Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Drop Dead Fred (1991)
Drop Dead Fred is a charming movie about a grown woman who is haunted by her imaginary best friend. After she breaks up with her husband, and moves back in with her very stiff and oppressive mother, her childhood imaginary friend returns to her. Her mother had locked him up in a jack in the box when she was a kid because she was sick of her using him as an excuse for his misbehavior. It is sort of unclear to the viewer whether this imaginary friend actually exists, or if it is simply a manifestation of her childish desires to be bad and piss off her mother. Only she and the viewer can see him, and she doesn’t think of him for most of her adult life. Only when she is living with her mother again as an adult, does he reappear. He follows her around and makes her do bad things, just as he had done when she was little. Despite Fred’s crude nature and general craziness, he has his redeeming qualities. He loves Lizzie unconditionally and genuinely wants her to be happy. He doesn’t realize that she is an adult now and can’t do the things they used to do. He tries to make her a kid again, and once he realizes that she needs to grow up he lets her go.
On the surface, it is just another childish movie with potty humor and crazy antics, but much like other 80’s films it has a deeper meaning. Fred clearly represents her inner desire to be bad, and her inability to be the person she wants to be. In the end she is able to let Fred go because she realizes that she can’t realistically run off with him and be a child forever. She finally is able to let her childhood, which has been locked in a jack-in-the-box for years, go. She finally gets some closure when she runs into a little girl, much like herself, who is Fred’s new best friend. While she can’t see Fred anymore, she knows he’s there and is happy to see him in action again.