraying a corpse.

Kiser plays Bernie Lomax, the big-shot insurance company mogul who invites payroll schmucks Larry Wilson (Andrew McCarthy) and Richard Parker (Jonathan Silverman) to his Hampton Island beach house as thanks for discovering a $2million glitch in the company books. The catch is, Bernie isn't thankful at all – predominantly because he's the scheming swindler responsible for the fraud.

As is customary in such situations, Bernie arranges to have the unsuspecting twosome rubbed out by da mob – only da mob have other ideas and decide to rub out Bernie instead. It's all politics, you see.

No sooner have Larry and Richard arrived at Bernie's tasteless beachside mansion than they discover their host's a goner. So obviously they call the police and go straight home, right? Don't be stupid! Of course not! How could you even contemplate such a thing?

The two chums decide to pretend their boss is still alive, at first just so that they can carry on partying, but later to avoid getting the hit-man treatment themselves. The main joke, of course, is that Bernie's mega-rich beach buddies are so engrossed in their own lifestyles (be it as yuppies, body-builders or bikini babes) that they never suspect for even a moment that something is a-miss (i.e. Bernie's lack of a pulse). And there lies the deep, deep social commentary inherent in 'Weekend At Bernies'. Well, sort of.

This is one of those late 80s comedies to have developed cult classic status despite its' no-brain premise and downright cheap subject matter. What it has going very much in its favour, though it can be hard to believe, is that it is genuinely funny. Although the script itself is nothing special, the all-round situation provides enough laughs to make this an extremely watchable summertime flick.

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It's Got: One seriously life-like dead guy.

It Needs: Not to have been tainted by its own God-awful sequel.

DVD Extras Just a trailer. DVD Extras Rating: 1/10

Alternatives:

The Loved One, The Trouble With Harry, Weekend at Bernies 2

Summary

Black comic slapstick, ideal for when you want to laugh but don't want to think.

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