Sometime during the blur of happiness that was my vacation my boyfriend and I decided to rent a movie to watch while we drank beers. After perusing “Get Reel” video down the street for a while I picked up “Weekend at Bernie’s”. A movie I’d never seen but had been told was a “classic”. Turns out my boyfriend hadn’t seen it either so we headed home, popped in the DVD and proceeded to watch some of the most embarrassingly bad, retardedly cobbled together 97 minutes of comedy in history.
For the few of you who haven’t seen it I’m sure you’re aware of the finer points of the plot. Homeboy from Pretty in Pink and that guy from that show The Single Guy that ran on NBC for about 2 weeks play two New York City dwelling low-level, overworked and underpaid employees at an insurance company. After discovering a major hole in the company’s bookkeeping and bringing it to the attention of their wealthy tycoon boss Bernie, he invites them to join him at his beach house for the weekend. The next thing you know, they”re on the ferry drinking beers and dancing on their way out to “Hampton Island!”
Good weather, good brews, good friends, the prospect of making big money in the future; everything’s great, right?
Two weasely mob type guys have beaten them to Bernie’s place. See, Bernie was involved in some kinda shady insurance fraud business with the Mob. The very shady business that PIP and TSG uncovered back in the city! We then find out through the most obvious and poorly written dialogue EVER, that that’s why Bernie invited them out to his house in the first place–to rub ’em out!!
Unfortunately for Bernie, he gets rubbed out first. He’ s stabbed in the back in what might be the most anticlimactic, awkwardly-blocked murder scene that has ever been committed to film. The gangster sneaks up on poor hapless Bernie while he’s on the phone in his hideous, mauve and beige, tile-heavy late-80’s-design-styled nightmare of a beach house and it’s bye bye Bernie!
Before there’s time to gasp the leather-sporting mobster hightails it outta there. But only minutes later who should show up but Pretty in Pink and the Single Guy!
Then our two heroes spend a moment drooling over Bernie’s pad, and have a brief encounter with an overly tanned teenager named Tawny who comes over to borrow the keys to Bernie’s boat wearing a thong bikini , tube socks and sneakers. After diffusing their erections and marveling over the awesome weekend they are about to have, they saunter over to where Bernie is slumped in his chair have a ten minute long one-sided conversation, and only after noticing the pool of blood do they realize that dude is dead.
Terrified of being accused of killing Bernie, the two desperately try to convince the other residents of Hampton Island that Bernie is alive and well.
“Why not call the police?” you ask. “Wouldn’t it be prudent to report the murder of your own boss?”
Don’t go searching for logic here, professor, we’re fresh out!
The rest of the plot is inane and not worth description. It can essentially be summed up with the following sentence and I beseech you to commit it to memory in case you ever find yourself in such an unfortunate predicament:
As long as someone is wearing sunglasses, its impossible to tell whether they are dead or alive.
Rigor mortis, rotting flesh, the cold clammy sensations of a corpse are no match for the casually-livin’-it-up-party-guy vibe that sunglasses give off. When the mincing septuagenarian homosexuals who’ve come over for an univinted, impromptu beach party at your glass-walled house find you slumped over, motionless on your couch while dozens of revelers dance, drink and party around you they’ll take one look at your sunglasses and know you’re only taking a brief nap.
When your big, fat, cowboy-alpha-male buddy who is oddly, at the very same party tries to talk you into selling your Ferrari, the sunglasses you wear will communicate that though your mouth is hanging open and your head is dangling awkwardly atop your rapidly stiffening limbs, your silence means only that you drive a hard bargain and will not be taken for fool.
With your sunglasses on, no one will suspect that the reason you are “waterskiing” with all your clothes on and flopping around flat on your face while two relative strangers wildly commandeer your boat is BECAUSE YOU”RE DEAD, rather they will chalk it up to you being “such a kidder!” A personality trait that has been utterly unearned and never previously demonstrated.
But perhaps the finest achievement that sunglasses can boast is the ability to give your fake-Queen’s-accent-having mistress the greatest sexual experience of her life despite the notable handicap of BEING DEAD. Can sunglasses really supply a slowly rotting corpse with this type of virility? Or did rigor mortis just set in at a particularly convenient time for Bernie’s mistress?
I don’t know much disbelief you can suspend, kids, but by the 40 minute mark I was ready for the “he’s-dead-but-they-think-he’s-not-dead!” charade to give way to the rest of the plot.
Spoiler alert: There IS no rest of the plot!!!
Sure there’s some stuff with a “foxy” intern and these other bad mob guys who want PIP and TSG dead, but the movie pretty much coasts on the corpse-doing-wacky-antics bullshit until they abruptly wrap the whole thing up and play some forgotten 80’s Calypso track over the closing credits.
Either way, I now understand the episode of Seinfeld where Elaine, forced to rent an inferior “Gene’s Pick” from the video store, watches Weekend At Bernie’s in utter disgust, finally hurling her remote and shouting “He’s dead, you idiots!”
At one point I jokingly suggested to my boyfriend that perhaps these sunglasses not only blocked UVB rays, but had a special “corpse-reanimating” feature. Well it looks like the creative geniuses over at Sony Pictures thought of that too, cause the sequel to this cinematic gem, the creatively named “Weekend at Bernie’s II” is about a voodoo priestess bringing Bernie back from the dead so he can lead a couple bad guys to some buried treasure. Or something.
There goes another 97 minutes of my life.