"Heavyweights" Might Be Best Left In Memory Review

“It’s a fat camp!  Are you kidding?”

School's out for summer and, for some kids, that means camp.  Gerry (Aaron Schwartz) is 11 years old (and unaccountably in high school) and his parents are sending him to Camp Hope.  The pathetic promo video starts off weak, but the promise of a big bouncy thing in the middle of a lake and go-cart races are intriguing.  Then he sees the campers—they’re fat.  It’s a fat camp.  Gerry ain’t interested but his father (Jeffrey Tambor), who is clearly a bit ashamed of his son’s weight, makes him go.  Things start off fine.  He meets a few veteran campers like Roy (Kenan Thompson) and Josh (Shaun Weiss) as well as camp counselors Pat (Tom McGowan) and Tim (Paul Feig) and they’re all pretty cool and provide a safe, no-bullying summer.  But when the Bushkins (Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara) lose the camp in bankruptcy (Chapter 9, which is actually for municipalities, but never mind), it’s sold to the psychotic Tony Perkis (Ben Stiller) who turns the camp into no-fun weight loss program.

Heavyweights (1995), directed by Steven Brill and written by Brill (who also wrote The Mighty Ducks (1992)) and Judd Apatow (his first written feature film) is a Disney movie from the mid-90’s.  Remember Man of the House (1995)?  Camp Nowhere (1994) (Hollywood Pictures)?  Little Giants (1994) (Warner Bros.)?  It was a different time then.  Movies catering to tweens weren’t fantasy films or (too) inappropriately romantic.  The only fantasy provided was the little guys won and everyone could be cool and there was nothing funnier than kicking someone in the balls.  Or, in Heavyweights’ case, farting in someone’s face.  For a semi-mature adult, it was just this side of entertaining, but for the young it was very funny and fun.  Something may have been lost in the over-raunchying of youth-oriented comedy.

If you want this, you probably loved it.  I would only recommend this to those who wish to keep their child on healthier fun fair from birth to middle teenship.  Otherwise, time has already faded its appeal.  This one time, a friend of mine wanted to watch The Goonies (1985).  I said, “Dude, it’s not going to be funny anymore.”  “No way, man,” he said, “it’s the funniest movie ever.”  He was wrong.  Heavyweights isn’t The Goonies-bad, but you understand the point.  Memory betrays.

Bonus Features

Trailers and advertisements, Audio commentary, Making of Featurette, Deleted and Extended scenes, “Where are they now?” (they’re all thinner, reminisce about the movie, but I still don’t know where they are), Video chat between Judd Apatow and Kenan Thompson (another reminiscence), Super 8 camera footage on set (pointless), Judd’s Art project (pictures of him pulling an angry face—pointless), and a theatrical trailer.

"Heavyweights" is on sale December 11, 2012 and is rated PG. Comedy. Directed by Steven Brill. Written by Steven Brill, Judd Apatow. Starring Aaron Schwartz, Ben Stiller, Kenan Thompson, Paul Feig, Shaun Weiss, Tom Mcgowan.

Jason Ratigan • Staff Writer

A lawyer-turned-something-else with a strong appreciation for film and television.  He knows he can't read every great book ever written, but seeing every good movie ever made is absolutely doable.  Check out his other stuff on Wordpress.


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