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Drop Dead Fred (1991)

What are friends for?

Directed by:

Ate De Jong

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 103 minutes

UK Certificate: 15


Lizzie (Phoebe Cates) is far too old to have an imaginary friend. In fact, let's not beat about the bush here – she's a grown woman. Unfortunately, she's also wetter than the Pacific, and in the space of the last hour has lost her husband, her car, her purse and her job. She needs a friend, and she needs one real bad.

So step forward shockingly-dressed carrot-top Drop Dead Fred (Rik Mayall), the make-believe buddy she thought had been long since banished to the land of childhood memory. Apart from the fact that he's completely imaginary, Fred's a fairly normal guy – he likes wiping doggie doo on clean white carpets, cutting people's hair while they sleep, cooking with dirt, staging fake burglaries and snot-flicking. Let's face it, who doesn't?

So, like it or not, Fred's back in Lizzie's life to cheer her up – much to the dismay of battleaxe mother Polly (Marsha Mason), long-suffering pal Janie (Carrie Fisher) and philandering good-for-nothing sleazeball husband Charles (Tim Matheson). Ashley Peldon does a great turn as a young Lizzie in the movie's regular jumps into flashback territory, and Ron Eldard is cripplingly nice as her would-be boyfriend. But it's Mayall who's in his anarchic element in a role somewhere between "Bottom" and Johnny Rotten. That description alone should come as warning enough to anyone out there who's a tad easily offended.

"Drop Dead Fred" has been massively slated over the years (hugely unfairly in my humble opinion), and perhaps struggles to decide whether it's aimed at children or adults. Yes, it's at times tasteless, and yes, it's also extremely immature. But it also contains several scenes which are very, very funny – which is more than can be said for the vast majority of no-brain comedies flung at us from every direction these days. I'm just grateful it was made in 1991 – had it come along much later, we probably would have had to put up with Rob Schneider in the title role.

It's Got: A fantastically funny scene involving spaghetti being thrown around a restaurant.

It Needs: A few DVD extras to make it worth the asking price – otherwise you might as well get the VCR ready and wait for it to come up on TV again.

DVD Extras Nothing doing. DVD Extras Rating: 0/10


Beetlejuice, Harvey, Matilda


A noisy, messy, juvenile and at times hilarious comedy.

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