Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 10, 2020)
Movies don’t get more “high concept” than 1989’s Weekend at Bernie’s, a comedy with one of the goofiest plots ever. 20-something pals Richard Parker (Jonathan Silverman) and Larry Wilson (Andrew McCarthy) work together at the same insurance company.
During their duties, they discover signs of embezzlement. They report these actions to their supervisor, Bernie Lomax (Terry Kiser).
Bernie claims to feel delighted by this information, and he invites Richard and Larry to party with him at his deluxe beach house. However, Bernie himself committed the fraud, and he arranges for a hitman to take out Richard and Larry.
Unfortunately for Bernie, crime boss Vito (Louis Giambalvo) has him assassinated instead, and the guys discover this when they arrive. Desperate to stay alive, they use Bernie’s corpse as a puppet to fool the hitman until they can find a way out of this predicament.
One of my friends loves Weekend - a lot. She alludes to it constantly and regards it as a cinematic classic.
Before I got this Blu-ray, I don’t believe I’d seen Weekend since its theatrical run in 1989. I maintain no memories of this experience, so 30-plus years later, I gave it another shot.
My friend is an idiot.
At its heart, Weekend wants to bring an update on the Some Like It Hot model. In both, two hapless pals go to extreme measures to avoid their demise at the hands of mobsters.
Thus end the positive comparisons. Hot exists as a comedic classic, whereas Weekend brings nothing more than cheap, stupid stabs at humor.
Who thought Silverman and McCarthy would create a good comedic team? Neither shows flair for the material, as they just yell and jump and mug for the camera.
None of this works. Silverman and McCarthy may have talent as actors, but as funnymen, they display zero skill or touch.
Not that Lemmon and Curtis – or whatever comic duo you want – could save this inane film. I don’t fault Weekend for the sheer stupidity of its premise – sure, it requires the demolition of disbelief, but I could deal with that.
However, some form of wit and cleverness would go a long way toward redemption. We find literally nothing funny or charming or fresh here, as Weekend substitutes lame jokes and cheap slapstick for actual humor.
Then there’s the utterly tacked on romantic subplot between Richard and Gwen (Catherine Mary Stewart). These moments exist to fill space, as they bring nothing else to the story.
Weekend barely attempts a plot. Instead, it seems ambling and unfocused, as it takes long forays into useless tangents.
Weekend earned a decent audience back in 1989. I can’t figure out why, as it provides an utterly unfunny and idiotic comedy.