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Weekend at Bernie's (1989)

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Weekend at Bernie's
Weekend at Bernie's
Bernie Lomax would be the perfect host except for one small problem ... He's dead.
Directed By Ted Kotcheff
Written By Robert Klane
Cast Andrew McCarthy, Terry Kiser, Jonathan Silverman
Produced By Victor Drai
Film Editing By Joan E. Chapman
Cinematography By Francois Protat
Music By Andy Summers
Studio

Gladden Entertainment

Country

United States

Language

English

Release Date

July 5, 1989

Runtime

97 Minutes

Rating PG-13
Distributed By

20th Century Fox

Budget $15,000,000
Gross $30,218,387


Overview

Weekend at Bernie's is a 1989 American black comedy film directed by Ted Kotcheff and starring Johnathan Silverman, Andrew McCarthy, and Terry Kiser. It also produced a 1993 sequel, Weekend at Bernie's II.

Plot

Larry and Richard are best friends and two low-level corporate employees at an insurance company until they stumble across an accounting error that is costing their company millions of dollars. Their boss, Bernie Lomax commends them and as a token of his appreciation; invites them to his house at the Hamptons and a weekend that they will never forget.

Unfortunately for Larry and Richard, their keen sightedness has derailed Bernie's embezzlement and money laundering scheme for the Mafia and he needs to eliminate them before they mention it to somebody important. The Mafia however is more interested in eliminating Bernie for his sloppiness in allowing two schmucks to figure out his financial mismanagement; and more importantly because he's been sleeping with Tina, the girlfriend of the Mafia Boss!

While Bernie is busy setting up his alibi and evidence to frame Larry and Richard for the embezzlement scheme, he unaware that he is arranging for his own hit.  Shortly before Larry and Richard arrive at the Hamptons, the Mafia hitman Paulie arrives and injects Bernie with a massive drug overdose and leaves the hapless pair to stumble across Bernie's corpse. Before they can call the police however, a huge crowd of people stumble into Bernie's house and proceed to start the weekend party. To Larry and Richard's amazement, the partygoers are all so boozed or stoned or self-absorbed that none realize that their perfectly gracious host is no longer alive.

Larry immediately decides that Bernie wanted them to have a weekend of leisure, women, and fun and they shouldn’t let the mere fact that he died stop them. Richard is skeptical but when his long time office crush Gwen walks into the house, he can’t pass up the opportunity to talk to her and agrees to postpone (temporarily) calling the police.

Hours later, Larry and Richard have barely been able to get Gwen and the self-invited guests to leave when Bernie's girlfriend, Tina the Mob Boss' Moll shows up in a drunken rage; convinced that Bernie is cheating on her as he never showed up for their romantic rendezvous (as he's sorta been dead). Unable to get a word in edgewise, Larry and Richard let her go find the body believing that she will then call the police. Surprisingly, being a corpse doesn’t seem to impair Bernie’s lovelife as Tina staggers out several hours later in a much better mood than before. 

Unfortunately, Tina’s jealous Mafia boyfriend has had one of his henchmen watching her and reports that Bernie is obviously alive and well, thus forcing Paulie to return to finish his "botched" job. 

The next morning, Richard is finally calling the police when he inadvertently discovers the evidence falsely crafted by Bernie to implicate both him and Larry as the masterminds behind the embezzlement scheme.  Then the pair overhear an accidentally recorded phone call on the answering machine about Bernie arranging things with Paulie the hitman about killing them and Bernie’s admonishment to make sure that he doesn’t do it while Bernie is there.  Realizing that the embezzlement scheme was actually Bernie’s, both of them mistakenly come to the conclusion that Bernie’s corpse is actually their best protection from the unknown hitman—providing that they can keep up the illusion that Bernie is actually still alive! 

Now, Larry and Richard are desperate to escape the Hamptons but comedic mishaps doge their every attempt, not to mention the fact that they keep misplacing their prop (Bernie’s body) which is really confounding Paulie who keeps murdering Bernie only for him to pop back up! 

Finally becoming completely unhinged by the “immortal” Bernie, Paulie shoots him several times in the chest in plain view of Larry, Richard, and Gwen which leaves him with several new witnesses to get rid of.  After barely subduing Paulie, the trio watch as the police cart the hysterical hitman away who continues to insist that Bernie is still alive. Unknown to Larry and Richard, the morgue’s gurney rolls down the beach and dumps Bernie’s body out on the sand behind them...

Cast

  • Andrew McCarthy as Larry Wilson
  • Jonathan Silverman as Richard Parker
  • Terry Kiser as Bernie Lomax
  • Catherine Mary Stewart as Gwen Saunders
  • Don Calfa as Paulie
  • Catherine Parks as Tina
  • Eloise Broady as Tawny
  • Gregory Salata as Marty
  • Louis Giambalvo as Vito
  • Ted Kotcheff as Mr. Parker
  • Margaret Hall as Lomax's Secretary
  • Jason Woliner as Bratty Kid

Production

Reception

Weekend at Bernie's was released on July 5, 1989 in 1,134 theaters nationwide and although facing stiff competition from such blockbuster films such as Batman; Lethal Weapon 2; and Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade; still was able to command a respectable presence in the box office, coming in at 8th place in that opening weekend. Despite receiving relatively low ratings by the critics, Weekend at Bernie's was commercially very successful and has been released numerous times on video tape and most recently on DVD and Blu-Ray as well as spawning a sequel, Weekend at Bernie's II which reunited the primary cast members.

Trivia

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External Links

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