Weekend at Bernie's (1989) Poster

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very enjoyable semi-black comedy
billybrown4111 April 2002
Maybe I'm just stupid, but I love this movie. I still remember when it came out and maybe it's just nostalgia because I watched it so many times when I was nine years old, but I still enjoy watching it. It does a pretty good job at catching the look and feel of the late 80s. All the hairstyles and clothing are pretty dated but to me, that's all part of the fun.

It all starts when our guys, Richard and Larry, discover a $2 million insurance fraud scam in their company. When they report it to their boss, Bernie (Terry Kiser) he seems grateful and invites them to his beach house for labor day weekend. As it turns out, Bernie is the one doing the scamming and has hired a mob hitman to take them out. Little does Bernie know, that the mob has decided that Bernie has been a little too careless and they have decided to take him out instead. So, by the time Richard and Larry reach the island, they discover that Bernie is dead from what looks like a drug-overdose. Instead of calling the cops, the less than bright Larry, decides it better to pretend that he didn't die. This will work since all of the island partyers are pretty self-absorbed and clueless. This is where it starts getting funny.

Since the hitman is still on the island, he keeps seeing Bernie, who he thought he killed and keeps re-killing him. It's hilarious, because the boys really don't have a clue that the hitman is even around. Watching them lug a dead corpse around, making him look alive, is one of the highlights. The fact that all of the islanders believe he's alive is even funnier. One of my favorite parts of the movie was Andrew McCarthy's performance as Larry. His slacker part killed me and he has some really funny lines. What ever happened to him? Jonathan Silverman also does a great job with an underwritten part. He plays the ulcer-bound Richard who SO tries to be the moral center of the situation. Terry Kiser is incredible, as always and he plays a dead guy VERY well. Some of the stuff that he has to do, I really can't see anyone else pulling off as well. My favorite scenes came when Bernie was alive. The guy is such an unbelievable jerk, he's actually fun to hate.

Ignore the other comments on here, and go get this one. It's great for some laughs and I STILL get a lot out of it everytime I watch it. A great semi-black comedy. Go pick it up and look for the sequel. I enjoyed it as well, although not quite as much.
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A Funny Film With a Really Great Idea
tfrizzell1 August 2000
"Weekend at Bernie's" is a hilarious film about two losers (Jonathan Silverman and Andrew McCarthy) who stumble onto a plan by some unknown person in their company to steal from the corporation. They tell the boss, Bernie Lomax (Terry Kiser), and it turns out that he is the culprit. Now he wants the two of them killed, but his wandering eyes make him the target of the assassin. Bernie invites the two losers out to his beach-house in the hopes of them being eliminated. However, he is killed instead and when Silverman and McCarthy discover his body they pretend like he is still alive so they can get the great weekend that their late boss promised them. A truly original idea carries this film which is sick in one sense, but amazingly funny in another. Silverman and McCarthy make a surprisingly effective comedy team. However it is Terry Kiser, in one of the most under-rated roles ever seen during the history of the cinema, that makes the film work as well as it can. His uncanny ability to play a stiff corpse for nearly the whole film is truly revolutionary. If there was ever a performance that was overlooked by the Academy, it may be Kiser's role here (do not laugh). Overall the film over-achieves and is well-worth watching at least once. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
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Rose-3530 December 2001
This is one of the funniest films ever made. Sure, it's stupid, and it could never really happen, but it is hilarious. The 3 main actors are great, esp. Terry Kiser (Bernie). The boat scene is the best. Anyone with a sense of humor will love this movie.
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Under rated comedy blast.
actingeric8 August 2000
Weekend at Bernies! Sure it is dumb. But the comedy is so smartly done that it makes it hilarious. I for one laugh my butt off every time I watch this movie. It is one of those movies that cheers you up if you are having a bad day. The duo of McCarthy and Silverman is almost flawless. They are wonderful to watch. Together they almost remind me of classic pairs like Laurel & Hardy or Abbot & Costello. If you just sit back and relax this movie can really tickle your funny bone. It even might make you `drop dead from laughing'. Oh.was that to corny.sorry. But honestly, this is a good film. Give it a try someday when you have nothing else to do or are having a party. (But beware just rent this one. The second one, although it has its moments, doesn't meet up to the original)
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Classic Tragedy of 1980s Materialism
MrBark20 May 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Many will say Weekend at Bernie's is a comedy, but is it really? This review will contain SPOILERS, so discontinue reading if you do not wish to know the story.

