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Weekend at Bernie’s

Released on: 05 Jul 1989 • Rated: PG-13 • Runtime: 97 min

Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Crime

Director: Ted Kotcheff
Writer: Robert Klane
Actors: Andrew McCarthy, Jonathan Silverman, Catherine Mary Stewart

Plot: 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.

Box Office Gross: $30,218,387

Awards: 1 nomination








“Weekend at Bernie’s,” the 1989 comedy that takes ‘playing dead’ to a whole new level, is like a beach party where the guest of honor is, well, a corpse. Directed by Ted Kotcheff and starring Andrew McCarthy and Jonathan Silverman, this film is a dark comedy that turns a morbid situation into a series of laugh-out-loud moments.

Plot Overview

Meet Larry (Andrew McCarthy) and Richard (Jonathan Silverman), two low-level employees who discover their boss, Bernie (Terry Kiser), has been embezzling company money. But before they can confront him, Bernie is murdered, leaving our duo with a dead boss. In a bizarre twist, they find out that they’re safer if Bernie is thought to be alive, leading to a weekend of propping up and puppeteering Bernie’s body at his luxurious beach house, filled with oblivious party-goers.

Character Dynamics

Andrew McCarthy’s Larry is the free-spirited, morally flexible half of the duo, providing much of the film’s impulsive actions and humor. Jonathan Silverman’s Richard is the more anxious and reluctant participant, offering a perfect comedic contrast. Terry Kiser as Bernie, though silent for obvious reasons, delivers a standout performance, becoming the most memorable lifeless character in film history. The dynamic between the living and the dead here is comedy gold.

Cinematography and Visuals

The film’s visuals capture the sunny, carefree vibe of a beachside setting, contrasting hilariously with the dark premise. The cinematography is straightforward, focusing on the comedic antics and physical humor that drive the film.

Comedy and Tone

“Weekend at Bernie’s” is a masterclass in dark comedy, taking a premise that could be straight out of a horror film and turning it into a riotous comedy. The humor comes from the absurdity of the situation and the lengths Larry and Richard go to maintain the illusion that Bernie is still alive. It’s slapstick, it’s morbid, and it’s surprisingly effective.

Soundtrack and Score

The soundtrack is a mix of upbeat 80s tunes that perfectly complement the film’s beach party atmosphere. The music adds to the film’s light-hearted and whimsical tone, making the whole ‘dead guy at a party’ scenario feel like just another wacky weekend adventure.


In conclusion, “Weekend at Bernie’s” is a film that takes a dark concept and turns it into a laugh-a-minute escapade. It’s a testament to the film’s writing and performances that the audience can find themselves rooting for two guys dragging a corpse around a beach house. If you’re in the mood for a comedy that’s a little off the beaten path, and you don’t mind a bit of the macabre with your laughs, then this is the perfect film for a weekend watch. Just maybe don’t take any party-hosting tips from it.

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