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Weekend at Bernie's [Blu-ray]  [US Import]
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Weekend at Bernie's starts when two lowly clerks at an insurance agency uncover a $2 million fraud and report it to their boss, Bernie (Terry Kiser). Unfortunately for them, Bernie is the one behind the fraud and he invites them to his island beach house for the weekend, where he intends to have them killed by his mob contacts. Unfortunately for Bernie, the mob decides to rub him out instead--that's when the clerks, Richard (Jonathan Silverman) and Larry (Andrew McCarthy), arrive and discover Bernie's body. At first they panic and start to call the police but when a party of islanders sweeps in, Richard and Larry also discover that the local residents are so self-absorbed they don't notice that Bernie is dead. So if our heroes can just convince everyone that Bernie is still alive for the weekend, they can have a splendid time. Unfortunately, they also convince the mob hitman, who keeps trying to take Bernie out. Weekend at Bernie's was made at the height of 1980s fashion and features many amusing outfits and hairstyles--often the styles are funnier than the dialogue and the characters are tissue-paper thin. Still, there's no denying that the movie chugs along from bit to bit and never takes itself more seriously than it should, which is a cheerful, disposable piece of fluff. --Bret Fetzer
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Corporate slackers Richard and Larry (Ted Mosby prototype Jonathan Silverman and 80s person Andrew McCarthy) discover a $4,000,000 fraud hidden away in the cooked books. Their attempt to impress their boss Bernie Lomax (a lovably smug Terry Kiser) with their find leads to an invitation to his Hampton Island home for a summer weekend of babes, booze, and boats. The duo don't realize that they've stumbled on Bernie's embezzlement scam and that he intends to have them quietly killed by the Mob (the organized crime connections are never fully detailed or understood). Mob Boss Vito instead arranges for Bernie to be killed, thus washing his hands of him.
Upon arriving at Bernie's lavish home Richard and Larry discover that he ain't quite breathing and most definitely has ceased living. For a variety of reasons they plot to create the illusion that Bernie is still alive, which proves to be easier done than said as his vacuous, drunken neighbors are more interested in drinking his champagne and mooching parties from him than actually being friends.
Despite the dark subject matter Weekend at Bernie's plays it safe for the most part, never pushing past its PG-13 boundaries. The physicality of Kiser's performance is impressive as well as funny. You really do believe he is dead and he's brilliant at keeping a straight face (or a smirking one as he dies during a brief moment of pleasure) while being tossed and thrown around. You wouldn't think that playing a dead body would be hard but Kiser's comic timing and skill really pay off.
The production design and flat photography are what date this film so much. Although Ted Kotcheff had Wake in Fright and First Blood on his resume by this point he brings very little visual flair to the film and it looks very TV-ish. The poor score by Andy Summers never seems to work with any scene (I have a feeling that his friend Stewart Copeland would have done a better job) and some of the soundtrack choices grate on the ears.
What amazes me the most is that about 90% of the dialogue is (bad) ADR. I assume that the sound guy forgot to switch on the mic or something. I can accept it when it comes to dubbing over several F-bombs to keep the movie family-friendly but you'll be surprised at how often the words simply do not match the lips.
Skip the sequel. Enjoy this movie for what it is, though it could have been better if it were a few shades darker. And lookout for a hilarious cameo from the director as Richard's dad/butler.
The Blu-ray looks great in 1.85:1 1080p, the best the film has ever looked on home video by a longshot. The DTS HD-MA 2.0 sound really does make the constant ADR even more obvious. The menu has the nerve to list "extras" (plural) but offers only a single trailer.
There also appears to be many other cuts and edits to this movie on the Blu-ray to make it less raunchy that might irritate some fans. I distinctly remember the film being more adult than this (but I am used to the UK 15-rated version not the US PG-13 version featured on this disc).
U.K. label Network has reissued the film on blu-ray making it ABC coded
so it has the exact same content as the U.S. blu-ray reissue
so here's my comments on the picture & sound quality
the 2:35:1 HD transfer i'd rate 7-8/10 so it's slightly sharper quality than the old dvd version
the sound quality is the same as the old dvd version typical Dolby stereo mix so not a 5.1 master mix
and guess what so is the extras which are the same as on the old dvd, Theatrical trailer & TV spots that's all you get
no new interviews with Andrew McCarthy or John silverman, pretty pathetic effort
so Network have only cleaned up the picture quality with new transfer that's it
so in my opinion not worth spending lot of money just for that, your better to buy the old dvd version
so 1 star for this new blu-ray reissue which is the same content as the U.S. blu-ray so 1 star for both versions
When they inform their boss, Bernie Lomax, he is so apparently pleased that he invites then to his beach house for a weekend of fun and leisure and women.
But once they arrive, they discover him dead! Richard wants to do the right thing and inform the authorities as quickly as possible, but Larry is determined to still try and have a weekend of fun and leisure and women.....
First things first, if you don't like the sound of two men walking around with a dead body, making it do admittedly stupid, but very funny things, steer well clear.
But if you can swallow your pride, and admit to the fact that you really want to see this, or have seen it just for the fact, that whenever the titular character falls, or gets 'hurt' in any way, it's a funny movie from start to finish.
A farce on many levels, the film works because it's just so bright and sparky.
The two leads are great, Silverman playing the straight guy, McCarthey playing the party animal, but both characters are very likable.
It's just one of those movies that puts a big grin on your face, forgettable the minute its over, but still a lot of fun.
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