Weekend at Bernie's (1989) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • Two idiots try to pretend that their murdered employer is really alive, leading the hitman to attempt to track him down to finish him off.

  • Two young men are trying to make their way in a corporation. One on charm, the other on hard work. When they go to the president (Bernie) with a serious financial error on a printout, he pretends to be thrilled and invites them to his beach house for the weekend. He actually plans on having them killed. Bernie is also fooling around with the girlfriend of his mafia partner. When the partner has Bernie killed, the boys end up having to pretend Bernie is still alive as the frustrated hit man tries time and time again to complete the job.

  • Richard and Larry are two best friends who discover that someone has been embezzling money from their company. When they inform their boss, Bernie Lomax, he is so apparently pleased that he invites then to his beach house for a weekend of fun and leisure and women. But once they arrive, they discover him dead! Richard wants to do the right thing and inform the authorities as quickly as possible, but Larry is determined to still try and have a weekend of fun and leisure and women.

  • Two friends are invited for a weekend to a luxury island with their boss. The boss gets assassinated and nobody seems to notice, except for the two friends. In order not to become suspects of murder they treat the body as a puppet and make people believe he's still alive. The killer wants to do his job so when he is informed that the stiff is still alive he's got to kill him again, and again, and again ...

  • Richard Parker and Larry Wilson discover evidence of fraud at the insurance company they work for, and their boss, Bernie Lomax, rewards them with a stay at his luxurious island beach house. They arrive to find Bernie dead, and find out that he had been embezzling from the company and had hired a hitman to have them killed, but only after he had left the island. Now to stay alive, Richard and Larry must convince the unknown killer that Bernie is alive also.

  • Larry and Richard, best buddies, work for the company of Bernie Lomax and one fine summer day accidentally find out that someone in the company betrays it and steals money from it. Hoping for promotion the two guys immediately report about this to their boss. Little do they know that it's the boss himself who steals from his own company. Pretending that he is proud of them Bernie invites Larry and Richard to spend the weekend at his splendid vacation house on the beach. Larry and Richard of course agree and while the two are looking forward to a weekend full of parties and girls, Bernie asks a mafia boss and a buddy of his to kill his two employees so that nobody gets to know what they found out. Instead it is Bernie who gets killed and when Larry and Richard finally arrive at their boss's vacation house they find Bernie dead. Not knowing how to deal with the situation, the two friends have the effort to pretend that their boss is still alive, which brings them into comic situations. And then there's still the killer who wants to shoot them, many party guests and of course the police.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Larry Wilson (McCarthy) and Richard Parker (Silverman) are two low-level financial employees at an insurance corporation in New York City. While going over actuarial reports, Richard discovers mismatched payments. Richard and Larry take their findings to the CEO, Bernie Lomax (Terry Kiser), who commends them for discovering insurance fraud and invites them to his Hamptons island beach house for the weekend. Unbeknownst to Larry and Richard, Bernie is behind the fraud. Nervously meeting with his mob partners, Bernie asks to have Larry and Richard killed and arrange it to look like a murder-suicide. However, after Bernie leaves the gangsters decide Bernie has been attracting too much attention with his grabbiness as well as his fooling around with a girlfriend of one of the mobsters, and order that he be killed instead.

    Bernie arrives at the island before Larry and Richard and speaks to the hitman Paulie (Don Calfa) on the phone, planning the murders and establishing an alibi, unaware the conversation is being recorded on Bernie's answering machine. Bernie then plants cash and a fake confession note implicating Larry and Richard in the insurance fraud. Paulie arrives, injects Bernie with a fatal overdose, then plants heroin on him. When Larry and Richard arrive at the beach house, they find their boss's body. Before they can call the police, however, guests arrive for a party that is a regular event at Bernie's house every weekend. To Larry's and Richard's amazement, the guests are all too engrossed in their partying to notice their host is deceased, with Bernie's dark sunglasses and dopey grin from the fatal injection concealing his lifeless state.

    Fearing implication in Bernie's death, Larry proposes he and Richard maintain the illusion that Bernie is still alive, a notion that Richard finds absurd. Only the arrival of Richard's office crush, Gwen Saunders (Catherine Mary Stewart), convinces him to go along with Larry's plan. After the party, Richard and Gwen enjoy a romantic walk on the beach, but Bernie's body, after being carried out on the tide, washes up next to them, prompting Richard to return to the house and get Larry to help him retrieve the corpse.

    Vito's girlfriend Tina arrives at the house, convinced Bernie has been cheating on her. She threatens Larry and Richard with a knife, so they direct her to the bedroom, but she also fails to realize Bernie is dead. At that moment, another man from Vito's gang witnesses the two of them apparently making love. Fooled into thinking Bernie's assassination failed, he notifies Vito, who orders Paulie back to finish the job.

    The next morning, Richard is appalled to discover that Larry is furthering the illusion Bernie is alive by manipulating his corpse's arms and legs. The two bicker about alerting the police until Richard attempts to call the police himself but instead activates the phone message detailing Bernie's plot against them. Unaware of the circumstances of Bernie's death, they mistakenly believe they are still the targets of a mob hit, and decide to use Bernie's corpse as a prop for protection. Paulie, in the meantime, has returned to the island and throttles Bernie's corpse.

    Richard and Larry make various attempts to leave the island, but Bernie's body becomes repeatedly misplaced and recovered in the process. They attempt to board the mainland ferry with Bernie in tow, but the ferry has already departed. Paulie, who was on board, sees what looks like Bernie running with Richard and Larry on the dock, and gets frustrated at the failure of his assassination. An ill-fated attempt to use Bernie's speedboat results in numerous mishaps: Larry pulls away from the dock without first untying the boat, Richard falls overboard, and a tied-up Bernie topples from the boat and smashes into several buoys as he is dragged through the water. Finally, the boat runs out of fuel and Larry and Richard are forced to float back to shore on Bernie's body. Paulie, unfortunately, sees them and assumes that Bernie has somehow survived. Unhinged at his apparent failure to kill Bernie and Bernie's inexplicable "immortality," Paulie returns to the island to finish the deed.

    At the house, Gwen confronts Larry and Richard, who confess that Bernie has been dead since their arrival. At that moment, Paulie suddenly appears and empties a pistol into Bernie's chest, then turns his attention to Larry, Richard and Gwen, but fails to shoot them as he exhausted all his ammunition. Chasing after the trio, who have spilt up in different parts of the house, Paulie corners Larry, who clumsily manages to subdue Paulie with a punch and a phone cord. Richard and Gwen then alert the authorities.

    The police eventually arrive to place Paulie under arrest for first-degree murder, carting him off in a straitjacket as he continues to insist Bernie is still alive. The film ends with Bernie being loaded into an ambulance. However, his gurney rolls away and topples off the boardwalk, dumping him onto the beach right behind Richard, Larry and Gwen, who run away after noticing him. Eventually, a young boy comes along and starts to "play" with Bernie, scooping buckets of sand over his lifeless body.

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