Weekend at Bernie's 1989 Movie Scene Andrew McCarthy as Larry and Jonathan Silverman as Richard holding the dead body of Terry Kiser as Bernie Lomax, their boss, and pretending he's alive

Weekend at Bernie’s [1989]

Once upon a time, I considered this movie so well-known that I felt it didn’t deserve a recommendation. I mean, it would be kind of pretentious of me to recommend a movie you’ve seen so many times. However, after so many years, I feel like that it’s finally time to remind people about this masterpiece. Weekend at Bernie’s is a uniquely macabre and equally hilarious comedy offering non-stop laughs and a great atmosphere. We will be following two guys who find their boss dead, slap a pair of sunglasses on him, and decide to pretend he’s alive. Something that will generate a lot of bizarre situations.

If you’ve never seen this movie, I can understand just how bonkers this plot sounds. What makes the whole thing even crazier is the fact that this is a PG-13 movie! Weekend at Bernie’s has everything you would want from a black comedy. It’s fast-paced, charming, and gloriously macabre. I mean, you do understand that our two main protagonists will be hanging out with a fresh corpse for an entire weekend? Hence the title, Weekend at Bernie’s. I also love the down-to-earth nature of the story. These two eighties guys are willing to do anything to have fun. And when I say anything, I really mean anything.

In the lead roles, we have Andrew McCarthy and Jonathan Silverman, your two average eighties office guys. However, Terry Kiser as Bernie Lomax, their boss, stole the show here. Just imagine how difficult it is to pull this role off. To get the expression of your face right, the right stiffness of your muscles, a lot of effort went into this. If we look at all three of their characters, they represent the classic corporate structure. We’ve got the asshole boss and two of his workers, one is an introvert, and the other one is a raunchy extrovert. This is a timeless formula that occurs naturally in the real world. And we’ll continue seeing it in countless movies that come after this one.

The casting here is absolutely perfect. I also have to mention my old crush from Night of the Comet and The Last Starfighter, Catherine Mary Stewart. Weekend at Bernie’s is a movie that’s going to transport you to the eighties. As soon as you see the clothing, haircuts, and cars, you’ll feel the urge to light up a cigarette and snort some coke. I wonder if this was intentional as the entire opening sequence is masterfully directed to put you right there, in New York during the late eighties. Ted Kotcheff really knows his stuff and I find it hilarious that he’s also the guy behind one of the most influential movies of that decade, First Blood. 

He actually appears in the movie as Richard’s father wearing just those sleek eighties boxer shorts. Moving on, I don’t want you to think that we’ll be spending all our time in NY because we certainly will not. We’ll be off to a fun weekend in The Hamptons. Yes, the same The Hamptons that were parodied so well in the early 2000s classic White Chicks. So, a weekend getaway in a party capital with loads of other rich douchebags. While the main “two guys, one corpse” concept is the main one in this movie, it also manages to explore a lot of other concepts, characters, and situations. It’s a cynical adventure with an infinite replay value. I’ve been watching this movie for more than 25 years and despite knowing it by heart, I still enjoy it immensely.

I think it’s all down to the quality of the performances. Weekend at Bernie’s relied on the actors and stuntmen to make things look as realistic as possible, using a dummy doll only once. For example, the stunt double playing Mr. Lomax broke several ribs during the scene where he’s dragged across the ocean, bumping into buoys. Good old eighties, you can always count on those juicy stunts. Finally, you should know that there’s a sequel to this classic, Weekend at Bernie’s II from 1993. It features the same cast and almost the same plot but with a voodoo twist.

Director: Ted Kotcheff

Writer: Robert Klane

Cast: Andrew McCarthy, Jonathan Silverman, Terry Kiser, Catherine Mary Stewart, Don Calfa, Eloise DeJoria

Fun Facts: The two Coreys (Corey Haim and Corey Feldman) almost ended up playing the lead roles.


IMDb Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0098627/

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