Weekend at Bernie's(MGM Home Entertainment, 7.12.2005)
Weekend at Bernie's is like the reverse of one of those 3-D Depth pictures where you have to re-focus your eyes to see what's hidden in plain sight. Watching Terry Kiser play dead Bernie Lomax (he also plays him while still alive), as he's dragged around by Andrew McCarthy and Jonathan Silverman for a weekend of fun and sun, either you buy the gimmick or you don't. And a big part of the buying depends on how well you can re-focus your eyes to forget that a living actor is playing a corpse.
If you're able to go along with the premise of no one realizing Bernie's dead -- everyone thinks he's either bombed drunk or indifferently aloof -- then you'll bust a gut. The best set pieces work brilliantly, such as Bernie getting dumped over a railing (on multiple occasions) and Bernie unexpectedly turning up in some ocean surf during a Silverman make-out session.
I could go into the plot's details, but does it really matter? All you need to know is this: McCarthy and Silverman are 1989's equivalent of Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller, respectively. Everything leading up to Bernie dying is window dressing and, as anaemic as the movie is for laughs in its first half, seeing Bernie flip flop around his beach estate more than makes up for it.
Actually, I'm not being entirely fair to the movie as a whole. There are some genuine laughs pre-dead Bernie, namely Lomax as a smug asshole (think of a Mafioso version of Gordon Gekko), Silverman on a painfully awkward date with his dream girl, and McCarthy and Silverman frantically trying to board a ferry, which may be the single funniest moment in the entire movie.
By the film's third act, unfortunately, it's the script that's dead, but pretending to be alive. Everyone's running around frantically, especially McCarthy and Silverman...with Bernie in tow. Hijinks ensue and, before you know it, Bernie's a waterskiing stiff, skipping and flying through the air. By this point, we get it: dead bodies have no agency. You can do whatever you want to them.
This disc has no extras, though how hee-larious would an audio commentary by Bernie be, featuring nothing but dead air? It wouldn't even require any work. Or how about a featurette on how much this movie got McCarthy and Silverman laid back in the summer of '89? Better yet, why not put McCarthy and Silverman in Starsky and Hutch 2? You could re-do the ending to S&H1, but this time, McCarthy and Silverman play Wilson and Stiller -- in full wardrobe -- then all four actors greet the original Starsky and Hutch as they drive up. All you intertextualists out there, prepare to bust a nut. -- Jason Woloski