The tragic anti-hero is Bernie, a man who seemingly has it all. He has a great NYC apartment, a house at the beach, a boat, a high-priced sports car, women falling at his feet, and a great toupee. He is the symbol of 1980s material success. Any of us would love to be in his position, right?

Perhaps not, for all great tragedies possess a fall from grace. Bernie is successful because of his involvement in the NYC organized crime underground. This combined with his lack of self-control in regards to the Don's girlfriend results in his untimely end.

The tragedy is this: in death, no one notices. Bernie's supposed "friends" continue to use his boat, party at his house, drink his booze, and yet no one realizes he is dead. The woman who indirectly caused his death defiles and molests his corpse without noticing. This is an insult not only to his person, but his sexual prowess as well. It would seem Bernie lacked any real emotional attachments. Instead, he plunged himself into the seedy world of 1980s materialism. It was this world that would not only cause his death, but would also insult his humanity through the implication that his life was irrelevant.

Indeed, Bernie became in death what he could not attain in life, a hero. While dead, Bernie's corpse protects two losers from meeting their own untimely ends at the hands of both the New York mafia and Neptune's realm. In death, Bernie was able to give pleasure to all those around him through his possessions and, in the case of his girlfriend, his body. However philanthropy and necrophilia aside, all of these redeeming acts are meaningless because when those around him find out that he is really dead, some do not believe while others express shock. However the shock is not from losing a dear friend, but from the realization that they were too absorbed in their material lifestyle to take notice of the recently departed.

