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The boys are back and they're bigger than ever in the gut-busting, all-new Holy Schnike Edition! Crack-up comedians Chris Farley and David Spade star as two ne'er-do-well traveling salesmen who hit the road in order to save the family business in this "infectiously funny" (Gary Arnold, The Washington Times), larger-than-life movie.
For more about Tommy Boy and the Tommy Boy Blu-ray release, see Tommy Boy Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on December 18, 2008 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Chris Farley, David Spade, Bo Derek, Brian Dennehy, Dan Aykroyd, Rob Lowe
Director: Peter Segal
» See full cast & crew
Tommy Boy Blu-ray Review
Hit the road and pick up a copy of 'Tommy Boy' on Blu-ray.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, December 18, 2008
I swear I've seen a lot of stuff in my life, but that...was...awesome!
Tommy Boy plays out in what is (or at least was for its time) cinematic comedy convention, but it does so with plenty of heart, humor, and spunk, not to mention several standout performances and a great script, and the result is one of the better comedies of the 1990s. Made before the influx of raunchy teen comedies that have become the standard bearer of the genre, this 1995 film has aged very well, still playing as fresh and funny as ever, and remains one of the last vestiges of great comedy before the genre's rapid decline over the past decade. In the spirit of some of the better films of one of the genre's best eras, Tommy Boy is a road trip movie in the tradition of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, and a touching film of self-discovery with comedic overtones.
Thomas R. Callahan III (Chris Farley, Beverly Hills Ninja), affectionately known as "Tommy Boy," is a recent graduate of Marquette University, capping off his college career with a barely-passing grade of D+ in history. Returning to his blue-collar hometown of Sandusky, Ohio, Tommy receives a warm welcome from the employees of his father's (Brian Dennehy, First Blood) auto parts plant. Tommy is given an office and is poised to one day take over his father's position. That day comes all too soon when his father passes away at his own wedding, leaving Tommy in charge of the company. To keep the business afloat, Tommy and his father's right-hand man, Richard (David Spade, The Benchwarmers), set out on a trip through the upper midwest in hopes of selling an advanced brake pad his father just developed, a part, it is hoped, that will revolutionize the auto industry. The trip sees poor results as the pair bumble their way through sales pitches, but with the fate of several hundred workers at stake, this odd couple must not only struggle with accepting each other's attitudes and business acumen (or lack thereof) on the road, but they must also ultimately deal with a clandestine power grab back home, stemming from a most surprising source.
Tommy Boy works as well as it does due to its terrific ensemble cast and excellent leads. Chris Farley and David Spade make movie magic as two mismatched partners trying to keep the Callahan family auto parts business alive. The two find themselves on the opposite ends of the spectrum physically, mentally, and emotionally. The slimmer, smarter, and more level-headed Richard is the perfect foil to the overweight, dense, goofy, yet sweet and well meaning Tommy. Tommy is a fantastic character whose essence is captured wonderfully by the late Chris Farley. Perhaps something of a typical character, the goofy, none-too-smart, overweight Tommy, whose heart is twice the size of his waistline, is nevertheless a memorable and honest character, a combination that more than anything else the movie has to offer -- particularly its great script and solid direction from Peter Segal (Get Smart) -- makes it so good. Farley's delivery of his lines and the physical gags that so often accompany them are perfect. His journey throughout the film is subtle; the abuse he takes, particularly from Richard, not to mention his initial failures as a salesman, leave him down but never knocked out. Tommy is depicted as a fighter, someone who learns from his mistakes, embraces his shortcomings, and uses everything he has to his advantage, even if it means plenty of mental, verbal, and physical lapses along the way.
