Movie Review: Weekend at Bernies (1989)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1989 comedy starring Terry Kiser and Andrew McCarthy.

Synopsis: Two lower-level employees at an insurance company discover $2 million in fraud. Hoping for promotions, they report their discovery to their boss, Bernie Lomax, who promptly invites them to spend the holiday weekend at his beach house in the Hamptons. When they arrive, they find their boss dead and, later, learn he was the one stealing from the company and has arranged for them to be murdered. Believing it is their only chance to avoid being killed; they go out of their way to convince everyone Bernie is still alive.

Review

I came across this movie on one of our movie channels a couple weeks ago and, mostly because we hadn’t seen it in a while, recorded the film for a rainy day. My wife and I ended up watching it this past weekend and, while I was unsure whether or not it was going to be a good choice, it ended up being a funnier movie than I remember it.

I think the thing I really like about this movie is the fact they go through all those extreme lengths to keep themselves alive when they really don’t need to. Even though Bernie (Kiser) requested the hit, his mob partners had already decided not to go through with it and, instead, killed him by making it look like he overdosed.  Of course, the fact they don’t know that only makes it funnier, especially when they start getting paranoid about everyone coming to Bernie’s house.

Also adding to this movie was the over-the-top performances of some of Bernie’s house guests. My wife and I were laughing early on in the movie when they were having a party at his house and nobody noticed their guest wasn’t breathing. It was hard to tell if they were just really drunk, really stupid or both.

I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of action and suspense in this film too. As I mentioned, it had been a while since I had seen the movie and, because of that, I didn’t remember all the near-misses they had, ranging from Bernie’s body getting washed away by the tide to the killer returning in an effort to finish what he was paid for (and being forced to wipe out any witnesses in the process). And, I have to admit, it was pretty funny seeing the deceased Bernie helping to save the day.

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Final Opinion

It’s not a movie I would watch on a regular basis. But, it is a fun film that, while a little corny at times, is entertaining to watch. I was glad we took the time to re-watch it this weekend and I would recommend it if you haven’t seen it before.

My Grade: B

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Updated: 07/27/2015, StevenHelmer
 
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