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In Defense of "Weekend at Bernie's 2"

We Hate Movies wrapped up a double-parter not long ago about Weekend at Bernie's and its sequel.  Both episodes are great and you should check them out.

Confession time: like Andrew on the show, I also watched Weekend at Bernie's 2 a ridiculous number of times when I was a kid.  But my viewings were usually combined with the prequel.  (You don't just sit down and watch Part II of something without seeing the first chapter, right?  No, no, you've got to block out three hours and do it right.)


And this leads me to a secondary confession for today's post:

I kinda unironically like the sequel.

It's hard to fully explain why.  I'm well aware that it's not a good movie.  The jokes aren't very funny and there's not a lot of energy in many of the performances.  It has a very cheap feel to it, as if you're watching a double-length episode of Charmed.

I think the thing that gets me is its sheer bravado.  It's the very definition of a sequel that shouldn't have been made, and they not only made it, they did it with a spectacular scope and an almost delusional vision of grandeur.

The original Weekend at Bernie's was about a couple of idiots who pretend that the corpse of a wealthy guy is still alive while hanging out at his beach house.  It has a confined setting and a punchy conflict that's wholly (albeit it stupidly) resolved.

Where do you go from there?  How do you get two guys to go on further misadventures with a corpse?

Well, in the case of Weekend at Bernie's 2, you have them take him to the Virgin Islands so they can defraud his bank and steal millions of dollars only for them to discover that he's become partially reanimated following a voodoo spell, but only with the arbitrary stipulation that he's able to hear music.  The level of shenanigans at play is several magnitudes higher.

I can't think of too many sequels where the writer(s) decided to just run with the most ridiculous contrivances they could come up with.  But it's not just that it's ridiculous - they commit to it.  Once they introduce the idea that dead Bernie can dance-walk when he hears music, they take every possible opportunity to milk it.  He gets in a conga line, he dances to filtered radio music in the background, he dances while wearing headphones, he dances in a parade at the end....

It's almost like somebody insulted the writer's idea when he first came up with it, so the director said, "You know what?  Screw that guy.  We're going to do it even more."

It's like the movie hates you because you wanted to see another one, so it decided to be as antagonistic as possible not only to its predecessor, but to your ability to tolerate new plot developments.  The only other sequel I can think of at the moment that has as much contempt for its audience is Gremlins 2: The New Batch, which I also adore.

So I guess what I'm saying is: I'd love it if some high profile franchise today decided to be as cynical and carefree with its sequel.  How about the inevitable Jurassic World follow-up?  Maybe it could be about a dancing velociraptor who escapes Isla Nublar and comes to New York to make it big on Broadway.  And it should be a thing where when he wears a false mustache, nobody realizes he's a dinosaur.  But then a snooty dancer has suspicions, so he works with BD Wong to come up with a blood test that will tell you whether or not somebody's a dinosaur, but the only way to give the test is to shoot it out of a blowpipe, and much hilarity ensues.

"Ya still like movies about dinosaurs now, you fuckers?  I'll give you a dinosaur movie...."

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