Drop Dead Fred (VHS, 1991)

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"I Love Those Breaking Noises"

Jul 9, 2005 (Updated Jul 9, 2005)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:One of the funniest movies ever. Phoebe Cates looks stunning.

Cons:No extras on the disc, no 5.1 surround sound either.

The Bottom Line: A great mix of fantasy and comedy. It's good for the whole family!


The Story

Elizabeth is having a terrible day. In one short morning, she had lost her car, her purse, her job and her husband. The worst of all is now she has moved back in with her awful mother until she can come to grips and is able to move on.
When all seems lost, and Elizabeth is at the ends of herself, an old friend revisits her in the night. A friend she hasn't seen since she was a little girl. A friend that was horribly taken away from her. Her best friend, Drop Dead Fred.
Unfortunately, Drop Dead Fred also gets her into trouble and causes chaos whenever they are together. Did I mention that Drop Dead Fred was her childhood imaginary friend? No? Sorry, that small detail must have escaped somehow.

Elizabeth is often taking the blame for her invisible friend's antics. There are some one on one scenes that make you laugh, but more often than not very public happenings make this movie provide hysterical moments.

The flow of the story is basically Elizabeth trying to woo back her cheating husband, and recapture the happiness she believes they once had. Her husband is happily cheating on her with Annabella (Bridget Fonda.) Elizabeth doesn't seem to notice or take any of that serious situation into account as she feels it must be all her fault anyway.

The film is set mostly in the present day, but there are plenty of flashback scenes with Elizabeth as a little girl. It really makes this movie complete as it comes full circle in the end.


My Thoughts

Drop Dead Fred is good enough for the whole family. My opinion is from eight years old and up. We have jokes about dog poo that really cracks up these 8 year old viewers, and some more adult oriented humor, but nothing very vulgar or sexually oriented.

I enjoy this type of silly humor. The character Drop Dead Fred stays true to his childlike worldview. After all he is a child's imaginary friend. Even when more mature and adult situations present themselves, such as a separated marriage, Drop Dead Fred's solution is to harpoon the husband through the head and force him to stay with Phoebe Cates' character.

Although the movie is a comedy, there are some moments that tug at the heartstrings. Phoebe Cates' character Elizabeth finds that through all the relationships through out her life, Drop Dead Fred was her closest friend. The realization at the end of the film, is that she has learned that she must make new and real relationships that grow as close as hers was with Drop Dead Fred.

The whole movie as Elizabeth was trying to recapture a happiness with her husband, that was all in her head, her friendship with Drop Dead Fred finally shows her what she really needs, and gives her the strength for her to achieve this in her life.

When you watch, you may notice that the color of electric blue is in every scene. I am not sure who's idea that was or why, but it just something I happened to notice.

This movie is a fantasy, but the setting makes it seem plausible. The ending is serious fantasy and it seems to throw some viewers off either because they don't get it, or they don't appreciate the over-the-top fantasy the movie doves into. I think it is a great ending to this type of movie, I mean it could have a whole lot worse as these movies are usually lacking a good cohesive ending. Look at Adam Sandler's early movies.


The Cast

Phoebe Cates is probably most famous for her portrayal of Linda in Fast Times At Ridgemont High when she was just 18 years old. Cue The Cars song Moving In Stereo, and let's envision Phoebe climbing out of the pool and the rest of that scene. Phoebe hasn't been in many films at all, but she's so easy on the eyes that whatever she's in, I try and catch it. She's the main reason I went to see Drop Dead Fred in the theaters. Here in about half the film she dons different length wigs of long black hair. She's too ditsy in this film, it's the total opposite of the young confident know-it-all from Fast Times.

I know Rik Mayall from only three places, this movie, the film version of Jesus Christ Superstar where he portrays King Herod, and from the pretend heavy metal band Bad News from England where they do an awful cover of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. While the Bad News video was funny, Drop Dead Fred is a character where Rik really stretches his comedic legs. He comes across like a nose-picking, comic book character meets Robin Williams. He's got Marty Feldman like eyes and wild red hair. With his British accent and all, I think he makes the perfect Drop Dead Fred.

Before this movie, I didn't know too much about Marsha Mason. She's been in a slew of movies, but none that I have seen besides Nick Of Time with Johnny Depp, but that movie came out after Drop Dead Fred. She portrays a mother with no tolerance for her daughter or fun in general. Having said that, Drop Dead Fred's idea of fun is stepping in a heap of "dog pooh" and spreading it all over the carpet and furniture of her 'Do Not Touch' living room.

When I think of Tim Matheson, I think of The Brady Bunch Movie where he plays the bad guy and Stephen King's Sometimes They Come Back. In this film he portrays more of the prick variety the way he did in The Brady Bunch Movie. He was a prick, but he made me laugh as well a couple of times.

Carrie Fisher is so good at the minor-roled, best-friend, sidekick character. Movies like When Harry Met Sally, The 'burbs and this one prove my point I would say. Carrie is not in this movie much, but with the little she is given, she has some truly funny scenes.


The DVD

Whenever a DVD is not available in Widescreen, I am very disappointed. With this DVD, it's only available in Full Frame. The sound is Dolby Digital Stereo, no 5.1 surround mix here. No extras are found on this disc, not even a trailer. What we have here is basically a glorified video tape. I mean the picture does look nice and crisp, and the sound is good enough, but with a DVD, we should get something more. I would have settled for a nice Widescreen transfer.



Recommend this product? Yes

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