The tale of Bernie is a tragic one. A man unloved in life and death, let his story guide you. For it is not the material success that brings one happiness and love, rather it is the depth of friendship.
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Inane... but a classic nonetheless
soundscene27 March 2003
Using the word "classic" for this movie may be stretching things a little, but the fact that everybody I know has seen this movie -- and enjoyed it to some extent, is saying something. The concept is ridiculous. Larry (Andrew McCarthy) and Richard (Jonathan Silverman) are invited to their boss, Bernie Lomax's (Terry Kiser), house for the weekend. Bernie winds up getting killed before they get there. The rest of the movie involves the hijinks that occur when Richard and Larry decide to pretend Bernie is still alive so they can enjoy their weekend in paradise. Much of the gags include Bernie's lifeless body being dragged about and posed. What's surprising is that much of the gags actually work. It's a one-joke movie that manages to sustain through the one and a half hours. Pay special attention to the boat scene -- on first viewing my sisters and I were roaring with laughter. Avoid the sequel "Weekend at Bernie's II" like the plague. Rather than inane and funny, the movie is just inane.
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Uproariously funny black comedy.
manxman-128 June 2003
Hilarious, totally off the wall black comedy about two buddies (Andrew McCarthy and Jonathan Silverman) whose boss, Bernie, has been bumped off by gangsters but whose death goes unrecognized the entire weekend by his self-centered beach friends. Utterly tasteless, goofy, ridiculous, wonderfully funny movie with loads of quirky characters. Andrew McCarthy at his most charmingly loopy and Jonathan Silverman terrific as his straight arrow buddy. Great turn by Terry Kiser as Bernie, who will not go away or play dead. Ridiculous situations that are just plain fun to watch. A movie to remember with delight and to enjoy at a repeat viewing.
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A film which contains humour that will never decompose... unlike Bernie!!
Roo-922 May 2001
I first saw this film at about 2:00am one morning and knew that I had to have it. Okay, so it's a one joke movie, but hey it is still incredibly funny. It is a film that encapsulates the eighties and the two lead roles are perfect. The actor who played Bernie's corpse deserves an oscar as although he doesn't say a single word it honestly seems he is dead!! Classic moments include Bernie waterskiing and Bernie making love to his girlfriend (he is of course dead in both scenes.) A must for anyone who wants a good laugh.
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A great "black humour" comedy
knstam4 September 2004
This is a great "black humour" comedy - I gave it 9 out of 10. Judging by the low rating most of the people here are giving it - they "can't handle the truth". Maybe that's because most of the people are constantly brained washed by Hollywood type comedies - sweet and romantic or alternatively rude and full of body parts /smells/sounds/etc. But wait - those comedies also have to "educate" us, always at the end of the movie, with a "deeper message" - the meaning of life, love, god, peace and happiness to all the world, blah, blah, blah... So for those of you that have to have a deeper meaning - did you noticed how many real friends, one that will noticed that he is dead, for instance, Bernie had? Maybe life in the fast lane is not as glamorous as it seems...
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silly fun
mcfly-3123 July 1999
Lotta fun with McCarthy and Silverman as two guys who uncover a scam in the office. They present the info to their boss who's so grateful he invites them to his kick ass house for Labor Day weekend. When they show up they find him dead and decide it would benefit both of them to let the parties go on with everyone thinking Kiser is still kickin'. Contrary to what most say, the core of this film is not the dead body antics. The real attraction here is the rappor between McCarthy and Silverman, who play very well off each other because their characters are such opposites. And occasionally Kiser is thrown into the mix and the three make one of the more odder comdey teams. When they do drag him along, its pretty good stuff, with them trying to fake everyone out that hes walking or waving. And then the battering of the body, which is hard to not laugh at. When Bernies being dragged or bounced or dropped its perfectly silly. Even before the main action starts, theres some good stuff in the beginning dealing with Silvermans love life and McCarthys constant annoyance of him about it. So at almost every point in the film theres usually something to laugh at.
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Die Laughing
latinothunder726 May 2002
This movie is great from start to finish. The characters are well developed and Andrew McCarthy(The Joy Luck Club) and Jonathan Silverman(The Single Guy) play wonderfully off of each other. The Dialogue was better then that of any modern made comedy I have seen. This is a dark comedy but for the family which is something I have never seen done before. This movie is unique and over the head of anyone who didn't like it.
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Klane and Kotcheff succeed where Hitchcock failed
theowinthrop21 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
There is really nothing funny about a dead man and his corpse. Yet occasionally corpses happen to be the subject of humor. There was the amusing film (based on a Robert Louis Stevenson novel) THE WRONG BOX, which was elegantly done, and was quite good. There was Alfred Hitchcock's attempt at a totally funny black comedy regarding hiding a dead body in New England, called THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY. And best of all was this 1989 comedy about a body that takes on a "life" of it's own.

Hitchcock's fans insist THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY is one of his greatest films. It isn't. It demonstrates that Hitchcock's sense of humor was best used as a seasoning. A good example: in FRENZY the trouble the Scotland Yard Inspector had with his wife's "continental" cooking attempts. Every now and then the action leaves the scenes involving the suspect and the real killer and the victims, and we watch the poor Inspector discussing the case with his wife (who makes some good suggestions) while they eat all sorts of concoctions that the poor man loathes. It is not a bad running joke - but it is not the main theme of the film.

The main theme of THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY was that a number of people in a New England town all have had problems with Harry. The joke is how each of these people tries to hide the corpse, alone or with each other. They are helped by the stupidity of the local sheriff.

The problem is that Hitch's originality and inventiveness began to fade in the film. After all, how many times can you show people hiding a body and make it funny? And this was the actual plot - not a sideline to the plot.

In THE WRONG BOX there were other strands (the antics of Michael Caine, Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Peter Sellers, Tony Hancock, Ralph Richardson, and John Mills in different directions - frequently at cross purposes). The fact the body gets mislaid, when it is at the center of the plot of Cook and Moore, concerning a tontine. The corresponding scheme of Mills trying to get rid of his rival Richardson for the tontine. In short the body is an element, but not the center of the joke.

WEEKEND AT BERNIE'S changed this. The corpse is the center and movement of the plot, but screenplay writer Robert Klane and director Ted Kotchoff realized what THE WRONG BOX showed, and what Hitch missed. The key of the use of a dead body as a matter of humor is not hiding the body, but producing it. In THE WRONG BOX it is hidden by various people, for different reasons, but several (Cook and Moore) plan to produce it at a given moment - and can't. In short the body has movement despite being a body. Hitch just kept having the body of Harry dug up and moved to another grave several times - movement it's true, but repetitive movement at best. One exception, but a meaningless one - when Harry's body is put into the bathtub in Shirley MacLaine's house. Why should it be in the tub? Hitch never really gave a reasonable reason for that.

