Did you have an imaginary friend when you were a child? If you did then you will enjoy Drop Dead Fred. Directed by Ate de Jong this fantasy, drama, comedy is about an unhappy housewife (Phoebe Cates-the 90’s it girl) and her journey back to finding herself and her personal value. Although the film has been marketed as a lighthearted children’s film there are notable adult themes. Many of the pranks and jokes Fred (Rik Mayall) does are very adult in nature. There are also underlying themes Elizabeth (Phoebe Cates) deals with centered around mental illness, emotional abuse and no father in her life growing up. There is a lot of profanity used for a children’s film as well.
Our story starts off with Elizabeth having the worst day of her life thus far. Elizabeth is a unassertive and repressed woman who learns over lunch with her husband he is cheating and wants to leave her. All in a day poor Elizabeth is dumped, robbed and loses her job at the court-house. While leaving the court-house she runs into a childhood friend Mickey. They spend a minute chatting about childhood memories when Mickey brings up her imaginary friend Fred. He explains all the kids thought she was crazy because she was the only person that could see Fred. Fred was a pistol. Many of the pranks he helped Elizabeth with went beyond wacky, or mischievous and straight to malicious. Yep, Fred for sure empowered the little helpless Elizabeth back then.
Circumstances being what they are Elizabeth moves back into with her mother. An overbearing, pushy, selfish woman who doesn’t do a whole lot to make Elizabeth feel better. While in her old bedroom Elizabeth starts rummaging though her childhood belongings and runs across a taped-shut jack-in-the-box. The taped-shut box brings back a flood of childhood memories. These hilarious flash backs inspire Elizabeth to open the box freeing the long time imprisoned Drop Dead Fred.
The two make a pack and Fred is going to make her happy again. Of course Elizabeth thinks she will only be happy again if she can win back her rotten cheating husband. Fred puts his nose to the grindstone and spreads chaos all in the name of help. His childish antics cause more harm than good and they end up landing Elizabeth in a soup of misunderstanding, property damage, romance, and mental evaluations. It is a really funny journey.
Drop Dead Fred is a cute movie just not a children’s film. If you like fart jokes, snot jokes, food fights and romance you will like this movie I promise.