Well, considering that there were so many different strange film ideas in the 1980s, it was only a matter of time that someone write and produce a film about a dead guy, right? Well, you’re in luck, as two names from the period (Andrew McCarthy, St. Elmo’s Fire and Jonathan Silverman, Brighton Beach Memoirs) fulfill your wish as Weekend at Bernie’s finally comes to DVD.
McCarthy and Silverman play insurance reps with bigger aspirations in a owned by Bernie Lomax (Ter…y Kiser, Manimal), who discover a glitch which may have resulted in $2 million of the company’s money being stolen. As a reward, Bernie invites them to his beach house, but we find out the money that was stolen was done by Bernie himself, and he asks some members of the Mob to kill the two. However in a twist, the mob boss decided to have Bernie killed, in part because of an affair Bernie is having with the boss’ girlfriend. Bernie is killed before McCarthy and Silverman get to the beach house, and once they realize Bernie is dead, the wacky hijinks commence.
If there is a message to be had here, is that if you’re going to kill someone, talk to McCarthy and Silverman about concealing it so you don’t get caught. They do all kinds of things, and yet still manage to conceal rigor mortis and the stench of death to hundreds of beachgoers, and even took Bernie on tour for a sequel four years later. It’s either that, or Kiser (as Bernie) was the toughest guy ever, as he was dragged by a speedboat, hit several buoys, and survived being lost at sea, with no noticeable damage to his body. Of course, I could be accused of thinking logically for such a silly film, but sometimes you have to. Another ‘80s name (Catherine Mary Stewart, The Last Starfighter) makes an appearance as a love interest, but was never in the film enough for me to appreciate her.
The 2.0 Dolby Digital is all up front, there is very little activity in the rear speakers, which is disappointing considering that the soundtrack is primarily ocean noises and ‘80s music. Nevertheless, everything sounds clear.
The DVD is a flipper disc housing separate fullframe and 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen versions on either side of the disc, and the widescreen version looks a little better than anticipated. There appears to be some edge enhancement on the film, but I’d be surprised if any work was done on this disc to begin with.
Just the trailer, and the menus are pretty plain also.
In terms of nostalgia, Weekend at Bernie’s has that in spades, but really has never been something of a cinematic gem, it’s been the rental at Blockbuster when nothing else in around, The DVD release is pretty straightforward and leaves that perception unchanged.
Special Features List