Drop Dead Fred (1991) - Rotten Tomatoes

Drop Dead Fred1991

Drop Dead Fred (1991)



Critic Consensus: Tackling mature themes with an infantile sensibility, Drop Dead Fred is an ill-conceived family comedy that is more likely to stir up a headache than the imagination.

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Movie Info

When Elizabeth Cronin (Phoebe Cates) comes to stay with her overbearing mother (after her husband leaves her for a younger woman), she rediscovers her wacky imaginary childhood friend, Drop Dead Fred (Rik Mayall). Drop Dead Fred and Elizabeth have a number of mischievous, sometimes malicious, adventures as Elizabeth struggles to regain her sense of self and independence.

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Phoebe Cates
as Elizabeth Cronin
Rik Mayall
as Drop Dead Fred
Tim Matheson
as Charles Cronin
Ashley Peldon
as Young Elizabeth
Ron Eldard
as Mickey Bunce
Eleanor Mondale
as Attractive Customer
Bob Reid
as Judge Dubben
Peter Thoemke
as Arsonist
Sjoukje DeJong Douma
as Grandma Bunce
Paul Holmes
as Man in Speedboat
Steve Cochran
as 1st Waiter
Robert Meyzen
as 2nd Waiter
Daniel Buchen
as Doctor Ryland
Marie Mathay
as Concerned Mom
Peter Breitmayer
as Go to Hell Herman
Clark Niederjohn
as Velcro Head
Tom Bethke
as Graggy
Elizabeth Gray
as Namby Pamby
Michael Welker
as Waiter at Wine Gala
Kelly Benson
as Natalie
Cathy Lind Hayes
as Ms. Fuzzock
Bridget Fonda
as uncredited cameo
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Critic Reviews for Drop Dead Fred

All Critics (37) | Top Critics (13)

Drop Dead Fred is an erratic stab at making madness sensible, a slapstick nightmare that goes too sane, that tries too hard to be both good and rotten.

May 5, 2014 | Full Review…

This is easily one of the worst films I've ever seen.

May 5, 2014 | Rating: 0/4 | Full Review…

The episodic flashbacks are cast in an unfunny Freudian light -- domineering mother, helpless hubby, the tragically withdrawn child. What a laugh riot!

May 5, 2014 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…

That any of it, however, should suddenly, melodramatically lead to Elizabeth learning to assert herself is, to say the least, unpersuasive.

May 5, 2014 | Rating: 2/5

The movie is no comic masterpiece, but it is consistently amusing in a way that sometimes reminded me of a kiddie picture and at other times of a more sophisticated comedy.

May 5, 2014 | Rating: 4/5

It tries too hard to mimic Beetlejuice, especially in British comic Rik Mayall's frantic performance as the title character -- Mayall is no Michael Keaton -- but it has a whimsical comic energy.

May 5, 2014 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Drop Dead Fred

This quirky comedy from Dutch director Ate de Jong shares psychiatric themes dealing with abuse, madness, imaginary friends, and mental illness. Of course, all of these themes, however interesting and sparse in most comedies, are not well represented and are used to exploit bad jokes and queer physical comedy. Actually, what bothers and annoys most in this film is the performance from one person in particular, and that is comedian Rik Mayall as the eponymous Drop Dead Fred. Famous in England for his over-the-top stand-up comedy routines, here Mayall plays an imaginary friend to Elizabeth, played by Phoebe Cates. She is in an emotionally abusive relationship with her husband, Charles, played by Tim Matheson, and controlled by her domineering mother, played by Marsha Mason. Cates plays her role very quietly and in a distinguished way, which is odd in comparison to that of Rik Mayall, who is a loudmouthed, thoughtless, relentlessly irritating nincompoop. His performance is beyond comparison, because it doesn't make any sense in context with the rest of the situations presented during the film. If he exists to work through Elizabeth's inner turmoil, and does so throughout the film, than why does he have her commit crimes, or basically ruin her own life in the process of leaving her husband and finding her own strength? While the basic story is not terrible or anything resembling clichéd, the characters do these baffling and always misguided things that infuriate you as the viewer. This ranges from people throwing pasta in restaurants and calling it impulsive fun, to friends being okay with getting her home totaled and then she beats up a figurative man that she can't see. Everyone in this film is just unfortunate and misguided at every turn. There are some decidedly funny laughs to be had once in a while, but the overall view of this film is trashy and gross.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

Besides a few moments where the writers stumbled upon a lucky line that happened to work, "Drop Dead Fred" is easily the most brainless film I have ever seen in my entire life. As a childhood imaginary friend comes back to haunt her and her new job, along with her relationship, everything goes to hell as she seems to be insane. This film is just one annoying scene after another and it is solely the most painful experience I have ever had, trying to get through a movie. "Drop Dead Fred" is easily THE worst movie I have ever seen, hands down!

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

This is great purely for Rik. I love 'Bottom' and 'The Young Ones' and this is close to being great stuff, close. The idea is cool and original but it needed more mischief from Rik and more risky laughs. Its still good, love Rik's look.

Phil Hubbs
Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer

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