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Paramount Home Video presents
Tommy Boy: Holy Schnike Edition (Blu-Ray) (1995)

"I swear I've seen a lot of stuff in my life, but that was... awesome!"
- Tommy (Chris Farley)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: December 15, 2008

Stars: Chris Farley, David Spade
Other Stars: Bo Derek, Brian Dennehy, Rob Lowe, Dan Aykroyd, Julie Warner, Zach Grenier
Director: Peter Segal

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sex-related humor, some drug content, nudity
Run Time: 01h:36m:55s
Release Date: December 16, 2008
UPC: 097361397146
Genre: comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B B+B-B B

DVD Review

Film review by Chuck Aliaga.

The unfortunate list of great comedians that leave us too soon continues to grow, seemingly on a yearly basis. The latest addition was little-known stand-up genius Mitch Hedberg, who supposedly succumbed to drug abuse like so many others have. One of the more prominent names on this list is Chris Farley, the rotund comedian and Saturday Night Live alumni who passed away in 1997. Out of all of these unfortunate souls, Farley most reminded us of John Belushi, with both his career path and his addictions practically mirroring that comedy legend.

Farley's first and easily best film is 1995's Tommy Boy. He really gets the chance to cut loose, letting his craziness (which he already wore on his sleeve) run rampant. Whether his complete lack of inhibition was a result of drug and alcohol abuse at the time is irrelevant, as Farley commands attention at all times when he's on the screen. He had me rolling on the floor along with him during a few scenes, using his physical comedy skills to garner a bunch of laughs as well.

Tommy Callahan, Jr. (Farley) is next in line to take over his Tommy Sr.'s (Brian Dennehy) auto parts business. However, Tommy is too busy partying at college (he's on the "seven-year plan") to bother strengthening his business skills. When he finally graduates, he goes to work for his dad, taking a very laid-back position. No sooner is he at work than he learns that his father is going to marry the beautiful Beverly (Bo Derek, still incredibly sexy after all these years), who has a son of her own, Paul (Rob Lowe).

While Tommy and his father are dancing at the big guy's wedding reception, Sr. suddenly has a heart attack and dies. Tommy, naturally, is very upset about the loss of his father, but he doesn't have much time to mourn after he learns that the company is in trouble thanks to having taken on a new brake pads division. Much of the board wants to sell the company to corporate honcho Ray Zalinsky (Dan Aykroyd), but Tommy wants his family to maintain ownership. His only hope is to go on the road with his dad's right-hand man, Richard Hayden (David Spade), to move enough auto parts to handle a loan that is the key to the survival of the business.

This sounds like a pretty elaborate plot for such a zany comedy, but it's very easy to follow and mainly serves as a structure for a series of hilarious set pieces. There are numerous standout bits, including a sequence where Tommy and Richard are attacked by a deer. Watching this four-legged animal get the upper hand in a hoove-fight is hysterical, but my personal favorite bits involve the duo at various hotels along their trip. These scenes include the infamous "Fat Guy in a Little Coat" song, and Richard's impression of an Asian housekeeper.

It's not much of a surprise that Farley is as good as he is, but it's great to see many other fine performances from the likes of Dennehy, Derek, and even Lowe, who plays a sleazeball similar to the one he made memorable in Wayne's World. The big shock is David Spade's performance. Not only is he the Abbott to Farley's Costello, but he can switch his tone from subdued to manically annoyed with ease, always making the different moods believable. Nearly all of Spade's starring roles are plain annoying, but working with Farley (in this and Black Sheep), Spade is completely in his element and might even fool a few people into believing that he is a great comedic actor.

Tommy Boy is about as formulaic a comedy/buddy movie as you'll find, but you won't care a lick. You'll just be too busy laughing, with the mixture of Farley's slapstick and Spade's feeble attempts to focus on their business mission keeping the film running on all cylinders. Even though Chris Farley's filmography wasn't as expansive as it could have been, at least his gave us Tommy Boy, and I can't think of a better project to remember him by.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: The AVC encoded 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer certainly bests previous SD releases, though this remains far from a stellar BD achievement. While colors and fleshtones appear consistently warm, there is a lack of that exceptionally detailed sort of image clarity that Blu-Ray can provide. Instead we're left with generally softer edges and nighttime sequences that fail to deliver a drastically enhanced degree of definition. Aside from a number of moments where small bits of dirt are evident (see the father/son sequence between Dennehy and Farley just before the wedding for one of the most glaring examples), there aren't any major complaints; it is just falls well below average.

Image-wise this is an improvement over earlier incarnations, but hardly the crown jewel of the format.

Image Transfer Grade: B-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Frenchyes
Dolby Digital
TruHD
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Gone is the 2.0 English mix found on the SD release. Here the main choice is offered in 5.1 Dolby TrueHD. Voice clarity is fine, sounding not all that much different from the previous Dolby Digital 5.1 mix; the only element that gets a slight boost is the music. Surround cues are minimal, though not entirely unexpected for this type of film. The scenes that do need to deliver a bit more multi-channel substance are the rarity, but when required, they do so cleanly.

Dubs in Spanish (5.1) and French (2.0) are also included.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
19 TV Spots/Teasers
27 Deleted Scenes
1 Documentaries
3 Featurette(s)
Storyboard
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Peter Segal
Packaging: standard Blu-ray packaging
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Gag Reel
  2. Photo Gallery
Extras Review: The extras are identical to the SD Holy Schnike Edition, though the film's theatrical trailer is presented in HD. There's an audio commentary from director Peter Segal, as well as a block of four featurettes.

Tommy Boy: Behind the Laughter runs 29 minutes and takes a comprehensive look at the making of the film. It has new interviews from just about everyone involved, from Segal to David Spade, with much time being spent on their experiences with Farley. Stories from the Side of the Road is 13 minutes long and is full of more new interviews with Segal and company, with most of the focus on the technical aspects of the shoot. Just the Two of Us is a nine-minute mixture of old and new footage of Farley and Spade speaking together.

The most moving piece is Growing Up Farley, a seven-minute look at the Farley brothers—Chris, Kevin, and John. Kevin and John reflect on what it was like growing up together, and spend much of the time poking fun at Chris instead of focusing on his death, which is nice to see.

A collection of storyboard comparisons provide an in-depth look at seven different scenes. Twenty-seven additional scenes feature a nice blend of bits that were cut completely out of the film, along with a few alternate takes and extended moments.

Also included are a gag reel, a photo gallery, 19 TV spots, and the original theatrical trailer, presented in HD. The film is cut into 24 chapters, with optional subtitles in English, English SDH, French, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Extras Grade: B

 

Final Comments

This sure isn't high art, but as the first bigscreen pairing of Chris Farley and David Spade, it does represent a silly high water mark for 1990s comedies. A solid cast helps flesh this one out in a number of ways, but it's really all hinged on the wacky banter between Farley and Spade, and they make this one funny.

Does the Blu-Ray release necessitate an upgrade? With no new extras and an image transfer that is simply nice (without being exceptional in any way), it's a tough call. As with the BD release of titles like Into The Wild, Event Horizon and Ghost, Paramount is offering a $10 rebate if you already own the SD version.

 


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