My Boyfriend's Back (1993 film)

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My Boyfriend's Back
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBob Balaban
Produced bySean S. Cunningham
Written byDean Lorey
Music byHarry Manfredini
CinematographyMac Ahlberg
Edited byMichael Jablow
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures
Release date
  • August 6, 1993 (1993-08-06)
Running time
85 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$3.3 million (US)[1]

My Boyfriend's Back is a 1993 American romantic zombie comedy film directed by Bob Balaban which tells the story of Johnny Dingle (Andrew Lowery), a teenage boy who returns from the dead as a zombie to meet Missy McCloud (Traci Lind), the girl he's in love with, for a date. The film received negative reviews.

The film's title is a reference to the 1963 song of the same name by The Angels. The original title of the film, Johnny Zombie was changed shortly before the film's theatrical release. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Matthew McConaughey, and Matthew Fox appear in small roles in the film.


Eager to impress his crush, Johnny Dingle arranges a fake robbery in the store where Missy McCloud works. Johnny intends to foil the robbery and save Missy. The plan backfires, and Johnny is shot. As he lies dying in the store, he asks her to the prom, and Missy agrees. After his funeral, Johnny inexplicably returns as a zombie and attempts to reintegrate into society. Though he faces anti-zombie discrimination, Johnny is allowed back in school, where he eats a bully. Missy, though reluctant to follow through with her promise, eventually agrees to attend the prom with Johnny. As Missy slowly falls for him, Johnny wrestles with his urge to cannibalize Missy. Johnny eventually overcomes his urges and takes Missy to the prom, where he finally decays to point of destruction. As he goes to heaven, Johnny learns that a mishap in heaven was the cause for his return as a zombie. Because he was never meant to die, he is sent back to Earth and given a second chance at life. Johnny again sacrifices himself for Missy during the robbery, but his life is spared when the bullet is deflected by a locket he bought as gift for Missy. Missy, overcome by his sacrifice and the gift of the locket, agrees to attend the prom with him.




This is the first film role for Matthew Fox and Matthew McConaughey. Renée Zellweger's only scene was cut from the film.[2]


Critical reception[edit]

Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 14% of 21 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating was 2.9/10.[3] Variety called it "an idiotic offbeat comedy" that "repeats ideas and jokes more effectively used in his 1989 Parents."[4] Stephen Holden of The New York Times wrote, "If My Boyfriend's Back is an irredeemably silly movie, it has an engaging lightness of tone and uniformly impeccable performances by a cast that maintains just the right attitude of deadpan parody."[5] Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times called it "an awful teen horror comedy". Thomas wrote that "has a disastrous tone of sunny sitcom jauntiness" when it should have focused on dark satire.[6] Mark Caro of the Chicago Tribune wrote, "The movie is full of nonsensical plot twists, embarrassingly broad performances and unappealing characters." Caro criticized the casting of Lowery, calling his character "perhaps the least interesting movie zombie ever".[7] Jeff Shannon of the Seattle Times wrote, "Simply put, absolutely none of it works. The movie utterly fails to set a foundation for its dark fantasy, effectively turning every character into a moron."[8] Ty Burr of Entertainment Weekly rated it "D" and compared it negatively to Heathers.[9] Dendle called it the best of the zombie romantic comedy films of the late 1980s and early 1990s but criticized its use of family-friendly themes as "cheesy" and "saccharine".[10]


Academic Peter Dendle identifies the themes of the film as being standard teen film tropes. Dingle's urges to eat his date are a metaphor for teenage sexual activity, and his fear of decomposition is teenage anxiety over acne. As a zombie, Dingle is discriminated against and ostracized, which is meant to show zombies as outsiders.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "My Boyfriend's Back". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 6, 2015.
  2. ^ Lovece, Frank. "Renee Zellweger talks about 'My One and Only'", Newsday, August 26, 2009.
  3. ^ "My Boyfriend's Back (1993)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved February 6, 2015.
  4. ^ "Review: 'My Boyfriend's Back'". Variety. 1993. Retrieved February 6, 2015.
  5. ^ Holden, Stephen (August 6, 1993). "My Boyfriend s Back (1993)". The New York Times. Retrieved February 6, 2015.
  6. ^ Thomas, Kevin (August 6, 1993). "MOVIE REVIEW : 'My Boyfriend's Back': Buried in Sunny Sitcom Jauntiness". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 6, 2015.
  7. ^ Caro, Mark (August 8, 1993). "Grave Issue". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 6, 2015.
  8. ^ Shannon, Jeff (August 6, 1993). "Putrid Humor Is Shameless In `My Boyfriend's Back'". Seattle Times. Retrieved February 6, 2015.
  9. ^ Burr, Ty (August 20, 1993). "My Boyfriend's Back". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 6, 2015.
  10. ^ a b Dendle, Peter (2001). The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia. McFarland & Company. pp. 113–114. ISBN 978-0-7864-9288-6.

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