Starring: Jonathan Silverman, Andrew McCarthy, Terry Kiser, and Catherine Mary Stewart.
Directed By: Ted Kotcheff
Where I watched It: Amazon
English Audio Description Available?: Yes
Description Provided By: SkyNet
Narrated By: A Terminator
The Plot: Two guys (Silverman/McCarthy) work a job at an insurance company where they discover some fraud. When they report it to their boss, Bernie (Kiser), at first he seems angry, then invites them to his mansion for the weekend as a celebration. Unbeknownst to them, it was his fraud, and he’s hired a hitman. Unbeknownst to Bernie, the hitman has actually been contracted to kill Bernie, which he does, leaving the two guys to party all weekend with a dead body, and find out just how many stupid people there are in this world.
What Works: When i review something older, i try to actually teleport my mind and soul back to that period, instead of just declaring everything old to be stupid because I don’t understand it, it feels too hokey, or whatever. So, remembering the 80’s, I embraced Weekend At Bernie’s for all its profound stupidity.
And my God, this film is dumb. Is it funny? I suppose that depends on the kind of humor you’re looking for. But I remember the posters for this film, and this was really up front about what it was. This was like The Hangover before those guys ever even started acting. These are two regular, if not slightly dumb and naive guys, who get caught up in the shenanigans the movie throws at them. Just that alone would be fine. Dead body concepts have worked in a range of comedies from Very Bad Things to Rough Night, so nothing too weird there.
If you just are Ok knowing that this film does not think it is smart, nor does it ever purport to be, then just watch it. At least you’ll get all those references. This was something when I watched it that I wasn’t 100% sure I had seen before, or if it was one of those movies I saw part of on cable at some point. It’s perfectly fine. I have NO idea how the sequel happened, but that’s another story.
What doesn’t Work: on the other hand, holy fuck everyone in this film is stupid. It takes… longer than it should for our leads to realize Bernie is dead. They move his body, actually lifting it, thinking the reason he’s not responding is because he needs to get the blood circulating. Yeah.
Then, there’s an entire party full of people inside his house, and NO ONe notices he’s dead. When he’s alive, this dude doesn’t shut up, and no one finds it funny that he’s just sitting there, not moving, or talking? People have conversations with him, and they never find any of this odd. A kid buries him in the sand, and thinks nothing of it. This film actually requires everyone to be fundamentally the dumbest people you’ve ever met in order to work.
Meanwhile, the hitman who keeps being haunted by the guy he’s sure he killed, is super convinced Bernie is alive, even though he’s not talking, or yelling about his attempted murder, or anything. no screaming, no anything, and this guy actually loses his mind over the course of the film because he’s so convinced.
It’s just a bit much.
Plus, even for the 80’s, and taking all of that into account, Catherine Mary Stewart is not a good actress. i know this film isn’t Shakespeare, but every scene she’s in is made substantially worse.
Oh, and it bares mentioning that a lady has sex with Bernie’s corpse. So they go there. Because she too, is stupid.
The Blind Perspective: The Terminators are using Amazon to assimilate again. I credit SkyNet because Amazon’s robodescription never has an actual company, writer, or narrator attached. No one actually WANTS to be associated with this product. It’s like how people still work for RJ Reynolds, but no one wants to admit it. They don’t go around bragging on how they make their money, except maybe the ones at the very top.
As far as robodescription goes, i suppose this is one of the better ones, if not just for the fact that it avoids running the Terminator voice on top of actual dialogue, a recurring problem it seems with SkyNet description. They do, however, have a few moments where you are left in the dark. One of the guys fell in a trap door, and I had no idea where he was to fall into that trap door, nor did that scene make sense. It wasn’t very well described.
And honestly, while the description does tell us what Bernie is doing, I almost feel like we need about 200% more Bernie description, because based on what I got, it takes a giant leap of faith to actually believe these people think he’s alive. It’s just a bit much. But if you’re avoiding the Terminators, then you’ll likely avoid this film anyway.
Final Thoughts: Aside from the SkyNet description, i have a fundamental problem with this film being really dumb. but we make dumb films now, and they work, and they’re funny, and they make no sense. So why am i going to crap all over this 80’s (i hate to say it) comedy classic? Of the films that have come out of the 80’s, because of its premise, this film has survived the test of time where others have not. So that’s something, right?
If I time travelled back to this films opening weekend, would I have enjoyed it, not knowing what was coming down the pike? I think I’d enjoy it just enough to warrant this grade.
Final Grade: B-