Sunday, January 25, 2009

Heavyweights: The funniest film you've never seen...

We're all familiar with the hit comedies from Judd Apatow: "The 40 year old virgin", "Knocked Up", "Superbad", "Forgetting Sarah Marshall", "Pineapple Express", "Heavyweights".
"Heavyweights"??? Wait a second you've never heard of or seen "Heavyweights"?
I don't blame you. But this situation should be rectified immediately. "Heavyweights" was one of Apatow's early writing gigs and is probably one of the funniest kid movies ever made, but unfortunately it never did get a chance to find a solid audience during its original theatrical run. Released by Walt Disney Pictures back in 1995 during a time when their live action comedies where not generating much revenue the film came and went with very little promotional push from its distributor. "Heavyweights" featured a great cast of comedic actors such as Ben Stiller as the health obsessed camp mogul Tony Perkis and Stiller's parents, Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara as the lovable couple who founded Camp Hope, a summer haven for overweight boys. Jeffrey Tambor, Tom McGowan, and future "Freaks and Geeks" creator Paul Feig co-star. Right off the bat you can tell this is not your typical Disney flick and you will recognize the Apatow sense of humor from the very first scene taking place during the last day of school.

Lovable troublemakers Josh (Shaun Weiss), Gerry (Aaron Scwartz), and Roy (Keenan Thompson).

Not only are the adult performers top notch but the casting of the kids is also perfect. One of the problems with kids programming these days, specially Disney's plethora of trendy teen crap like "High School Musical" and "Hannah Montana" is that the kids never really come across as real. They are fake, shallow, and just plain obnoxious. That's not the case here at all. These kids are actually funny, endearing, and enjoyable to watch. They truly remind us of what we were like during our teenage years. Most people forget that the majority of kids growing up are nothing like the teen divas and the pretty boys we see in High School Musical.
The boys from "Heavyweights" actually have brains and opinions and they act on them. They stand for more than glamour and popularity. Nowadays that's very refreshing to watch.

Tony Perkis (Ben Stiller) shows the boys at Camp Hope the power of mind over body.

Some of these kids went on to successful acting careers such as Keenan Thompson (Roy) who later went on to star in multiple Nickelodeon shows like "Keenan & Kel" and is now a cast member on SNL. Shaun Weiss (Josh) also went on to a successful TV career with recurring roles on shows such as "Boy meets world", "The King of Queens", and the Apatow produced masterpiece "Freaks and Geeks".

The swinging boys from Camp Hope.

The movie features everything a kid could want including a massive food bacchanal, and torture through electrocution. "Heavyweights" is out as a barebones DVD with no special features whatsoever. If you can't find it head on over to youtube where you can watch it now thanks to some brave soul who posted it recently. Don't waste any time since the wrath of Disney will soon come striking down on this. Enjoy.


djtitoflow said...

Disney has gone down the toilet!! Tv wise and in movies too. The fact that they ignore an epic comedy like this and make crap like high school musical is revolting. Theres real humor here, great actors [they got the whole friggin stiller family!!!] and no lame dancing or anyone with the last name cyrus in it. Theres no going back for disney! viva apatow! and viva Kenan!

Melissa said...

Hee Hee! This movie is very funny! A little bit O' trivia.... I used to live in Asheville NC and right around the time they were filming this (actually casting extras I guess) My next door neighbor at the time was chosen as an extra! He is the soccer goalie in the coonskin cap and is listed in the credits as "Robert E. Spencer III"

Anonymous said...

I will always remember Shaun Weiss as Goldberg from The Mighty Ducks.


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