There is a time in ones life when they are in need or at least are open to the concept of an invisible friend. However at a certain age this becomes an absurd idea and therefore the friend must leave. The concept has been put forth in many movies such as "The Curse of the Cat People" (1944), and books such as "Peter Pan" or "Mimsy Were the Borogroves" by Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moor,
which depicts a child's mindset as alien to those of humans.
Elizabeth As a child (Ashley Peldon) had her share of problems as a friend and also had her own supposedly imaginary-friend "Drop Dead Fred" (Rik Mayall). Of whom she was supposed to outgrow. She had a little help from her mother who locked Fred away in a Jack-in-the-box.
Now Elizabeth (Phoebe Cates) is once again having problems with a recent divorce along with many other disasters. She makes the strategic error of moving back home. She finds where Fred is confined and pretends to frees him; guess who she finds out is not imaginary and is still waiting as if time had not passed at all. This happens when one goes home again. Now Fred is appalled to find that Snot Face is all grown up and that she even did it like the pigeons. How ever Fred is just as mischievous, ornery, and destructive as ever.
It is up to the two codependent entities to help free each other from a static situation; Liz needs to grow up and Fred needs to move on the next kid. In the process Elizabeth meats a girl Natalie (Kelly Benson), that seems to be annoying the babysitter. And she claims it was "You know who".
Will Elizabeth finally take control of her life and out grow the need for Fred?
If so will she ever see him again?
The movie is worth it on different levels or diffident angles. We have the fun of the interacting and antics of Fred, Elisabeth and boogers. There is a true underlying psychological story that includes a trip through ones mind. And Phoebe is almost too cute and can make you forget what you are watching.
"I forgot to give you something!"
on June 10, 2004
On the surface, "Drop Dead Fred" is a comedy. And as a comedy, it's a great one. Rik Mayall, of course, if very funny. Phoebe Cates displays a genuine talent for physical comedy in several scenes - at the restaurant, at the classical music concert, and at the wine tasting party. And I just LOVE the scream that Cates lets out when Fred scares her while she's standing in front of the mirror wiping the makeup off of her face. Carrie Fisher is also very funny as a super-rigid super-serious lawyer.
However, at it's heart, this movie is a drama with some very serious issues and some very serious messages. Ultimately, this movie is about standing up for yourself. It's about taking control of your life. It's about standing up to defend yourself from the people who are tormenting you. Anyone who's ever been bullied stands to benefit from seeing this film. It really is a good form of therapy. You'll know that you're not alone. You'll know that there are other people who know how you feel. And that's one of the reaons why I love this movie so much.
Of course another reaosn I love this movie is Phoebe Cates. Her characer here is so sweet and wonderful. How can any guy see this movie and not think he's in love with her? And honestly, I think she's a better actress when she keeps her clothes on, as she does here. Throughout the course of the movie, Cates displays just about every emotion that there is. She's truly a great actress.
Kudos also go to Ashley Peldon, who does a remarkable job as the child version of Elizabeth. Tim Matheson does a perfect job portraying the jerk husband. Marsha Mason is fantastic as the evil mother. All the other actors do their jobs very well. Every role is cast perfectly.
Every scene in the movie is necessary. Nothing is wasted. Every line of dialogue counts. The flashbacks to childdhood are integrated perfectly into the rest of the movie.
There are some interesting camera angles here that I've never seen before. For example, in the flashback to where the mudpie gets made in the dining room, young Elizabeth is sitting on the chair, shaky and scared because her mother had just yelled at her. While the camera is focused on her, the camera pans 90 degrees, and then her face lights up with a smile and she says, "Hi Fred!" I've never seen that particular kind of camera shot before. I also like the way, later on when grown up Elizabeth is making the salad, the camera is *under* the pepper grinder. And during the end of the dream sequence towards the end of the movie, the various lighting and camera angles suggest a play that is being performed live on a stage.
The low budget cheesy special effects give a nice, old fashioned touch to the film. For example, the cheap physical effects of gears and other things that are shown when Velcro Head's head explodes simply would not have had the same charm if it had been done in expensive CGI.
The movie is timeless. The only real clue to when the movie takes place is that in the flashback to the breakfast scene, young Elizabeth's father is reading a newspaper with the heading about the first man on the moon.