In WEEKEND AT BERNIE'S Klane and Kotchoff solved this by creating the necessity of making people believe the dead Bernie is not dead.

Terry Kaiser is Bernie Lomax, the head of a large company that Andrew McCarthy (as Larry Waters) and Jonathan Silverman (as Richard Parker) work for as accountants. They discover a huge discrepancy in the books, and make the mistake of trusting this information to Bernie. They don't realize he and his partner have been looting the company. Bernie invites them to his home in the Hamptons for the weekend (where he secretly plans to bump them off). What he does not realize is that his partner has decided to bump him off, so Don Calfa (as Pacho, the hit-man) shoots Bernie, and leaves his corpse in the house. He thinks that the two visitors or someone else will report the finding of the dead body.

When Waters and Parker show up, they discover the dead man, and they are aware of his plot against them. Should they call the police? They decide they would be suspected. So the best thing is to make it appear that Bernie is still alive, and that he is having an active, fun-filled weekend with the two fellows. With plenty of people seeing and "speaking" to Bernie during the weekend, they will make sure that when they leave, nobody will suspect them. Of course, as time passes, Pacho can't understand the failure of anyone to discover the murder. He keeps returning and "killing" the living Bernie again and again and again. But Bernie keeps surviving to be seen limboing, swimming, and even water-skiing (my favorite part of the film).

From a comedy about a dead body it becomes a comedy about frustration for the gunman, and of inventiveness by the two young heroes. It also is a smörgåsbord of prat falls, blows to the head, and unnatural natural accidents for actor Terry Kaiser. His performance as the all too lively when dead Bernie is one of the funniest silent comic jobs in recent movies, as his semi-smile and sunglasses make him seem crocked more than dead to everyone dancing on the beach front at his house. It is certainly more interesting than that of the actor who was "Harry" in Hitch's film - who just had to lay on the ground or get carried somewhere. Again, a clever grasp of the possibilities of the situation in reverse, in a well written and directed film like BERNIE'S, beats out the unimaginative use of the corpse as a simple prop even if the director is (otherwise) a master of cinema elsewhere.
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An opposing view, sorta
callahan-211 December 1998
James is right..it's a simple movie...but if you like movies like that, for wacky humour that's too unreal...go see it...first time I saw Bernie hit the channel boys, I was literally ROTFLMAO...I fell off of the couch.
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A movie for a hot day
Ed Cowell24 January 2002
This movie is best viewed in the summer when it's in the high 90s and the air conditioner is on full blast-all the water,sand and surf you need is right here. It's a carefree,breezy film,completely absorbed in its one intention-to make you laugh.
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SuperFly Whitey4 June 2000
Greetings Bernie fans...

Yep. I love this film...and, I love the sequel, too. I guess it helps that I am a big fan of both Andrew McCarthy and Jonathan Silverman...their chemistry throughout the two films is priceless, a great comedy duo. Terry Kiser couldn't be better as Bernie, given a role in which he really doesn't have to do anything...nonetheless, he gives us a hilarious performance. And, you also gotta love Catherine Mary Stewart...she's just great, and Don Calfa is also brilliant. The writer, Robert Klane (he co-wrote "NATIONAL LAMPOON'S EUROPEAN VACATION, previously) creates a wonderful story and atmosphere...and, he eventually helmed the direction on this film's sequel in 1993. Don't listen to that other airhead who reviewed this, with his "set your alarm clock" crap...what the hell does he know, anyway? Yes, this film is "stupid-comedy"...and, that's why the film works. A great summer movie. Recommended dosage: Repetitious viewings, ad nauseum.

Take care!
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An enjoyable comedy
aefrench11 April 2010
Warning: Spoilers
"Weekend at Bernie's" is one of those classic 80's movies that has a fan following. This is an instance where a viewer has to suspend belief when it comes to the plot, but if you can do that, you will find that the movie is funny.

