Reanimation Domination

Did you know that my wife has a rather sadistic streak, in that she forces me to watch terrible movies? As of late, she’s made me sit through Mannequin and both Weekend at Bernie’s films. I knew about the basic ideas behind these, but hadn’t actually seen any of them. And if anything, they were even worse than I would have thought.

Mannequin stars Andrew McCarthy as a self-styled artist who can’t hold down a job. The only thing he does right (and even this is questionable) is to make a mannequin that’s a fit vessel for the spirit of an Egyptian princess played by B-movie actress Kim Cattrall, back before her Sex and the City days. Yeah, it’s kind of a Pygmalion thing, as driven home by the fact that Mannequin Princess Kim immediately falls in love with her vessel’s creator. See, I think that might be even harder to buy than the idea of a statue coming to life. I’d probably make a statue, and it would come to life and want nothing to do with me. Come to think of it, if you’re the creator, doesn’t that kind of make you the parent? Well, I guess that’s not the case if the animating spirit is that of a long-dead princess, but still. The only interesting thing about this movie is Meshach Taylor’s role as a really flamboyant gay guy. Oh, and you’ll never guess what kind of character James Spader plays! If you guessed “a bad guy,” congratulations! You aced the basic James Spader quiz!

I’m sure you know about Weekend at Bernie’s, but just in case you needed a refresher, it’s about two working schlubs (one played by Andrew McCarthy, who apparently had a monopoly on bad eighties movies) who stumble upon an embezzlement plot. Their boss Bernie Lomax, who’s actually the one behind the plot, invites them over to his house in the Hamptons to have them whacked, because apparently there’s no law out there. Or maybe the cops are just too busy keeping tabs on Bill O’Reilly’s wife. Anyway, Bernie’s mob connections think he’s too greedy (not to mention sleeping with the one guy’s girlfriend), and kill him instead. The really stupid twist is that no one knows he’s dead. Apparently his body isn’t decomposing, evacuating its bowels, or any of the other things dead bodies usually do. And really, that’s about it. Just to prove that there’s always somewhere lower for filmmakers to go, however, they also made a sequel. Bernie’s death is established by the end of the first movie, so you wouldn’t think they’d be able to squeeze anything more out of the premise, right? That’s where you’re underestimating just how much the makers of bad movies will scrape from the bottom of the barrel. And when they’re done with that, they scrape off the bottom itself, and that’s where Weekend at Bernie’s II comes in.

It turns out that Bernie had hidden a load of cash in the U.S. Virgin Islands (why there, I have no clue; you’d think he would have gone outside the country to bury his ill-gotten gains), and some voodoo priestess is trying to help one of the mob guys from the first movie to find it by reanimating Bernie’s corpse. Except the two guys she sends to New York to perform the spell don’t get it quite right, and the corpse can only move when music is playing. As if this isn’t enough to stomp on any shred of willing suspension of disbelief, Bernie’s body can also walk on the bottom of the ocean, powered by headphones that somehow work under water. As for the two guys from the first movie, here they’re no longer just two idiots caught up in circumstances beyond their control, but rather two idiots who quite intentionally hatch criminal schemes. I’m somewhat convinced they only made this film to make the first one look decent in comparison.

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