Weekend at Bernie's (1989)

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Released 19-Apr-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Scene Selection Animation
Gallery-Photo
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1989
Running Time 94:55 (Case: 99)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Ted Kotcheff
Studio
Distributor

MRA Entertainment
Starring Andrew McCarthy
Jonathan Silverman
Catherine Mary Stewart
Terry Kiser
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Andy Summers


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Pan & Scan English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes, frequently
Annoying Product Placement Yes, mildly
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Comedies are a dime a dozen, and low-brow ones that show people in a state of debauchery were all the rage during the 1980s, but Weekend At Bernie's is one that a lot of people remember for one good reason - Terry Kiser's performance as a corpse! Okay, this film is not going to win any awards other than the Razzies, except maybe the best attempt at stretching a singular joke out for the duration of a feature film. Still, if you're bored and you have a few dollars to spend on a rental disc, then this is one option worth considering.

    The plot, such as it is, revolves around two complete losers - Larry Wilson (Andrew McCarthy) and Richard Parker (Jonathan Silverman), who both work for what appears to be an accounting firm. Both of them are occupied with things like trying to advance up the corporate ladder or charm a woman named Gwen Saunders (Catherine Mary Stewart). However, when their boss, Bernie Lomax (Terry Kiser) invites them to a beach party at his house after they uncover a rather large mistake in the company's accounts, they think they're about to become winners. Unfortunately for them, they have uncovered a plot involving the embezzlement of money from the company's accounts, and the man responsible, Vito (Louis Giambalvo), decides to have Bernie whacked for numerous reasons.

    So when our two losers show up to Bernie's place in order to have a good time, they soon discover Bernie's corpse sitting in front of a desk. However, the fun really begins when they decide to act as though the man is still alive, and nobody seems to notice the difference, including a hit man by the name of Paulie (Don Calfa). I find it hard to believe that a man can lie dead in his home for so long without anyone noticing, but that's an aside which is necessary to enjoy the film.

    Okay, so it's not the most riveting film you'll ever watch, but it is a fairly typical example of the 1980s house party comedy. If you enjoy such films as Police Academy or Short Circuit, then this is worth taking a look at.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    If I could sum this transfer up in one word, it would be "mediocre".

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and it is not 16x9 Enhanced. The loss of picture information from the sides is only occasionally evident, but that's all it takes for me. The original theatrical aspect ratio was 1.85:1.

    This transfer is reasonably sharp, but it isn't going to knock your socks off. It is certainly not the best that DVD Video is capable of, although it is a few steps above VHS. The shadow detail is adequate, although there really isn't much need for it in this film, and I did not detect any serious problems with low-level noise.

    The colours in this film are pretty typical of a house party comedy that is set on a beach, with plenty of bright yellows and blues on display. Sadly, this does not translate all that well into the transfer, with the colours having an overstated, pasty look that verges on the very edge of bleeding a lot of the time.

    MPEG artefacts were not noticed in this transfer. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of constant, and often very distracting, aliasing. The worst example I noticed was at 73:28 on a jetty, but there are also numerous shots during the party where patrons look as if their striped clothing is dancing independently of them! I cannot recall a single sequence that was free of this artefact, even when it should have been - the subtle telecine wobble that was also apparent kept objects which should have no sign of this artefact shimmering quite happily. Film artefacts were also occasionally noticed, being somewhat sizeable in form a lot of the time.

    There are no subtitles at all on this disc, so viewers with hearing impairments are out of luck.

    This disc does not have a second layer on it, yet there were two noticeable pauses at 27:06 and 59:17. Upon further investigation, I noticed the Title number on my player's display changing at these points. Given that there is no timing information on this disc, I can only come to the conclusion that the feature has been spread across multiple titles during authoring for some unfathomable reason.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio transfer is better than the video transfer. This is faint praise, however, as it is still wholly unremarkable.

    There is only one soundtrack on this DVD: the original English dialogue in Dolby Digital 2.0 at 448 kilobits per second.

    The dialogue is pretty clear and easy to understand at all times, and there are no discernable problems with audio sync.

    The music in this film is credited to Andy Summers. Like the audio transfer, it is completely unremarkable.

    The surround channels had the night off during this feature, as did the subwoofer.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The menu is lightly animated and accompanied by Dolby Digital 2.0 audio. It is not 16x9 Enhanced.

Photo Gallery

    A collection of unannotated stills that really just look like screen grabs from the feature.

Theatrical Trailer

    This 1.33:1, Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded (go figure) trailer features plenty of noticeable composite artefacts.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this DVD misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this DVD misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this DVD is the version of choice by virtue of being widescreen instead of pan & scan.

Summary

    Weekend At Bernie's makes no pretence of being anything other than what it is - an amusing diversion for some ninety-odd minutes. It is not a great film by any stretch of the imagination, but it is far better than some other films I could mention that are advertised in such a manner that would have you believe the director has single-handedly cured cancer.

    The video transfer is mediocre.

    The audio transfer is quite plain, although it does have the advantage of clarity.

    The extras are minimal.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Dean McIntosh (Don't talk about my bio. We don't wanna know.)
Thursday, March 28, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 2109, using S-Video output
DisplaySamsung CS-823AMF (80cm). Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationSony STR DE-835
SpeakersYamaha NS-45 Front Speakers, Yamaha NS-90 Rear Speakers, Yamaha NSC-120 Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Active Subwoofer

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