Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Drop Dead Fred

US movie (1991). Working Title/PolyGram. Pr Paul Webster. Exec pr Tim Bevan, Carlos Davis, Anthony Fingleton. Dir Ate De Jong. Vfx Pete Kuran. Screenplay Davis, Fingleton, Elizabeth Livingston. Starring Phoebe Cates (Elizabeth), Ron Eldard (Mickey Bunce), Marsha Mason (Polly Cronin), Tim Matheson (Charles), Rik Mayall (Fred), Ashley Peldon (Young Elizabeth). 99 mins. Colour.

Insultingly dumped by vile, faithless husband Charles, Elizabeth finds her life invaded once more by the almost Toon-like Invisible Companion of her childhood, Drop Dead Fred. Under his anarchic influence she learns how to break free of the stultifying dominance of her mother, Polly, and the insecurity that drives her to try to make up with Charles. At last she learns, too, how to release herself from Drop Dead Fred – only to discover that the divorced childhood friend, Mickey, with whom she is interested in starting a new life, has a daughter who also knows Drop Dead Fred ...

Cates turns in a performance of skin-deep charm; Mayall is too constrained by considerations of taste to be fully effective, and is hampered by the fact that he works better with Peldon (the child Elizabeth, seen in copious flashbacks) than with Cates. DDF is memorably forgettable, despite some fine fantasy moments. [JG]

see also: Rite of Passage; Secret Sharer.

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.