Follow TV Tropes


Film / My Boyfriend's Back

Go To

"This was it. This was the beginning of a dream come true. I picked her up early. I had all the right moves. I was like Tom Cruise... only dead."
Johnny Dingle.

My Boyfriend's Back is a 1993 romantic Black Comedy film about a young man named Johnny Dingle, who has always pined for his childhood friend Missy McCloud and would want nothing more than to express his feelings and take her to prom. In a misguided attempt to impress her by saving her from a pretend robbery he staged with his friend, he ends up shot dead by a real shoplifter who happened to be stopping by. Not long afterwards, Johnny comes back - as a zombie! And of course, Hilarity Ensues.

Not to be confused with the song of the same title.

My Boyfriend's Back has the following tropes:

  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Missy with Buck, at first
  • Ax-Crazy: Chuck Bronski Jr. tries to kill Johnny with a fire axe, only to accidentally killself with it when he winds up for the final blow and ends up stabbing himself in the brain with the pick end.
  • Back from the Dead
  • The Cameo: Cloris Leachman as Maggie, The Zombie Expert.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Eddie
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The adversity Johnny faces as a zombie from the townspeople somewhat parallels what minorities may have experienced during the American Civil Rights Movement.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: When Johhny dies again during his dance with Missy.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: See Reset Button below for details.
  • Everytown, America: The town of Fairview.
  • Fake Danger Gambit: Johnny tries this by having his friend Eddie gear up to pretend to rob the convenience store where his crush works but is unaware that an actual robber shows up until it's too late.
  • Fantastic Racism: Naturally, living folk don't take too kindly to the undead.
  • Give Geeks a Chance: Missy later starts to like Johnny.
  • Groin Attack: Johnny has a nightmare where his junk falls off.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Johnny takes a bullet for Missy. Subverted at the end, though.
  • History Repeats: Johnny isn't the first person to come back from the dead. Local legend has it the late husband of Maggie, the Zombie Expert came back to her as a zombie about 15 years prior.
    • Towards the end, we learn from an angelic Judge that the divine powers-that-be who maintain everyone's destinies occasionally "screw up" and try to rectify the error by reanimating them, which accounts for the occasional zombie. As a Secret Test of Character, their actions as a zombie determine their place in the afterlife.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard/Asshole Victim: Chuck Bronski, Jr. (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) who's tormented and bullied Johnny his whole life, tries to kill Johnny with a fire axe only to fatally stab himself in the head with the axe's pick when he winds up for the killing blow. Desperate to stay alive for tomorrow's prom, Johnny reluctantly eats part of him.
  • Indulgent Fantasy Segue/Imagine Spot: Johnny has a rather amusing one at the beginning where an attempt to have full on intercourse with Missy is treated like a major sporting event with the whole school cheering him on.
  • In Love with Your Carnage: Missy is understandably horrified when she finds out that Johnny ate most of Chuck, but when she finds out he only did it so he would live long enough to go to prom with her, Missy and everyone else nearby think it's just the sweetest goddamn thing!
  • Jerk Jock: Buck Van Patten (Matthew Fox), Missy's boyfriend.
  • Mama Bear/Took a Level in Badass: Marge Dingle, Johnny's mom; whether he's a zombie or not, you mess with her son and you get the business end of her shotgun.
    Marge (to Big Chuck Bronski): Now get out of my house... or I'll clip your manhood.
  • Non Indictative Name: The title would imply that Missy is the main character and Johnny is her boyfriend, but Johnny is actually the lead and Missy already has a boyfriend, Buck, and Johnny is the guy she is cheating on him with.
  • Not What It Looks Like: When Johnny eats part of Chuck.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Johnny is a Revenant Zombie who spends most of the movie desperately trying to avoid being a Flesh-Eating Zombie as well.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Sheriff McCloud shows himself to be this even though he too isn't all that partial to Johnny.
  • Reset Button: Of a divine variation. After Johnny dies for a second time, he learns from an angelic Judge that he wasn't actually supposed to die the night he got shot. He's then given a second chance at life and is sent back to when he was in the convenient store just moments before he was killed. He still takes the bullet for Missy, however this time, the bullet struck the necklace pendant he was wearing that he'd been wanting to give to Missy since the first grade. Long story short, he survives and Missy goes as his prom date feeling she definitely owes him one.
  • Resurrected Romance
  • The Sheriff: Officer McCloud, Missy's dad.
  • Titled After the Song: From the 1963 song, "My Boyfriend's Back" by The Angels. It's also on one of the trailers.
  • Tragic Villain: Out of everyone, Big Chuck Bronski has it in the most for Johnny, although it's really because he believes Johnny killed his son.
  • Unfazed Everyman: Murray Brickman, the cemetery groundskeeper who not only reacts to Johnny's resurrection like it's an ordinary shift, but politely greets him as well. This is mainly taking into account that Johnny wasn't the first zombie he probably encountered.
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: Johnny's staged stick-up somehow ended up having a real robber taking Eddie's mask, coming in and accidentally killing Johnny.