Cinema Obscura

Some films make you a worse person for having watched them. They diminish your already miniscule faith in humanity and donkey punch your very soul. I’m pretty sure Weekend at Bernie’s is one of those. It’s a tale as intelligent as it is sexy: Two insurance execs, responsible Rich (Silverman) and sleazebag party dude Larry (shitty ’80s movie staple McCarthy), uncover an embezzling scam. They bring the evidence to their boss, Bernie (Kiser), and, poorly masking his contempt and annoyance at their questioning, he invites the guys to celebrate Labor Day weekend at his beach house in a phoney display of gratitude. Bernie seems so irritated they caught the mistake, of course, because he’s the embezzler. He fancies himself a Mafioso and orders his mob associates to kill the would-be yuppies. Those wacky Cosa Nostras decide to whack Bernie instead, leaving the body behind for his two employees to discover. Rich, boring and sane, wants to call the cops, but Larry, Hawaiian-shirted fun boy, wants to “pretend he didn’t die, just for a bit” in order to — what else? — throw a kick-ass party in Bernie’s beach house. If this all sounds like an overly elaborate setup for a movie full of dead-body-falling-over jokes, that’s because it is. We’re nearly an hour into this zany comedy about a dead guy’s kick-ass party before one of the big-haired bimbos even gets around to accidentally screwing the corpse, for Pete’s sake. The most offensive aspect of Weekend at Bernie’s, in fact, is its attempt at inoffensiveness. This concept could’ve been a brilliant cult film in the hands of a better, edgier director — George Romero, Sam Raimi, or even Kevin Smith — but Kotcheff (First Blood, the original Fun With Dick and Jane) directs a bland PG-13 comedy, passing up the rigor-mortis and decay gags that virtually write themselves in favor of sitcom-safe slapstick antics and even a lame attempt at a romantic subplot, against all odds making a movie about partying with a dead body mostly forgettable.

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