Weekend at Bernie's
1989, PG-13, 97 min. Directed by Ted Kotcheff. Starring Andrew McCarthy, Jonathan Silverman, Catherine Mary Stewart, Terry Kiser.
REVIEWED By Warren Spector, Fri., July 14, 1989
At last, a summer comedy with something to offend everyone: Weekend at Bernie's is a laugh riot featuring a dead body, a couple of despicable main characters, a funny hit man, and enough T&A to satisfy even the most jaded Charlie's Angels fan. What more could one want? Well, plenty, actually. This is the kind of film that makes most thinking, feeling, breathing human beings ask, "Why?" Why did they have to waste thousands of feet of good celluloid on this story?" And what is that story? Try this on for size: There are these two jerks who work in a New York insurance film. Richard (Silverman) is a lovable, yet dorky straitlaced, hard-working pathological liar. His buddy Larry (McCarthy) is a cool, smug, leering, worldly-wise, lazy twit. One day, they learn that someone's trying to defraud their company. They tell the boss Bernie Lomax (Kiser) only to find that (surprise!) Bernie's the guy doing the defrauding. To silence our heroes, he invites them to his palatial beach house where he's concocted a scheme to have them killed by a hit man. Unfortunately, the boss' underworld buddies decide to bump off Bernie instead – he's getting too careless, you see. Needless to say, Silverman and McCarthy arrive at the beach house and find their boss quite completely dead. Do they call the cops? No way. It's party time! Rigor mortis? Not an issue. Voiding of various bodily wastes? Who cares? Odors? No one notices. Saturday Night Live could have spun this material into a terrific five-minute sketch: stretched out to feature length, it's just appalling. What we have here is a film with no respect for the laws of nature, the laws of man, or the intelligence of the viewer. At one point, McCarthy, having discovered poor, dead Bernie, says, "This sucks. I am so unhappy." The same might be said by anyone foolish enough to waste money on Weekend at Bernie's.