Weekend at Bernie's Movie Review

Two young insurance executives, Larry and Richard (Andrew McCarthy and Jonathan Silverman), discover that someone is stealing millions from their company. Excited about their discovery, they quickly report their findings to the head honcho, Bernie (Terry Kiser). Unfortunately for the executives, Bernie himself is the thief and cannot afford two nincompoops spoiling his riches. Thus, he invites them to spend the weekend at his summer home on an island, where he has also acquired a hit man to kill his two clueless employees.

Unfortunately for Bernie, there's a bigger price on his own head. Before the execs even arrive, somebody kills Bernie. Larry and Richard arrive at his mansion, discover the dead body, and panic. But a weekend party of tipsy bigwigs floats through before they can contact the police. Shockingly, nobody notices Bernie is dead. Richard then concocts a startling idea: "Why don't we just pretend he didn't die? Just for a bit!"

The two executives position Bernie on a couch and allow the countless guests to enjoy the festivity. The happiness ends, however, when Richard and Larry finally find out that someone still wants them dead.

Weekend at Bernie's doesn't really work, partly because it expects a single joke, that nobody realizes Bernie's dead, to carry the whole movie. Quite often that joke provokes good laughs, especially with a genuinely funny running gag involving a frustrated hit man who just can't seem to rid himself of Bernie. Then there's the hilarious situation that evolves when the two execs take Bernie's speedboat for a spin. Let's just say Bernie gets a little damp by the end of the boat ride.

It isn't the jokes that sink Weekend at Bernie's, but the exhausted, predictable love story that fills the space in between funny moments does. Every second of the sappy subplot feels contrived, to the point where the actors involved look uninterested in each other. Romance has no place in a zany, screwball comedy like Weekend at Bernie's; it only slows the movie down. But director Ted Kotcheff never catches on to these obvious hints. His pacing is so slack that he reminds us why they make fast forward buttons on remote controls.

Comments

Weekend at Bernie's Rating

" Weak "

Rating: PG-13, 1989

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