Film review by Gordon Justesen
Technical specs by Michael Jacobson
Chris Farley, David Spade, Bo Derek, Brian Dennehy
Director: Peter Segal
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Features: See Review
Length: 97 Minutes
Release Date: December 16, 2008
called reading. Top to bottom, left to right. A group of words together is
called a SENTENCE.”
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.
was checkin’ the specs on the inline of the…rotary…girder…I’m
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.
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?”
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.
you were watching a movie with that funny comedian. Oh what’s his name, Buddy
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 more than 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.
This is a commendable effort from Paramount...the nature of the film doesn't make too many demands on high definition, but the 1080p transfer makes the images clearer and crisper than ever, and gives the colors a more natural looking appearance. There is a touch of noticeable grain on the print here and there, but nothing distracting.
Likewise, there isn't much in the way of effects for an uncompressed audio track, but the TrueHD offering is fairly dynamic, with cleanly delivered dialogue and a few comical effects here and there to get the rear channels into play.
The extras include
a commentary track with director Peter Segal and four 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 19 TV
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 Blu-ray release serves a good reason for comedy lovers everywhere to add this to their collection.