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Movies & TV - Movie Review - Weekend At Bernie's


Weekend At Bernie's

In One Word




Released By / Year

Artisan / 1989

Movie Review

"Why don't we just pretend he didn't die? Just for a bit!"

Caught in an insurance fraud mixup between their boss (Bernie) and the mob, during what is supposed to be the party weekend of their lives at Bernie's island resort beach house, two guys have to keep up the illusion of a murdered Bernie being alive in order to save themselves from being whacked. This takes them hiking all over the island with their dead boss in tow and finds them in increasingly hilarious situations.

Weekend at Bernie's has been a favorite comedy of mine ever since I watched it back in 1989. I’ve seen it more times than you care to know. I watched it recently, and time does not degenerate this movie’s fun factor at all and that is the sign of a classic.

Every person seems to be in on the joke and I get the impression that everyone is enjoying themselves immensely. This adds to the laid back atmosphere and the feeling of fun. Ok, so the premise is beyond silly, but amazingly it works!

Jonathan Silverman and Andrew McCarthy are both excellent and play off each other really well, one as the "seriously dedicated to his work"-guy and the other, not so much. Terry Kiser manages to put on a performance that earns him the award for playing the best dead guy, ever.

Special kudos to Jonathan Silverman for the way he plays his role totally serious. Just the look on his face in a certain situations gets a laugh. None more than the expression he has when he's pushed into talking to Gwen, the summer intern he has the hots for, and then goes blank as he struggles for something to say.

Pretty much every scene which includes a wide eyed Catherine Mary Stewart as Gwen is memorable, from the "eerrr... My aunt is very sick" in the afortementioned scene, through to "Gwen! ... It's Gwen!", her role in the movie is written for laughs and works extremely well.

There are so many laugh out loud scenes in this movie, like the one where the killer shoots an already dead Bernie and both guys come up with perfectly good excuses for not having witnessed the murder:

Richard: "I didn’t see anything, I was looking at my watch…"
Larry: "I’m blind" (groping around)

Here is a quick run down of some of my favorite moments from the movie, all laugh out loud moments:

· The opening seconds, where a janitor splashes an innocent pedestrian with water by mistake. In context with the opening song playing in the background, the mood is perfectly set for a frivolous summer movie, which doesn't take itself too seriously.

· Shortly after another innocent guy gets it, trying to help some playing kids by opening a fire hydrant. The way the main characters react is very saying of the way they go through the movie. Obviously the water references here are only the beginning.

· The scene in the elevator with Gwen, the summer intern.

· The reaction to "Call me Bernie".

· "Viiito".

· Bernie running into the house to catch the phone and falling over the buckets.

· Bernie floating around in the waves as the tide has taken him.

· Bernie's angry lover falling up the stairs.

· The guys finally calling police, and get hold of a very old operator, who is unable to get hold of a police officer."Want to leave a message?" "Yes… Help!"

· Vacuuming Bernie to get all the sand off him, enhanced by a perfect sound effect.

· As the guys roll Bernie in a small cart down to the ferry, he falls over and hits his head on every board on the dock.

· First time in a boat. Larry acidentally throws the anchor onto a dinner table of a nearby boat.

· Racing along the harbor in a speed boat, Bernie falls off and starts hitting the buoys, again enhanced by a perfect sound effect. This might just be my favorite scene of the movie.

· Killer falling on staircase while chasing the guys, shoots his gun and bangs his head.

· Dead Bernie, somehow kneeing the killer in the groin on the staircase.

· The final jump from the ambulance stretcher to the beach.

In the end, just dial down on any brain activity and enjoy a great summer movie.

Written By Steen
Online: Tuesday, September 17, 2013