Richard Parker and Larry Wilson are two young employees for an insurance company who discover an embezzlement scheme while reviewing financial data. The duo immediately go to their boss, Bernie Lomax, and inform him of their findings. As a result, Bernie praises their work, and invites Richard and Larry to his beach house for the weekend.

It turns out that Bernie is the one who has conducted the embezzlement, and he wants his gangster friends to get rid of Richard and Larry. A plan is formed to kill them. However, the leader of the gang changes everything after Bernie leaves and informs one of his hit men to take out Bernie instead.

Richard and Larry get to the beach and find their way to Bernie's house. Bernie is there, but has already been killed by the hit-man. Once they realize he is no longer alive, Richard and Larry panic, not sure of what to do. After this, a floating party invades Bernie's house, and the two do all that they can to make Bernie seem he is alive, and at the same time try to figure out what to do after the party leaves the house.

Jonathan Silverman and Andrew McCarthy were perfectly cast as Richard and Larry, respectively. The script is lowbrow, but does have many funny lines. Don Calfa deserves mention as the hit-man who kills Bernie. He plays the role very well and also garners laughs. And of course, Terry Kiser does a great job portraying Bernie, and he creates his share of laughs throughout the film.

"Weekend at Bernie's" is one of those films that can be watched over and over and still make someone laugh. As previously mentioned, you must suspend belief, and if you do that, you can enjoy this movie. I definitely recommend it.
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A fun film, not to be taken seriously
t-harrington2 January 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I'll admit I was very young when I first saw this film. I fear viewing it again would ruin the experience for me, and expect I wouldn't like it half as much. When I first saw it however, I thought it was great. Perhaps for a younger audience, despite the age rating.

The film revolves around two guys who have been invited to their Boss' (Bernie) home after one of them uncovers a problem with the company's finances. It turns out their Bernie is actually stealing from the company and invite them both to his house to have them both killed. However, Bernie is the one who ends up dead.

I'd recommend anyone to see it, easy viewing not to be taking seriously.
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Not an Oscar contender but hilarious none the less...
pessimistic_girl4 August 2002
Weekend at Bernie's may not be an intellectual masterpiece, or even remotely educating, but that doesn't matter! What does matter is that this movie is an absolute scream!

Larry (superbly played by Andrew McCarthy) is my fave but Richard (Jonathan Silverman) also manages to amuse me with his inability to make up his mind. And I have to salute Terry Kiser, the best "dead" body I've ever seen!

Ok it's already been pointed out that it isn't exactly the most realistic plot in the world. I mean, you usually would know if you were sitting next to a rotting, ice-cold corpse. But even so, it's a movie (!), and you don't really question sci-fi flics for being unrealistic do you? So why criticize this one for it.

The movie had a good build-up and showed an impressive flow of interesting characters, i.e. the party goers were a hoot. Also Larry and Richard show an amazing ability to work under pressure and come up with various clever solutions how to keep Bernie on the move.

What you essentially need to see Weekend at Bernie's is an open mind and a very strong sense of humour. Because of all the gags about dead bodies it may be offensive to some, especially those who get hung up on the need for realism. I however am not such a person therefor I continue to watch it and laugh my a$$ off.

My rating: 9½ / 10
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Watch this film
Paul-23410 June 1999
This is probably one of the most absurd films you are ever likely to see and also one of the funniest. If you can't laugh at the sight and sound of a corpse hitting marker bouys then you have no sense of humour. I frequently found myself in tears of laughter and still laugh at it despite repeated viewings. Do yourself a favour: watch this movie, put away the cares of the world and just enjoy yourself.
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Stupid plot with no funny jokes
godfreygordon14 August 2016
I do not know what is supposed to be entertaining about this garbage. Maybe in 1989 a movie farce like this was risqué , sexy and funny. It just goes to show how movies have moved on. There are pretty girls aplenty in nice swimwear and the usual crowd of eighties guys who look like porn stars. One of the main characters was obnoxious and the other boring. Yes, its funny pretending a corpse is alive, but not as the one and only joke all the way through the movie. Morons will howl at the Keystone Cops style capers, but they are not subtle or sophisticated. The movie was directed and edited well and the camera-work divine, but what a predictable yawn.
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Oh man, you're going to love this...
Dr. Gore22 September 2003
Warning: Spoilers

OK. Here's the deal. These two guys want to progress up the corporate ladder right? So they do some investigating on their company's performance. They stumble upon some interesting information and tell their boss Bernie all about it. Bernie is so pleased that he invites them to spend the weekend with him to talk it over. Hence, "Weekend at Bernie's".

