Coming as it does from a proud line of blockbuster comic classics, Zemeckis' "Death Becomes Her" ultimately fails to live up to the success of its siblings. While it does contain some funny moments - with sharp one-liners and punchy visual gags - it falls short of its potential, and lacks the charisma and originality of his earlier films.
A strange departure from form for Zemeckis, the film owes more to the theatrical farce and 40s horror spoof than his fast-paced 1980s classics such as "Back to the Future". Essentially the film is an old fashioned morality fable for the rich and famous, dressed in the genre togs of a horror spoof, and jazzed up with some nippy special effects and beautiful people.
When the ageing screen siren Madeline (Streep) finds that Ernest (Willis) the plastic surgeon fiancé of her old college friend Helen (Hawn), is besotted with her fading glory, she marries him to restore her looks. Subsequently she ruins his career and drives him to the bottle. Meanwhile Helen - having grown bitter and obese - plots revenge. Throw in Lisle Van Rhuman (Isabella Rosellini), an elixir of eternal youth, a stormy night at a Hammer horror mansion, and the scene is complete for this comic romp.
It's a clumsy but nonetheless amusing satire on the desperation of the beauty obsessed movie industry. Boasting some good acting, full marks go to Bruce Willis for breaking away from his "Die Hard" image to successfully portray a bumbling weakling.