Better Off Dead (1985)


No Top Critics Tomatometer score yet...


Critic Consensus: Better Off Dead is an anarchic mix of black humor and surreal comedy, anchored by John Cusack's winsome, charming performance.

Movie Info

After being rejected by the object of his affection and suffering a series of other humiliations, a depressed teenager decides life is no longer worth living. He can't even commit suicide right, however, and soon finds his life getting even more complicated in this determined wacky teen comedy.

Rating: PG (adult situations/language)
Genre: Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Steve Holland, Savage Steve Holland, Isidore Mankofsky
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jul 16, 2002
CBS Entertainment Production



as Lane Meyer

as Jenny Meyer

as Johnny

as Charles De Mar

as Badger Meyer

as Monique

as Ricky Smith

as Mrs. Smith

as Roy Stalin

as Mr. Kerber

as 3rd Jock

as Mailman

as Yee Sook Ree

as Chris Cummins

as Tree Trimmer

as Ski Buddy

as Paperboy

as Paperboy

as Joanne Greenwald

as Tree Trimmer's Helpe...

as Chen Ree

as Roller Skater
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Better Off Dead

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Critic Reviews for Better Off Dead

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (2)

The film doesn't seem to have much of a focus. But it doesn't seem to want one, either.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | July 14, 2011
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Full of...goofy ironies, and while it ain't Molière, it is a pretty great entry in the teen-comedy genre. [Blu-ray]

Full Review… | August 2, 2011
Groucho Reviews

Unfortunately, only about half of the many jokes and gags in the film are actually funny.

Full Review… | July 24, 2007
TV Guide's Movie Guide

perhaps the greatest movie of all time

Full Review… | July 19, 2007

Hilarious and brilliantly deadpan.

Full Review… | September 23, 2006
Combustible Celluloid

Audience Reviews for Better Off Dead


Apparently a cult classic (a fact I was unaware about ... I nearly trashed the thing in the opening 5 minutes for spewing flagrant stupidity at me ("This is terrible."), it took a moment to warm me to the leads, to the flavor of the piece, but once acclimated I discovered that there was charm available here. Cusack et al keep it at a quick pace, it's already a piece of cotton candy, and it gets to be like play-fighting a goofy younger brother in the back seat of yer parents' car.

Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

Things only started picking up when John Cusack stared hanging out with the pseudo-French girl. She was really adorable.

Jennifer Xu

Super Reviewer

Hilarious John Cusack movie :) I love it :) He was so adorable in the 80s & I love that Johnny kid who always wanted his two dollars lol :) :) :) :) :) :)

Cassie Hill

Super Reviewer

Better Off Dead Quotes

– Submitted by Ana V (4 years ago)
– Submitted by Ana V (4 years ago)
– Submitted by Ana V (4 years ago)

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