Holy Schnike Edition

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Chris Farley, David Spade, Bo Derek, Brian Dennehy
Director: Peter Segal
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Surround, French Dolby Surround
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Studio: Paramount
Features: See Review
Length: 97 Minutes
Release Date: August 30, 2005

“Mr. Callahan, I need your John Hancock on these reports.”

“John Hancock…It’s HERBIE Hancock.”

Film ***1/2

There are certain movies that one rates not by how well it was made, or how tightly constructed the plot is, but how happy you feel after watching it. For me, Tommy Boy will always one of those movies. Here is a movie with a fairly predictable plot, but with more gut-busting laughs than any one movie should be allowed to contain.

But there is a difficulty in watching the movie; watching the zany and lovable Chris Farley and remembering at the same time that he was taken from us too soon. Farley, despite the extreme slams he got from critics, was a most funny actor/comedian, even if his body structure played a big role in the laughs he got. Without question, Tommy Boy is the movie he should be remembered for.

Pairing Farley with David Spade resulted in one of the funniest odd pairings in any comedy. Spade’s straight man, and priceless sarcasm, was a downright perfect match to Farley’s frenetic dim bulb. Despite their ill-fated follow up to this movie, Black Sheep, there’s no doubt that Farley and Spade would’ve gone on to make more and more funny movies had things turned out differently.

“I was checkin’ the specs on the inline of the…rotary…girder…I’m retarded.”

Farley is in full comic mode as Tommy Callahan, the sweet but intelligence-lacking son of a highly respected auto company president, Big Tom (Brian Dennehy). Graduating from college after seven sweet years, Tommy returns to his home in Sandusky, Ohio, where his father has an office waiting for him at his company. He may not have the brains, but his father has thoughtfully stuck to the idea that his auto factory always has, and always be a family-operated firm.

Ordered to keep an eye on Tommy until he gets his feet wet is Richard Hayden (Spade), who nonetheless feels forced against his will. Then the unexpected happens when Big Tom keels over and dies from a heart attack, leaving the future of the company in Tommy’s hands. Needless to say, the rest of the company fears the end of its existence in the workplace.

As it turns out, the company is in danger of going under unless Tommy can help to sell a new line of brake pads to as many auto part shops as possible. Soon, he and the put-upon Richard hit the road to get the pads sold. But there’s a couple of problems; Tommy’s never had an ounce of selling experience and Richard’s sarcasm tends to rub customers the wrong way.

“Hey, I’ll tell you what. You can get a good look at a butcher’s ass by sticking your head up there, but wouldn’t you rather take his word for it?”

Meanwhile, Tommy’s future stepmother, Beverly (Bo Derek), along with her hoodlum son, Paul (Rob Lowe), are trying to sabotage the company and gain every penny promised to her from the deceased boss in his will. Even with feeble-brained Tommy out on the road trying to save the company, the devious mother and son upgrade their sneaky plan even further. When they get word that Tommy makes a first big sell, Paul attempts to falsify shipments through computer fraud.

For our two heroes, the art of selling brake pads and the road itself prove to be hard as hell to master. As if Tommy’s selling strategies leave much to be desired, Richard’s car seems to be the biggest victim of all. Among the car problems that occur, the two hit a deer (which then awakens in their back seat), the driver side car door falls off upon being opened, and the hood flies right off while speeding down a freeway. In other words, a fully loaded array of classic visual gags.

Soon it hits Tommy and Richard that their biggest sell lie in the hands of Ray Zalinsky (Dan Aykroyd), the Auto Part King. Even though he is the one trying to buy Tommy’s auto outlet, he feels confident to convince him otherwise. After making a series of successful sells, the two hit Chicago to make the sale of a lifetime to Mr. Zalinsky.

“Maybe you were watching a movie with that funny comedian. Oh what’s his name, Buddy WHACKETT?”

So it be should noted that if you’re looking something anything resembling provocative, you’re simply going to miss the point of this movie. Can a comedy succeed even with the most predictable of plots? Why, yes-most indeed. Tommy Boy is a movie loaded with laughs in every single scene, thanks to the flawless personas of Farley and Spade.

Over the last decade, several of the movies with alums of Saturday Night Live, such as Farley, Spade and Adam Sandler, tend to succeed just on the quality of laughs. Some succeed and others fail miserably. Tommy Boy is unquestionably one of the more successful movies in this regard.

What’s more, the movie is still as funny as ever ten years down the road. It’s one of the comedies that no matter how many times you watch it, it never wears out. I’d even go so far to say that like some of the all time great comedies, like Airplane and The Blues Brothers, that it plays even better if you’re in the downest of moods. Watch Tommy Boy, and you’ll be cheered up in a heartbeat.

Video ***1/2

“It’s called reading. Top to bottom, left to right. A group of words together is called a SENTENCE. Take Tylenol for headaches, Midol for cramps.”

Paramount delivers the visual goods, once again, with this re-issued release. The anamorphic picture is thoroughly clear and crisp, resulting in nice enhancement of various location shots. Colors are nicely handled, and overall detail is most outstanding. Despite a case of print mark flashes, which don’t even begin to distract, this is a most top-notch presentation.

Audio ***

“UGGGH! I can actually hear you getting fatter.”

The 5.1 mix serves this screwball comedy terrifically well. Music playback is especially strong, as are sequences of physical pratfalls. Dialogue delivery is truly clear as a bell. For a simple comedy, this is a quite a dynamic listen.

Features ****


This new 2-Disc Edition, dubbed the “Holy Schnike” edition, includes a bellyful of extras, along with a terrific slipcover packaging.

Disc One includes a commentary track with director Peter Segal and bonus previews.

Disc Two contains 4 all new featurettes; “Tommy Boy: Behind the Laughter”, “Stories From the Side of the Road”, “Just the Two of Us”, and “Growing Up Farley”. Also featured are 6 Deleted Scenes, 6 Alternate Takes, 7 Storyboard Comparisons, 15 Extended Scenes, a Gag Reel and Photo Gallery, a theatrical trailer and 16 TV spots.


Tommy Boy is nothing more than a huge, frenetic laugh fest, but a magnificent one at that. The team of David Spade and the late Chris Farley strike tremendous comedy gold with this one, and this new 2-Disc Holy Schnike Edition serves a good reason for comedy lovers everywhere to add this to their collection.

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