Drop Dead Fred [1991]

This not-quite-black comedy was probably a laugh riot on paper. The translation almost works, but the execution is flawed. Phoebe Cates is a recently separated young woman who suddenly begins to see her supposedly imagined childhood friend (Drop Dead Fred) after moving back into her mother's home. Is he a manifestation of her secret desires to ditch the boorish spouse? Or was he real all along? Rik Mayall is a limber, carrot-topped Brit with the lamentable assignment of trying to make us laugh with vulgar, sophomoric trickery. He is supposedly the repository of Cates's fastidious repression but is more annoying than cathartic. --Rochelle O'Gorman

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