This black comedy stars 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.
On the surface, Drop Dead Fred is a comedy. 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. 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.
Character to watch: Phoebe Cates as Elizabeth ‘Lizzie’ Cronin.
Journal your answers to the following questions after you watch the movie.
- How does this particular character’s journey compare with yours?
- Did the character develop certain characteristics during the movie that you have or that you would like to have? If so, what are those characteristics?
- What obstacles did this character face? What was his or her biggest challenge?
- What would you have done differently if you had been in the same position as the character?
- Is this character the type of person you would be friends with? Why or why not?