Exclusive : Gladden sticks the Paddles on Bernie


God I hated “Weekend at Bernies II”. It’s up there with “Batman & Robin”, “The Hidden II”, and “A Nightmare on Elm Street II : Freddy’s Revenge” as one of the worst sequels (heck, films!) ever made. Director Robert Klane seemingly put together his film like Frankenstein put together his monster – and it looked just as ugly, and turned just as many away.

Not that Ted Kotcheff’s 1989 comedy “Weekend at Bernies” was any, well, “Being There” – for all intents and purposes it was a rather scrappy comedy living in funky clothes. But the thing about “Bernies” was, it was fun – lots of fun. Andrew McCarthy and Jonathan Silverman were having a ball doing it, and that rubbed off on screen. And regardless of the movie he was playing stiff for, Terry Kiser was dynamite as the corpse. No easy feat staying still – but still full of expression! – for that long. Audiences lapped it up, and “Bernies” generated a sumly $30m upon release (I remember it packed out the drive-in I was working at for weeks – a real surprise hit!).

After the sequel failed to spark interest, Gladden Entertainment decided to rest the franchise (instead resurrecting the “Mannequin” series, with the equally-dire “Mannequin 2 : On the Move” – starring, funnily enough, Terry Kiser as its chief villain). And we welcomed the move. “Throw Bernie on the Spit!”, audience members were heard to utter after walking out of the ’93 sequel.

I remember hearing a few years back that there was talk of reuniting McCarthy and Silverman for a third film (one scenario I heard had it set in Vegas). That, much like the ‘Downunder Vacation’ flick, never came to fruition. And now, never will. And, from a marketing/business perspective, it doesn’t make sense – not with how far Silverman and McCarthy’s stars have fallen in recent years. Unless, of course, we’re talking European-lensed direct-to-video sequel. But still, not happening.

About five years back, there was talk of a remake. An early script was said to feature the same storyline as the first flick, except it was set at a ski lodge instead of a beach house. Hyde Park and MGM were developing it. But they seemed to go cold on the idea – guess MGM had bigger fish to fry.

Gladden Entertainment has decided the time is now ripe to resurrect Bernie Lomax. Whether or not MGM or Hyde are still involved, I don’t know, but what I do know is that Gladden are hoping to follow up with their upcoming “Mannequin” remake with a redo of “Weekend at Bernie’s”.

The flick, which’ll likely see a couple of teen idol’s take on the roles of Richard and Larry (and hey, what about Burt Reynolds as Bernie!? He can keep his face still for years, I hear!), is in development.
And assuming the film world’s obsession with remakes and reboots at the moment, it’ll likely inch forward fairly quickly.

So who’s your pick for Richard and Larry? Which Jonas Brother or “Twilight” star fits the bill?