WEEKEND REVIEWS : Movie : 'Bernie's II': A Relentless Corpse

TIMES STAFF WRITER

"Weekend at Bernie's II" (citywide) picks up the day after the 1989 original left off--and that's just the first of the problems with this misfired comedy, the kind of movie that give sequels a bad name. Its filmmakers seem to assume that everyone has seen the first film and, four years later, remember its every detail. Without a recap, even those of us who saw it are likely to be confused and stay in that state, since the sequel is as incoherent as it is uninspired.

In any event, Bernie (Terry Kiser) was the top guy at a Manhattan insurance company where laid-back Larry (Andrew McCarthy) and uptight Richard (Jonathan Silverman) are decidedly junior executives. When Richard discovers that $2 million has been paid to a dead man, he and Larry naively believe the discovery will make their careers. Then Bernie winds up a corpse during a Labor Day weekend house party the two attend at his pad in the Hamptons, and plot twists make it imperative that Larry and Richard keep up the pretense that Bernie is still alive. So much for the first film.

The second finds Larry and Richard fired because they are believed to have the missing $2 million in their possession. With an insurance investigator (Barry Bostwick) on their tail, they head for St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, where Bernie has a bank account--and where, sure enough, Bernie's corpse turns up. What ensues is an adventure too lackluster to warrant further description.

Since Robert Klane wrote the first film as well as the sequel (which he also directed, far from impressively) it's difficult to understand why "Weekend at Bernie's II" (rated PG-13 for brief nudity and mild language) is so relentlessly awful. Not even Terry Kiser's wandering corpse is funny this time around.

'Weekend at Bernie's II'

Andrew McCarthy: Larry

Jonathan Silverman: Richard

Terry Kiser: Bernie

Barry Bostwick: Hummel

A TriStar Pictures and Victor Drai Productions presentation of an ArtimM production. Writer-director Robert Klane. Producers Drai, Joseph Perez. Executive producer Angiolo Stella. Cinematographer Edward Morey III. Editor Peck Prior. Costumes Fionn. Music Peter Wolf. Production design Michael Bolton. Art director Eric Fraser. Set decorator Scott Jacobson. Sound Walter Hoylman. Running time: 1 hour, 20 minutes.

MPAA-rated PG (for brief nudity and mild language).

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