‘IF’ Director John Krasinski Swears His New Film Is Not Inspired By 90s Cult Favorite ‘Drop Dead Fred’

IF I Drop Dead
Rik Mayall as Drop Dead Fred (1991) & Steve Carell as an IF (2024)

Every film derives an amount of influence from something that came before – or one at least bears a likeness to another piece of cinema. In a time of endless sequels and remakes, this is also true of movies that try to be wholly original.

What IF Ryan
Ryan Reynolds and Cailey Fleming in IF (2024), Paramount Pictures

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Take the upcoming family film IF from John Krasinski, and its focus on children and their imaginary friends, for example. Some are beginning to notice its resemblance to a zany comedy that’s over three decades old by the name of Drop Dead Fred.

Less kid-friendly than what Krasinski is putting out, Drop Dead Fred is a 1991 surrealist black comedy about a woman (Phoebe Cates) dominated by her mother who endures the life-altering return of her childhood playmate (late British comedian Rik Mayall) only she can see and hear.

Drop Dead Pitts
Lan Pitts (pittsed_off) on X

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He turns out to be far too real, causing chaos that upends all her plans and obligations, but with a favorable dividend. Ultimately, he and his hijinx give her the courage to set herself free from everything – and everyone – holding her back all her life.

Rated PG-13, DDF was on the edgier side for its time and in many ways far ahead of it. The film dealt with a lot of sensitive and grown-up topics like mental health, domineering parents, toxic relationships, and arrested development.

Drop Dead lily
@chazawag on X

Still, there are those (myself included) who saw the movie with all its adult situations, suspenseful moments, and wild-though-brief homages to body horror at a tender age – and never forgot it. Krasinski, as a 90s lad, fits that bill.

At the IF red carpet, he was asked about the similarities and indirectly copped to seeing DDF once upon a time. However, while he admitted he loved that film, Krasinski denied taking any inspiration from it, saying the idea for IF came from his kids.

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“Not really, other than I like that movie. No, this was all done for, and inspired by, my kids,” said Krasinski when asked before his movie comes out on May 17th.

Drop Dead Fred probably isn’t returning to theaters anytime soon to the delight of its fan base, but it is on Blu-ray from both Vinegar Syndrome and Final Cut and available digitally.

How to ruin a date
Imaginary friend (Rik Mayall) tries to ruin a date in Drop Dead Fred (1991), New Line Cinema

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