DIGGIN` UP BUSINESS (1989 U.S.) D/P: TOM PARDEW D: MARK BYERS W: TIM MINEAR P: BOB MYERS/RICK EYE
Lynn-Holly Johnson (from Bond movie FOR YOUR EYES ONLY) is running a family funeral home while her grandfather is away on vacation (he has a heart attack on the beach, and the gag about his body being left undiscovered is truly stretched to breaking point). A life-long friend who can`t admit that he loves her (David Michael O`Neill from DEMONWARP) exchanges banter while helping beat an audit that has discovered a discrepancy in the amount of bodies buried in an attempt at a (PG-rated) bad-taste screwball comedy. Themed funerals seem to be a means of making quick cash and saving the business, so a corpse is shot from a cannon, one service has a burlesque theme, a dead stripper pops from a cake (!) etc. Billy Barty (who is funny in anything, even this) and Murray Langston (aka The Unknown Comic) are Hope and Crosby (in one of several unfunny comedies they served together in around the same time, including WISHFUL THINKING), workers who make pizza in the crematorium (and offer pretty much the only halfway decent gag, a visual reference to CITIZEN KANE). Linnea (Quigley) is a ditzy make-up girl. Other weirdo customer parts are filled by Ruth Buzzi, Yvonne Craig, Nita Talbot, Dawn Wildsmith and Gary Owens (known for being on Laugh-In with Buzzi, but more importantly was the voice of Powdered Toast Man on REN & STIMPY, and the mighty SPACE GHOST) makes a last-minute cameo as a wedding minister. Truly dismal and devoid of laughs on every level. Johnson (who`s given a "hilarious" long Greek family name) tries hard, but she lacks comic timing, and it`s not as if she has much to work with anyway. Which brings us to (the late, as of of 1993) Tom Pardew (the Executive Producer), who`s story Weirdo Funeral it`s based on, who gave himself the part of Johnson`s annoying older boyfriend and love rival of O`Neill (who wears make-up, hysterical!!), who wrote the dreadful theme tune and (reading between the lines) re-edited Byers` cut (which can`t have been any less amusing, surely). Stay very far away from it. MORTUARY ACADEMY was a more adult-appeal variation from around the same time.

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