The best part of the movie, in my opinion, is the dream sequence, and everything that comes afterwards. The last 25 minutes of this movie are what really elevate it to what it is. This is the part that really moves me the most. Of course, in order to understand it, you need to see the entire movie. And that's a good thing, because the entire movie is worth watching.
This is a movie for anyone who remembers what it's like to be a child, and for anyone who has a sense of fun and a love of life, and for anyone who's ever been hurt because of bullying. This movie has a big heart, a big sense of fun, a big sense of humor, and a big love of life.
on May 21, 2004
When Elizabeth (played by Phoebe Cates) finds her marriage to a manipulative, two-timing husband (Tim Matheson) on the rocks, to her chagrin, her mother moves her back home and takes control of her life. But then she makes a strange discovery, in the back of her old closet is her old jack-in-the-box, covered in the tape her mother had put there to lock in her imaginary friend, Drop Dead Fred. Opening the tape, who should pop out? Not jack, but Drop Dead Fred (Rik Mayall)!
Fred is stark raving mad, and out to cause as much mayhem as possible, but no one can see him but Elizabeth, so who still gets the blame after all these years? But Fred is back, because Elizabeth is terribly unhappy. In his own weird and wacky way, he is out to set Elizabeth on the right track, and everyone needs a friend.
This is a very funny movie, an uproariously hilarious movie! Rik Mayall (Rick from The Young Ones) does a great job of taking Fred over the top, and off to the outer reaches of wackiness. His gross humor (lots of doggy-do, nose-picking, hits to the head, and so forth) may turn some off, but is sure to please any connoisseur of craziness.
Now, is this a family-friendly movie? Well, not exactly, there are some off-color remarks and adult innuendo, but not much. The big problem is that there is one scene where you see a naked man from behind. But, other than that it is pretty good. I showed it to my kids, and they loved it. I liked that it also had a lesson of finding happiness inside yourself.
So, as for my family and I, we loved this movie, and highly recommend it to you!
on January 8, 2004
OK, OK, maybe not a classic, but it gets the job done! I am a professional woman, mother of 3, whose older children (now in college) loved this movie when they were younger, and now my youngest (13) begs me to rent this movie every once in awhile, as it has been a favorite of hers for years too.
Now it is out on DVD, and as a birthday gift I decided to BUY the DVD from Amazon.com when I found it was available. The girls at the sleepover party will love it as much as my daughter does, I am sure. She has been trying to describe it to them, most of them have never seen it.
As a mom I remember cringing the first time I watched it with my kids, shuddering at what might be the outcome if my kids decided to invent a playful, spontaneous, willful, clownish, annoying, but lovable imaginary friend like Drop Dead Fred. The antics he pulls are outrageous, but I found myself laughing along with the kids, it does get to you.
Phoebe Cates is perfect in the role of whimsical Lizzie, somewhat caught between child and adult roles, trying to be a good wife, but eventually estranged from her dolt of a boorish, cheating husband (Tim Matheson plays the schmuck hubby to the hilt). The pain she endures from the broken relationship brings back the comfort of her childhood imaginary friend Drop Dead Fred (Rik Mayall is so any and incredible, perfect for the role), who was there when she was young to soothe her bruised ego when her overbearing and controlling mother (Marsha Mason plays this role very effectively!!) drives her husband away when Lizzie was young, and Lizzie is targeted as the reason. As the story unfolds you can see Drop Dead Fred coming out as the brave side of Lizzie struggling to not buckle under the enormous hurt and pressure of the mother-then-husband queue of dictatorial people in her life. Lizzie's mom becomes more controlling in her attempt to help Lizzie win her husband back. You find youself cheering Lizzie and Drop Dead Fred on, even though he sometimes makes a mess of things.
But is he just an imaginary friend, or is he real? Maybe he is, you will decide at the end of the film.
This is a film best watched by older kids in a group, or younger children with a parent present to help answer questions and sort things out, just in case an impressionable youngster has trouble with any reality aspects.
