Better Off Dead

1985, Movie, PG, 98 mins

Review

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The first feature film of director Savage Steve Holland comes from the scattershot school of comedy and plays like the disjointed daydream of a bored teenage boy. John Cusack is a high schooler so in love with his girl friend Amanda Wyss that he has pictures of her all over his room. One Sunday morning Cusack takes Wyss to the slope where he intends to try out for the school's ski team. Wyss, however, has decided to dump Cusack for the ski team captain. The entire day proves to be a washout because he fails to make the ski team as well. Depressed, Cusack makes several half-hearted attempts to kill himself--all of which fail. Meanwhile a cute French exchange student, Diane Franklin, has taken up residence across the street from Cusack at the home of the obnoxious Smith family. BETTER OFF DEAD possesses a fairly strong cast, some good gags, and a quirky sense of humor, but it suffers from the stereotyped characters and familiar situations that plague most movies about teenagers. What is refreshing about BETTER OFF DEAD is a deemphasis on sex and drugs. Unfortunately, only about half of the many jokes and gags in the film are actually funny. leave a comment

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