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Film review: Drop Dead Fred

Published: Tuesday, May 28 1991 12:00 a.m. MDT

"DROP DEAD FRED," on the other hand, is yet another foolish farce that is so witless it prompts the oft-asked question, "Who is this film for?" It's too silly for adults and too vulgar for children.

"Drop Dead Fred" is a cross between "Beetlejuice" and "Little Monsters," starring Phoebe Cates, as a young married woman whose husband is cheating on her, and British comic Rik Mayall as the title character, her old invisible childhood playmate who reappears to help her out.

When he's not looking up women's skirts or picking his nose, two of the film's least appealing running gags, Mayall is allowing the special-effects team to flatten his head in the refrigerator door or to send him flying around the room because Cates has sneezed on him.

Occasionally Marsha Mason, as Cates' overbearing mother; Carrie Fisher, as Cates' yuppie best friend; and Tim Matheson, as Cates' philandering husband, also drop in. They're no help.

"Drop Dead Fred" is obviously trying to be a fable in the style of Tim Burton's "Beetlejuice" or "Pee-wee's Big Adventure" or "Edward Scissorhands," right down to its Danny Elfman-style music - but never even comes close.

For its constant string of vulgarity, occasional profanity, comic violence and male nudity, "Drop Dead Fred" is rated PG-13 - but my 13-year-old won't be seeing it.

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