Better Off Dead - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Better Off Dead Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ July 22, 2007
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.
Super Reviewer
April 20, 2012
Things only started picking up when John Cusack stared hanging out with the pseudo-French girl. She was really adorable.
Super Reviewer
March 21, 2008
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 :) :) :) :) :) :)
Super Reviewer
½ July 15, 2010
This little 80s teen rom-com is essentially John Hughes lite. That's okay though, because even though it's like listening to a decent cover version of a great song, it's still pretty good and enjoyable in its own right.

John Cusack plays Lane, a quirky average joe who is obsessed with a hot popular chick. He decides that life is no longer worth living after she dumps him for a more popular jock. What ensues is a bizarre, surreal look at 80s suburbia and all the weirdness that goes on in Lane's life as he tries to win back the girl of his dreams (or try to kill himself).

This is a very odd, random movie, but it's never too morose or too sappy. The sesne of humor is very quirky and a tad dark, and the film is overflowing with a bunch of stuff that I can only describe as quintessentially 80s. You just have to see it to know what I'm talking about. Some of this also sort of reminded me of attempts at Woodt Allen, what with the neurotic odd balls and very meta-moments.

Cusack is good, but the supporting players are the oens who really steal the show here, from the math teacher played by Vincent Schiavelli to Lane's deranged housewife mom played by Kim Darby, to his best friend, and the world's most persistent paperboy. And the Japansese guy who can only talk in English if he does an impression of Howard Cosell.

Give this one a look. It could have had a far stronger story and plot, but the surreal nature and offbeat humor make it really fun to watch.
Super Reviewer
March 19, 2009
A good-for-almost-nothing teenager Lane Myer begins to lose his sanity when his girlfriend Beth dumps him for his all-rounder colleague Roy Stalin. He tries to win back her girlfriend by trying to improving himself and attempting to excel in skiing, but all in vain. Meanwhile, he gets acquainted with a French girl Monique who has come to live in his neighbor Ricky's house. Ricky's mother tries endlessly to force her into a relationship with Ricky. The girl doesn't know English, but has a crush on Lane. So this good-for-almost-everything French beauty decides to help him out..... (I've tried my best to exclude spoilers, but even if I did, just ignore it.)

It's a typical rom-com that gave me more yawns than laughs. The logic hardly has any place here. I might have appreciated it if, at the very least, it gave some sort of entertainment. But all it left me with was a few laughs and more boredom. I preferred to watch it over another movie because of its high rating and short duration. But little did I know that despite of such a short duration, it'd be tough to endure. One hour should have been tops for this one. There are numerous unwanted sequences while certain scenes are dragged (the party, skiing lessons, the boy following him almost throughout the whole movie for $2, etc.) unnecessarily. After a point, they don't appear funny any longer. All they do is add to the runtime of the movie and boredom for me (one of the most invaluable audiences).

The movie might have been highly adorable in its time, but I can't say it's aged well. Good for a few laughs if you have no better option. The only reason I've rated it this high (otherwise, it'd have been 1/5) is the remarkable performances by the lead actors that made it a far tolerable fare for more than what it might have been otherwise.
Super Reviewer
July 5, 2007
So random you'd think it was written by Seth McFarlane. I always enjoy a good 80's comedy, but this didn't really do it for me. It's just really weird and bizarre and full of unfunny antics. Overall though, it's entertaining enough to be worth the view. But if you want a great high school flick starring a teenage John Cusack, I suggest you watch Say Anything instead.
Super Reviewer
June 5, 2007
A high school student loses his girlfriend to an obnoxious jock and sets about winning her back. Better Off Dead is a clear attempt to jump on the John Hughes bandwagon, containing the same mix of half-hearted surrealism, "growing pains" and nerds vs jocks storyline. Some of the jokes have stood the test of time, but the majority has not fared so well. It's all a bit too obvious (the ever likeable Cusack argues with his own cartoons, bad-cook-mom's food crawls off the plate etc etc) and the whole "learning to love the hottie under my nose while I'm trying to win back the bimbo" formula is beyond tired. A bit amateurish and very dated, this film probably stirs fond memories from people who saw it at the time but a re-visitation reveals it to be little better than Saturday morning sitcom standard.
Super Reviewer
September 6, 2010
What a hilarious movie! I love this one, Cusack is fantastic as the main character who's trying to kill himself over a girl. I highly recommend this movie.
Super Reviewer
½ November 18, 2009
One of my favorite teen comedies. The story is offbeat and goes places that most movies like it wouldn't dare. John Cusack is just too perfect at being a lovable goofball. I like that the story didn't revolve around morality, but shear coincidence. It's a really smart plot that was ahead of it's time and even though it's background is dated, it's still just as relevant today. I think it's a really good interpretation of the high school experience, not feeling the need to exaggerate or glorify anything.
Super Reviewer
½ January 5, 2009
I'm either too old or too cranky (or both) to derive much pleasure from watching a barely pubescent John Cusack pursue a prototypical prom queen in a prototypical 80's angst film. This is basically Teen Wolf without the "wolf".
Super Reviewer
July 15, 2008
Thoroughly winning teen film about a young man who is dumped by his girlfriend. He then sets out to impress her in an attempt to win her back. Extremely inventive comedy has brilliant touches of surrealism that perfectly complement the story. All in all, a fairly predictable plot, but the laughs are so genuine and sweet, you'll end up loving this classic 80s comedy.
Super Reviewer
April 19, 2007
I really really really enjoyed this.

"I once built a bird house, but it was condemned by the fair housing committee
Super Reviewer
½ June 22, 2007
This film is a non-stop laugh fest and the ultimate epitome of the 80's.
Super Reviewer
½ October 5, 2007
I thought it was good. It seems like a pretty normal movie and then they bring out stuff like the paperboy and you wonder if this is supposed to be a parody.
Super Reviewer
February 20, 2007
This teen comedy film with mixture of cleavr ideas and awfully silly ones make me laugh and it's best when writer-director Savage Steve Holland throws in little sketches that stand out from the familiar plot.
Super Reviewer
½ January 23, 2007
Not really my type of comedy. This is like a prototype Napoleon Dynamite, except there's a plot, the gags are inventive and John Cusack actually has charisma. Still, I'm not a huge fan.
Super Reviewer
½ December 26, 2006
"It's a damn shame when people be throwin' away a perfectly good white boy like that..."
Super Reviewer
October 23, 2006
I WANT MY $2!!!!!
Super Reviewer
June 11, 2006
John does wonders with his character and the entire cast is quite fitting for their parts.
Super Reviewer
½ April 18, 2014
The cult '80s teen comedy Better Off Dead delivers some laughs but is unfocused. After his girlfriend breaks up with him Lane Myer losses his will to live, but comes up with a plan to win her back by skiing down the infamous K-12 mountain slope. Unfortunately, the plot is packed with tangents and superfluous subplots that don't payoff. Additionally, there's very little character development. Yet, the film has a good cast that includes John Cusack, Amanda Wyss, and Curtis Armstrong. And there are some fun comedy bits that work really well. It's held back by a weak script, but Better Off Dead does have its moments.
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