Weekend at Bernie's (1989)
Bernie's Weekend is Best Forgotten
What kind of a host invites you to his house for the weekend and dies on you? - Larry
I'm sure I am not alone when I say I looked back on "Weekend at Bernie's" with fond memories of a fun comedy from my teenage years which appealed to my juvenile tastes. Shame that now having recently re-watched it I have no enthusiasm for it all and wonder why I actually liked it so much in the first place. The trouble is that whilst Andrew McCarthy and Jonathan Silverman are still amusing "Weekend at Bernie's" is quite simply a drawn out one joke comedy which in hindsight verges on the inappropriate with its daft humour around a dead body.
Richard (Jonathan Silverman - Death Becomes Her) and Larry (Andrew McCarthy - Mannequin) are best friends working for the same company who after discovering that it looks like someone is trying to defraud the company are invited to spend the weekend at their bosses, Bernie Lomax (Terry Kiser), beach house in the Hampton's. But when they get there they discover that Bernie is dead and rather than going to the police decide to make out that he is still alive whilst enjoying the weekend in luxury.
The biggest problem when it comes to "Weekend at Bernie's" is that it relies on just the one gag, that of Larry and Richard making others believe that their boss Bernie isn't dead by carrying his body around. All of which leads to numerous set piece gags where the dead Bernie gets dropped, hit or soaked much of which borders, if not is, inappropriate and distinctly daft. Watching it now the whole thing seems quite lame, especially by today's standards for inappropriate humour but I can only imagine how offensive it seemed to some when it was originally released. This reliance on the one gag has the huge knock on effect of making it all very repetitive and distinctly tedious by the umpteenth time the dead Bernie ends up being hit.
An additional supposedly romantic story between Richard and a young office worker called Gwen adds little to improve the movie, working more as either a distraction or padding to make "Weekend at Bernie's" feel more than it really is. It's so contrived that even Jonathan Silverman and Catherine Mary Stewart look embarrassed to be pretending to be in love. Now I'm not opposed to romantic storylines, but in what attempts to be a wacky movie it feels seriously out of place making it even more tedious.
But whilst "Weekend at Bernie's" is completely daft and for the most tedious there is still something a little bit amusing about it. Not the way that Larry & Richard haul Bernie around to stage him looking alive but in the cliche over the top characters such as the mob boss, his wife and the hit man which at least inject some sort of comedy into the proceedings.
What else is there to say about "Weekend at Bernie's" other than for some reason Andrew McCarthy takes to playing Larry the slacker out of the duo like a fish out of water, terribly and Jonathan Silverman is little better as the more serious career minded Richard. Catherine Mary Stewart adds a touch of beauty as love interest Gwen Saunders and Terry Kiser goes for over the top playing Bernie Lomax, which at times pays off. The most entertaining performance actually comes from Don Calfa as Paulie the exasperated hitman who's over the top facial expressions cause much amusement whether intentionally or not.
What this all boils down to is that "Weekend at Bernie's" is a movie best left in the past and in your memories because watching it now shows it up to be a one gag monotony of incredulous set pieces. It really has no redeeming qualities even from the likes of Andrew McCarthy and makes me question not only why I remembered it so fondly in the first place but why was a sequel made.
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