Greetings fellow movie goers from around the world. Today’s Flashback Review is about a group of kids who go to fat camp called, “Camp Hope” to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Suddenly, a crazed fitness guru wreaks havoc buying Camp Hope making it a living hell for the kids. The plot I’m referring to is from “Heavyweights.”
Heavyweights was released in 1995. (same year Toy Story came out) It received negative reviews from critics. It failed to make money at the box office. Overtime, Heavyweights went on to gain a cult following airing on Disney Channel & sold well at the home video market. I got two reasons why I wanted to review Heavyweights, is because Ben Stiller earned critical acclaim for directing a mini-series on Showtime called, “Escape at Dannemora.” By the way, Captain Marvel is set in 1995 the exact same year Heavyweights came out.
Today’s review doesn’t feature no crucial SPOILERS whatsoever. If you haven’t got a chance to see this film, feel free to read my non–spoiler article.
Fit & Unfit Aspects
Fit: The Main Cast such as Tom McGowan, Paul Feig, (Unaccompanied Minors, Bridesmaids, Spy) Kenan Thompson & Ben Stiller all did a good job for their respective performances. Ben’s performance as Tony Perkis deserves Bonus Points.
Fun Fact: This isn’t the first time Ben played a health crazed fitness guru. Does the movie Dodgeball ring any bells? If so, “You can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball!”
Comedy in this film has some good moments that made me laugh. Some jokes were very sneaky that kids won’t get such as “Put your day finger down!”
A fart scene made me laugh so hard I couldn’t breathe.
The moral of the story is about learning to control your hunger cutting back on sweets in favor of healthy foods & exercising to maintain your weight.
Character Development involving the kids. They learn to control their diet and start taking responsibility for themselves and others.
Tony’s color motif is purple, hence the logo of his fitness company. A bad guy wearing purple like The Joker, Galactus, Mr. Glass or any villain who wears purple, indicates it’s a sign from The Devil.
Jerry Stiller & Anne Meara (Ben’s real-life parents) make brief appearances as the owners of Camp Hope.
Tim Blake Nelson also appears in a small role.
Film producer, Judd Apatow (Anchorman, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Superbad, Pineapple Express) co-wrote the script. He also appears front and center as Kenny. Tony’s personal cameraman.
Judd revealed on the DVD/Blu-Ray commentary that filmmaker, Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights, Magnolia, There Will Be Blood, The Master) told him that Heavyweights is one of his guilty pleasures.
Judd also stated in the commentary he wanted to impress his then girlfriend & later spouse, Leslie Mann by inviting her to a personal screening as part of their first date.
Allen Covert also appears as one of Tony’s lackeys. Although he’s associated with Tony, it’s pretty ironic that he smokes and drinks. I guess Judd Apatow is an actual drinker and smoker. It’s obvious he’s a pothead because he is known for producing Seth Rogen’s movies.
The kids hiding and smuggling junk food is a metaphor for smuggling drugs. Alcohol counts back when it was illegal during The Prohibition Era. As a kid, I never understood the concept of drug smuggling, now that I’m in my 20’s, I finally get hidden message. Oh wait, it’s a Judd Apatow production, known for lead characters as portrayed as heavy drinking dopeheads.
My favorite part of the movie is when Paul Feig shows off his dancing skills.
Cinematography didn’t suffer from Shaky Cam throughout.
The Camp Hope song is sung by The Cast during the end credits. To put the icing on the cake, Paul Feig himself penned the song.
A post-credits scene reveals the fate of one of the characters.
Unfit: Product Placement featuring brands such as Burger King, McDonald’s, Adidas, Sharp TV, Reebok, Sony, Nike & Hershey’s Kiss.
A romance focusing on Pat and a new camp counselor, was forgettable it doesn’t factor into the plot. I would’ve given this flaw an excuse, unless somebody cringed at Pat. Disney’s known for pairing couples unrealistically without proper buildup.
A freeze-frame is used before the end credits roll. I have a pet peeve for cheesy freeze-frames. I tend to make fun of them.
The Final Verdict: B-
Heavyweights is a precursor to Judd Apatow’s produced works, except Heavyweights is a Disney version replacing drugs with junk food. If Heavyweights is a guilty pleasure of yours, go ahead and introduce it to your kids. Trust me, they’re gonna laugh their butts off.