Greetings fellow movie goers from across the globe. Today’s “Flashback Review” is about one of my favorite comedies since childhood starring my favorite Saturday Night Live (SNL for short) funny man, the late Chris Farley in his first leading role as the title character, “Tommy Boy.”
Tommy Boy was released in 1995. (same year Toy Story came out) At the time of its release, the film earned mixed reviews from critics. Roger Ebert listed Tommy Boy as part of his “Most Hated List” of movies.” Overtime, the film went on to become a cult classic on the home video market. The movie helped Chris Farley as a leading man in other movies including “Black Sheep,” “Beverly Hills Ninja” & “Almost Heroes.” Before he tragically died from a drug overdose, Chris was onboard to voice the title character, “Shrek.” His good friend/SNL colleague, Mike Myers took over his role.
The reason why I wanted to review one of my favorite comedies from my childhood, is because the upcoming “Captain Marvel” film is set in 1995, which is the exact same year Tommy Boy came out. By the way, “Spider-Man: Far Far Home” with Peter Parker & Ned Leeds’ friendship is similar to Chris Farley & David Spade’s onscreen chemistry in a road trip adventure comedy.
The following review doesn’t contain any important SPOILERS. If you have never ever ever seen this movie, you’re lucky to read my non-spoiler article.
Positive & Negative Aspects
Positive: Chris Farley & David Spade both did a funny as heck job for their respective performances as Tommy & Richard. Chris also did his own stunts without a body double. He deserves Bonus Points for his first lead role.
Fun Fact: Before David Spade signed on for the film, Chris wanted his good friend/fellow SNL colleague, Adam Sandler for the role as Richard, but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts involving “Billy Madison” & “Airheads.” Chris also had a minor role in both Adam’s movies.
Other Cast Members such as Rob Lowe, Julie Warner, Bo Derek, Dan Aykroyd & Brian Dennehy all did a good job for their respective performances.
The screenplay was written by Former SNL writers, Bonnie Turner & Terry Turner. The married duo created “3rd Rock From The Sun & “That 70’s Show.” They also wrote “Coneheads,” “Wayne’s World” & its sequel.
SNL boss, Lorne Michaels produced the film.
One of the main characters quotes Bumblebee Man’s (from The Simpsons) catchphrase, “Ay Caramba!”
Tommy often said, “Shut Up Richard!” I guess Peter Griffin (from Family Guy) was inspired by Chris Farley. In certain episodes, Peter uses one of his catchphrases, “Shut Up Meg!”
The movie is filled with memorable dialogue cemented as one of the most quotable comedies of all time.
A Plot Twist involving the bad guy’s identity. I can’t tell you who he is, you’re gonna have to see for yourself.
Character Development involving Tommy. As the story progresses, he begins to adapt by gaining responsibility as a grown up.
The film did a subtle jab at “The Little Rascals.” Not the old school shorts from The 20’s-40’s, it’s actually the 1994 motion picture shot in color produced by Steven Spielberg’s company “Amblin Entertainment.” OUCH!
In one scene or two, Tommy does an impression of Captain James T. Kirk’s over-the-top mannerisms from Star Trek. Late Blues Brother, John Belushi (idol of Chris) did a parody of Star Trek as Captain Kirk during his tenure on SNL. Maybe Chris was a fan of Star Trek. Paramount Pictures owns the rights to the Star Trek franchise.
Chemistry between Tommy & Richard served as the main highlight. Their friendship is put to the test, due to the fact Tommy must fulfill responsibility after his father’s death.
Without giving too much away, my favorite part has something to do with singing in a car. I have to give this pro an Extra Point for making me laugh to death. (not literally)
My favorite line from Tommy is, “Maybe you were watching that funny comedian uh what’s his name… (insert two words if you’ve already seen the film) I’ll give this another Extra Point for nearly collapsing my lungs from laughter.
Negative: Product Placement featuring brands such as M&M’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Citgo, Pepsi, Chevrolet, GMC & Midwestern Airlines.
Tommy’s father’s death scene is very sad now that we know Chris Farley died in real life, while Brian Dennehy outlived him.
The Final Verdict: A-
In my opinion, Tommy Boy is still one of my favorite comedies of all time. All the positive things I’ve listed, indicates why it remains a cult classic. If you’re interested in seeing this gem, I highly recommend it. As a critic myself, I don’t understand why it still has mixed reception from several review websites. Tommy Boy ain’t on the same level as “Norm Of The North” or currently kid sitcoms produced by The Disney Channel & Nickelodeon.
R.I.P. Chris Farley. Somewhere in Heaven, you’re making God and many other angels laugh their butts off.