Sony // 1993 // 89 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // November 30th, 2001
Bernie's back...and he's still dead!
Yes, we all remember the lovable, squeezable Bernie Lomax. In the original Weekend at Bernie's, Bernie was a rich businessman who was working in some shady deals. After a getaway to his summer home on the beach, Bernie was accidentally killed and then subsequently used as a prop to be passed off as a living, breathing human being. Har-har. Add Jonathan Silverman (The Odd Couple II) and Andrew McCarthy (St. Elmo's Fire) into the mix and what have you got? A very long hour and a half. However, a lot of you people (you know who you are) actually found this movie funny, and as such Hollywood brought back Bernie for round two with the groan-inducing Weekend at Bernie's II. Grab your margaritas and your swimsuits for Columbia's DVD release of Weekend at Bernie's II: Gags Involving a Dead Man's Crotch and a Palm Tree!
They came. They saw. They watched Bernie die. After getting away from a killer at Bernie's summer home, insurance clerks Larry (McCarthy) and Richard (Silverman) head back to their jobs expecting a raise. Instead, the boys are canned after it's suspected that they were part of a scheme involving a missing $2 million dollars that Bernie stole from the company!
DOES THIS SOUND EXCITING YET??!? No? Well just wait...
Apparently the $2 million is stashed somewhere in the Virgin Islands. Larry and Richard think they possibly have a chance of retrieving this stolen money and saving their jobs. However, other people are after the money as well, including a voodoo priestess and...uh, some other people that didn't seem very important to the story.
So, right now you're saying to yourself, "Hey! What about old Bernie?!? Isn't HE in this movie?" Well, I'm glad you asked. Why, yes he is. Ever the resourceful screenplay, the very dead Bernie Lomax (Terry Kiser) comes back from beyond the grave via a voodoo spell! You see, every time conga music plays Bernie gets up and dances, leading whoever is around to the hidden cash stash!
Okay, I must admit this was a clever idea on how to bring back a character who was truly dead throughout most of the first film. Clever, but ultimately stupid.
Larry and Richard might just find the money and salvage their careers -- but it won't be easy! With an wacky insurance investigator (Barry Bostwick, TV's Spin City) and the high priestess on their trail, these are two goons really are going to need a dead man to tell some tales -- and that dead man is Bernie!!
There are a few films in cinematic history that didn't need a sequel. I'm not talking didn't really need a sequel, I'm talking DIDN'T NEED A SEQUEL. Schindler's List. Titanic. And...Weekend at Bernie's. Fans were clamoring for this sequel about as loudly as I shout for curdled milk at the breakfast table. Who thought that this was a good idea? Okay, I'll admit that the original Weekend at Bernie's wasn't the worst movie ever made. I will shamefully admit that it included a few chuckle inducing moments. But come on -- by the end of the movie the story was finished! Larry and Richard live happily ever after and Bernie goes six feet underground. End of story.
But nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. Someone just HAD to write a second movie (and that someone is the dunder-headed Robert Klane). And what treats does Mr. Klane have in store for us? How about watching Bernie get his crotch slammed into a tree while accidentally caught in a parasail. Not funny enough? Then let's watch McCarthy and Silverman shove him into a tiny suitcase! No? Okay, how about having the rotting Bernie go into a bank and sign for a safety deposit box (with the help of Larry and Richard)! Well, I don't know about you, but I just crapped my shorts laughing so hard.
Weekend at Bernie's II is made up of all those gags and more -- and they just aren't funny. There are only so many times you can watch a dead guy get slammed around like a punching bag before you finally feel like poking your finger all the way up your nose till it hits your brain and knocks you unconscious. I had this feeling while watching Weekend at Bernie's II over and over again.
Andrew McCarthy and Jonathan Silverman look as if they're giving it all they've got to make it through this movie. McCarthy has all the warmth of a frozen burrito. His obnoxious portrayal of Larry is so grating that it almost makes one wish he was KEVIN McCarthy instead (while I don't especially like the idea seeing that particular actor in a bathing suit, I feel it would be a far less punishment than watching Andrew's performance). Silverman plays the typical neurotic nebbish that he's played in every other movie he's been in. Terry Kiser as Bernie is basically a prop. This isn't so much a performance as it is a necrophilia modeling gig. The only standout in the cast (and I use that term as loosely as a 70 year old stripper) is Barry Bostwick, who did make me smile a few times during the movie.
Without any witty writing or funny performances, Weekend at Bernie's II sinks about as fast as...well, Andrew McCarthy's career. The good news is that if Hollywood can produce a sequel to a movie like Weekend at Bernie's II there's always hope for, God willing, Ski Patrol II.
Weekend at Bernie's II is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is a mildly well done transfer with mostly vibrant colors and deep black levels. I did spot some grain and some edge enhancement during a few key scenes. Overall, this is a decent, if only passable, transfer by Columbia. Also included on side B is a 1.33:1 full frame version of the film.
Audio is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround in English. This soundtrack works fine in the confines of the film, and seeing as this isn't an effects heavy film a newly created 5.1 soundtrack wasn't warranted. The dialogue, effects, and upbeat island music were all free and clear of distortion. Also included on this disc are English and Spanish subtitles ("Hola! Mi yago muchos el Bernie Lomax!")
Extra features are about as lively as Bernie's corpse, including theatrical trailers for Weekend at Bernie's II, Cops and Robbersons, and Groundhog Day.
On a lighter note, the inside flap reads that "if you enjoyed this film, we recommend Cops and Robbersons, Monty Python And The Holy Grail, and Groundhog Day." Folks, I have news for you: if you enjoyed this film, then Cops and Robbersons will be far above your comedic intellectual capacity. Go lie down and rest your brain.
You'll be wishing you were dead after sitting though Weekend at Bernie's II. Weekend at Bernie's II isn't the worst movie ever made (that's reserved for Battlefield Earth, which I just like to mention from time to time as the running gag of my writing career). However, it still looks pale in comparison when put next to such highly acclaimed comedies as Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol or Speed Zone. Columbia has done a fair job on this disc, though it's nothing impressive.
Get out the valium and crack open the vodka...it's gonna be a bumpy sequel. Weekend at Bernie's II is found guilty of using the old "harpoon through the dead man's head" gag to queasy excess. Case dismissed!
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Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
Running Time: 89 Minutes
Release Year: 1993
MPAA Rating: Rated PG
* Three Theatrical Trailers