All in all, the film is wonderful entertainment.
on November 19, 2003
I love this film ever since I was younger. I remember my father who had passed away, went and took me to this movie, and I had always wanted a realistic imaginary friend like Fred (played by Rik Mayall). This movie has a lot of fun memories for me. Phoebe Cates plays a now adult Lizzie who is still struggling against standing up for herself against her mom and now husband. You get to see how her and Fred hook up and why he's there in flashbacks to her childhood. To help her have fun during the rough times in her when she was little and until she's happy and standing on her own as an adult. Because that's what an imaginary friend does he/she let's you escape from realities.
Some may not get this movie. But it is a campy, classic, comedy for about young adults to adults. If you have a good sense of humor you'll get this film and it's for those who remember having imaginary friends :).
I was a little disappointed with the DVD. I was expecting commentary, and some other special extra's not too much. But it's an okay DVD. But I would give the movie itself a B+ and the DVD a C+.
on August 17, 2003
Drop Dead Fred is a movie about growing up as a empowered person in this case an empowered woman. The core premise of this movie is you must take full responsible constant ownership of your self and YOUR LIFE or else suffer the humourous and or disasterous consiquences!
The main character now a young lady starts off the movie a child in an adults body. She was not a grown up in heart for she was not an empowered woman at all she was slave to her mother, husband and freds every whim for she had no backbone. She had a lamer playboy disrespectful skanktrap cheating husband who functioned as a father figure she lost earlier in life. She had a domineering mom who did everything to give her daughter the appearance of respect for her decisions in adulthood but in truth merely paid lip service to loving her daughter while ordering every aspect of her childs existence.
From an early age the young lady invested all her pains angers confustions and child like fantasy's into a special world. These unresolved issues took the form of Drop Dead Fred this YES sick twisted rude ego-centric totally self absorbed endlessly playful child like being in a weird carrot topped male adult body. A child is not polite or nice their fantasy's are annoying and crude which is just what Fred was, I find his nerve wrecking style in this protrayal to be perfect and accurate.
Well once her childhood inner friend only she can see by the way is rediscovered Drop Dead Fred is released and instantly takes the young lady in the picture on a mad childish romp through polite society. The moral of this story is simple you must always be master of your destiny or by default someone else is using you for their purposes.
Once you are in command of your own life this movie tells you the most vital lesson one can learn. ENJOY LIFE AS A CHILD WOULD LET GO AT TIMES. BE REAL STOP CREATING ARTIFICAL WORLDS THAT ARE CAGES IN WHICH YOU DEPOSIT YOURSELF UNTIL DEATH. STEP OUT INTO THE WORLD EMBRACE FUN AND CHANGE BY THE SIMPLE ACT OF NEVER LIVING TO PLEASE OTHERS. HELP OTHERS LOVE OTHERS BUT LIVE FOR YOURSELF AND TAKE SOME TIME IN LIFE TO JUST PLEASE YOURSELF SOMETIMES. LIFE IS A BLAST.
This film tells you that in childs play sometimes their is the greatest of adult wisdom. No matter how complex, intelligent and sophisticated the adult being their must always in life be room made for the simplicity of play. The movie shows that if the basic human need for play is not met consciously it will satisfy itself unconsciously. This movie just lets us have a histerically funny peek into the wild psyche as this mad romp to play comes forth to rescue the young lady in the picture from herself. In the end she finds her backbone and becomes an empowered woman.
Trust me their is nothing on earth more beautiful to behold than a person who owns themselves because they are fully empowered to love both themselves and others in a spirit of unending fun and joy! This movie teaches empowerment in such a way that me a dull witted old thing me caught the movies empowering message real good. I like the heavy handed way it hits I understand bluntness and you can't get any more blunt or fun than this movie!
This is the wisdom this movie shared with me when I watched it on VHS.
on May 14, 2003
I recently viewed this film again, and I can't help but think the author of the story was expressing a tremendous deal of rage about something in her life -- perhaps the sort of upbringing portrayed in the movie (an absolutely HORRIBLE mother) or maybe something else. It's obvious the Elizabeth character has invented a destructive imaginary friend as a manifestation of the frustration she feels over her mother's atrocious behavior; in real life, Elizabeth is carrying out the destruction herself, but remains innocent and true to herself by housing her motivation in the form of that imaginary being. One can only imagine the severity of the distress that would prompt a child to do this -- and the degree of the rage that would prompt a writer to cast it in story form.