Wait! There's more! So our two heroes go out to the Hamptons to hang with Bernie. Here's the funny part. It turns out Bernie is trying to set up the murder of these two guys but instead he gets murdered himself! HAHAHAHA! Wait, wait! Here comes the main joke! When the two guys get there, they don't realize Bernie is dead. So they talk and hang out with him as if he were alive! AH-HAHAHAHAHA! Then a roaming party comes in and no one can comprehend that he's dead! WA-HAHAHAHA!! That's the joke! Bernie is dead! DEAD! It's a weekend with a dead guy! HARHARHAR!! Gotta love it!

If the idea of pretending a dead guy named Bernie is still alive sounds humorous to you, see this movie immediately. It has one joke and it does it very well. There is only dead, misunderstood Bernie. It worked for me.
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Funny and Original
SickkSteve18711 August 2003
I first sat down and watched this film about five years ago and from there I fell in love with it. Maybe it's just the comical originality of the plot that made it stand out among 80's comedies for me. What I truly love about this movie is that it's one where you can sit back and relax without putting any deep concentration into the plot...which can be a breath of fresh air at times. I tend to be a sucker for this "genre" if you will.

The story starts by introducing us to the main characters, Larry (Andrew McCarthy) and Richard, (Jonathon Silverman) two lovable losers who are tired of being the bottom-feeders of their company. But after discovering that an employee is embezzling money, they notify their boss, Bernie Lomax (Terry Kiser). As a debt of gratitude, he invites them to his weekend beach house on Hampton Island. But when they arrive, they discover he's dead. The movie gets more and more hilarious from there on as they spend the weekend pretending that he didn't die.

This flick has so many funny moments that I don't know where to begin. I loved how Larry and Richard tied their shoelaces to Bernie's in order to get him places, and how Larry smashed the champagne bottle over the head of the gardener who he thought was trying to kill him (every man has his breaking point) That's slapstick at it's finest. Also, I found it hysterical how stupid the people on the island were. Not one of them ever had a single clue that Lomax was dead even though two guys were carrying him around 24 hours a day. However, my favourite was the rivalry between the deceased Bernie and paranoid mob-hitman Paulie, who, after enjoying the fact the Bernie was dead numerous times, discovered the next moment he was still alive. Incidentally, it was Bernie who spelled Paulie's downfall in the end. Funny.

This film is not to be taken seriously, and if you take it seriously, you take life too seriously. It's one of my personal favourites, and the only reason it doesn't get a higher rating is because my reviews do not rely solely on entertainment. Funny and original movie, which is pretty famous for an 80's comedy (Anyone remember Mad TV's Weekend At Tupac's?) Recommended to anyone in need of a good laugh.

Final Rating: 6.5/10

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courteney_greene29 April 2001
On the sitcom FRIENDS, Jennifer Aniston (Rachel) was embarassed to admit that "Weekends at Bernie's" was her favorite movie. Well, I think a lot of people are, the jokes are dumb but yet very funny and so is the plot.

Okay, the beginning of the movie was boring (and I do mean *BORING*), but the second half was *one big laugh*; Bernie on the boat, the burglers, death Bernie in the bedroom with one of his girlfriends,... It's typical 80s comedy with typical 80s jokes. The movie reminds me to other 80s movies such as the hit movies "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and "Micki and Maude".
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I must have a strange sense of humour
Anthony-417 March 2000
If I like a comedy everyone else seems to think it isn't funny, this is most certainly the case with this movie. I love it from start to finish, well as soon as Bernie dies that is. The comedy is a mixture of funny one liners and slapstick, I can't see how other people fault this as it has me rolling around in stiches, but I do seem to be in the minority on this one. The only shame about this film is that the follow up is so bland.
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