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Paramount Home Video presents
"Luke, I am your father!"
DVD ReviewThe 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: A-
Image Transfer Review: This 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is virtually identical to the look of the previous DVD. Images are sharp and detailed for the most part, but a bit of softness does appear from time to time. The colors are nice, but nothing special, however, there wasn't any bleeding or other discrepancies to annoy. Shadow and black levels were handled well and precisely, especially during the night sequences.
Image Transfer Grade: B+
Audio Transfer Review: There is a pair of audio options, but the Dolby Digital 5.1 gets the nod over the low-key, 2.0 mix. This is a basic comedic soundtrack that is heavy on upbeat music that makes its presence felt on the surround speakers. The dialogue is never overcome by this music, and each funny line is crisp and always easy to understand.
Audio Transfer Grade: B
Disc ExtrasFull Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
6 Other Trailer(s) featuring Airplane!: Don't Call Me Shirley Edition, MacGyver: The Complete First Season, The John Wayne Collection, George Lopez: Why Are You Crying?, The Warriors: Ultimate Director's Cut, The Longest Yard: Lockdown Edition
19 TV Spots/Teasers
27 Deleted Scenes
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Director Peter Segal
Packaging: Keep Case
Disc 2 features the rest of the goodies, beginning with four featurettes. The first, 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 and those that were Alternate Takes or Extended Scenes.
This is followed by a hilarious, four-minute gag reel, featuring Farley at his funniest. Things finish up with a photo gallery, 19 TV spots, and the original theatrical trailer.
Extras Grade: A
Final CommentsFinally getting its proper due on DVD, this two-disc Holy Schnike Edition is a rare, easy decision whether to double-dip on a movie. Even if you have the previous, single-disc edition, a true fan of the film owes it to themselves to pick this one up. The audio and video presentations don't improve much over the first release, but there are many more extras this time around.
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