At the entertainment level, this movie is compelling and humorous, the slapstick really good and Rik Mayall's work fantastic. At the contemplation level, however, you have to fear that this story resulted from the author's severely damaged childhood, and that scenario is quite sobering.
on May 3, 2003
I absolutely LOVE this movie, and have since I first saw it. It's really touching, and endearing.
Phoebe Cates plays Lizzie, a 20-something frumpy housewife who is going through a dozen crisis' at once: the theft of her car, the loss of her job, and her emminent divorce - ALL within one hour! So, homeless and distraught, she reluctantly returns to her childhood home to stay with her overbearing mother (Marsha Mason). While there, she rediscovers a long-forgotten toy: a music-box toy that plays 'pop-goes-the-weasle'. When she removes the yellowed taped, out pops Drop Dead Fred (Rik Mayall), who had been trapped in there for over 20 years!
Almost immediately, Fred starts getting Lizzie into major trouble. His intentions are honorable, but his executions are always cause for alarm. While trying to help her get back with Charles (Tim Matheson), he accidentally sinks the home of Lizzie's friend, Janie (Carrie Fisher). While trying to alleviate Lizzie's stress, he inadvertantly adds to it by making it appear to everyone that Lizzie is, in fact, crazy.
Well, in the end, Fred actually does help Lizzie out, sans bad outcomes. He takes her on a trip into her own mind, where she must battle caricatures of those controlling her life (Mason & Matheson), and free her trapped-self (Ashley Peldon). Now that Lizzie is no longer alone (she now has herself within herself), Fred isn't needed. He disappears (seemingly for good), and Lizzie finally has to courage to stand up to her adulterous husband, and escape the shell her mother has kept in for twenty years.
As she is getting her life back together, she visits an old friend, Mickey Bunce (Ron Eldard). While they are talking, the babysitter walks out, claiming that Mickey's daughter, Natalie (Kelly Benson), has made a mess in the kitchen. Natalie defends herself, saying that it was not her, but (surprise) Drop Dead Fred!
I highly recommend this movie. It is sure to warm your heart, and lift your spirits, I "PRAAH - MISS".
on March 26, 2003
I wouldn't really call Drop Dead Fred a classic but I did think it was pretty darn funny and cute and I really enjoyed watching it so I bought the video and if this movie ever comes out on DVD I think I just may buy it because I prefer DVDs. There is bathroom humor in this movie that will probably offend sensitive viewers, you know the mamby pamby types who get upset, faint and need to fan themselves if they hear someone burp. Bathroom humor doesn't really bother me at all so I was fine with it. Phoebe Cates is great in this movie as Elizabeth and Ashley Peldon from The TV show the Mommies and The Goldie Hawn movie Decieved was very good in her brief part playing Elizabeth when she was a little girl. Marsha Mason was very good as Elizabeth's mother Polly , Carrie Fisher was very good as Elizabeth's friend Janie and Rik Mayall was absolutely great as Fred, he made the movie so hilariously fun. I think the uptight critics need to learn how to sit relax and let themselves enjoy a silly movie and stop trying to be so serious all the time.
on September 8, 2002
Various points have been brought up about this movie. Point One: Letting your kids see it. I don't have any kids, but I do have a little sister and a neice and a nephew, and there is no way they are getting their hands on this movie until they show some signs of maturity. My sister walked in on the part at the party and I really, REALLY regret it. Point Two: Phoebe Cates. Yes, she's a bit blah, but I think she was supposed to be. She still turned in a solid performance. Point Three: Rik Mayall. Yes, he is incredibly noisy, and irritating at first, but I got used to him pretty quick and started perking up anytime I saw that green suit and the ginger hair. Also, the reason he's so loud is he was trained on stage, and you have to be loud on stage, right? So maybe he wasn't fully adapted to movies yet[...] The thing is, you out there with your "maturity" won't enjoy this at all. This is a movie that appeals to children--- unfortunately you can't let your kids watch it, for fear they'll wipe snot on you instead of giving you a goodnight kiss. But it is dark and funny, even if it does turn all sentimental in the end, I forgive it for that. I love it very much, and so does my best friend, and a friend of mine who is in his fifties, and a lot of other people, too.