WEEKEND AT BERNIE’S
(director: Ted Kotcheff; screenwriter: Robert Klane; cinematographer: Francois Protat; editor: Joan E. Chapman; music: Andy Summers; cast: Andrew McCarthy (Larry Wilson), Jonathan Silverman (Richard Parker), Catherine Mary Stewart (Gwen Saunders), Terry Kiser (Bernie Lomax), Don Calfa (Paulie), Catherine Parks (Tina), Eloise Broady (Tawny), Louis Giambalvo (Vito), Ted Kotcheff (Jack Parker,Richard’sDad); Runtime: 97; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producer: Victor Drai; Fox Home Video; 1989)
“A silly uninspired juvenile one-joke film.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A silly uninspired juvenile one-joke film, that manages a few amusing moments before it runs out of material and pads its slight story with repetitive jokes about a stiff no one at a party realizes is dead. Director Ted Kotcheff (“Billy Two Hats”/”Fun With Dick and Jane”/”North Dallas Forty”)aims low for Animal House humor and manages to do that by channeling his tale to yuppies. Writer Robert Klane goes to sleep on it after the black farce premise is executed and from thereon the comedy dries upfaster than one can say The Trouble with Harry.
Two young bumbling low-level Big Apple insurance accountants, the smoothie wise-guy idler Larry Wilson (Andrew McCarthy) and the still living with his parents nerdy tongue-tied whiz kid Richard Parker (Jonathan Silverman), discover someone is cooking the books big time and they alert their slimy playboy boss Bernie Lomax (Terry Kiser). In gratitude he invites them to be house guests at his posh Hamptons beach house for the Labor Day weekend. In reality he doesn’t have any good wishes for the boys as he contacts his mafia partner Vito (Louis Giambalvo) to rub them out, but the don decides to have his hit man Paulie (Don Calfa) rub out Bernie with a lethal injection of cocaine instead because he’s screwing his girl Tina (Catherine Parks).
At the beach house the boys discover that their boss is dead, and fearing they’ll be suspects and have to spend the entire weekend being grilled decide to keep it from the authorities. They have no problem keeping it from party animal Bernie’s sexy bikini-clad bimbos and drunken male friends, who don’t even notice he’s dead as they party at Bernie’s all weekend while the dead man’s slumped over on the sofa. The boys do seemingly a zillion abusive things to the corpse to pretend Bernie’s still alive, which results in mostly unfunny crude sight gags. The nicer of the boys, Richard, takes time out to romance the sweet college student intern at the insurance firm, Gwen (Catherine Mary Stewart), whose folks have a beach house in the Hamptons.
Its funniest moments are when it’s at its most tasteless, as it tries to squeeze out of the limber corpse as many laughs as it possibly can (the corpse manages to upstage the living characters by getting more laughs). Though I found it hard to really dislike, it’s also hard to really like. The funniest gag has hottie mafia gal Tina screw the dead Bernie without noticing he’s a goner and afterwards she tells the boys he has “never been better.”
REVIEWED ON 7/19/2010 GRADE: C+