David Spade also delivers a more subtle but almost as impressive performance as the nerdy Richard, who, despite his own various shortcomings, sees fit to oftentimes bluntly poke fun at Tommy. Richard learns, however, to see past the physical and mental shortcomings of his new partner, instead coming to admire all Tommy has to offer the world. The film also features two fine actors in supporting roles. Dan Aykroyd is great in his cameo role as the head of a rival auto parts conglomerate, and Brian Dennehy turns in a typically first-class performance as Tommy's father. His character's death comes suddenly and is one that momentarily turns the movie on its head, dramatically shifting the tone from lighthearted fun to a palpable sense of sadness. The loss effects audiences as much as it does Tommy, showing just how effective a turn of events it is, another tribute to the film's far better-than-average script. Tommy Boy does a great job of making Dennehy's character incredibly likable, a man who sees past Tommy's shortcomings that Richard so dwells on, showing the power of love and respect for character, charisma, and heart, rather than some external flaws that mean little next to his gentle soul. Farley handles the scenes that follow with dignity and realism, pouring on the emotion, capturing the feeling of loss perfectly, and demonstrating a broader range than just his natural comedic style.
Tommy Boy Blu-ray, Video Quality
Paramount presents Tommy Boy on Blu-ray with a 1080p, 1.78:1-framed transfer. The movie might not be the brightest, sharpest, or most detailed, but it looks very nice on Blu-ray, with a good, enjoyable, film-like appearance about it. Everything about the transfer is above average, but not great. There are spots and speckles that pop up frequently throughout, particularly early on in the film. There is an appreciable sense of depth to some of the imagery, particularly during various exterior shots, even through the many Ohio backdrops that are somewhat drab and overcast. Detail is solid yet unspectacular. Some background details are soft in appearance, but such occurrences are never much of a hinderance to the enjoyment of the film. Black levels and flesh tones are solid. Comedies like Tommy Boy are all about the laughs, and a high quality presentation almost seems like gravy. To that end, Tommy Boy delivers a suitable high definition visual experience.
Tommy Boy Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Tommy Boy graduates to a lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack for this Blu-ray release. As expected, it's nothing extraordinary, but it gets the job done well enough. Dialogue is adequately reproduced, emanating from the center channel with nary a hiccup. While this mix is mostly front heavy, a few good, discrete effects travel throughout the rear soundstage in several scenes. The soundtrack also plays very well across the front. The score spreads out to the front left and right channels, as does the popular music, both of which are reproduced with nice fidelity and clarity. There just isn't a whole lot going on here. The soundtrack is never a detriment to the film, and the lossless mix adds some clarity and vitality to what is a mostly front-heavy, basic sound design that is suitable for this style of filmmaking.
Tommy Boy Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Paramount brings Tommy Boy to Blu-ray with several fine supplements. First up is a commentary track featuring director Peter Segal. The director provides a solid track that is easy to listen to, spending plenty of time discussing Chris Farley, the script, the additional cast members, shooting locales, and more. However, he does fall into the trap of just watching the movie and laughing at various scenes, but there is enough here that fans should enjoy the experience. Also included are a series of storyboard comparisons (480p, 13:54) for seven different scenes, playing the final cut of the film alongside the hand-drawn storyboards that depict the same scene. Next up are a series of deleted (480p, 6:43), extended (480p, 22:19), and alternate (480p, 4:18) scenes. Also available is a Tommy Boy photo gallery.
Four featurettes are also included. Tommy Boy: Behind the Laughter (480p, 29:08) looks at the origins of the picture, the acting careers of the stars, the evolution of the film, the originality and vitality the actors brought to their roles, the film's legacy, and more. Stories From the Side of the Road (480p, 13:31) looks at the origins of some of the film's gags and the improvisations the actors brought to their roles. Just the Two of Us (480p, 9:46) looks at the chemistry shared between Farley and Spade. Growing Up Farley (480p, 7:29) features Chris' brothers John and Kevin recalling some of their favorite memories from their childhood. Concluding this supplemental package is a gag reel (480p, 4:16), a series of TV spots (480p, 7:37), and the film's theatrical trailer (1080p, 2:28).
Tommy Boy Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Tommy Boy makes for an enjoyable little ride that is always pleasant, easy on the eyes, scintillating on the funny bone, and very sweet in just the right dosage. Chris Farley and David Spade share wonderful on-screen chemistry, devouring a script that hits all the right notes at just the right time, and Farley's comedic genius shines through in what is easily his best picture. Farley was lost far too early. He was well on his way to becoming one of the greats of his generation, carrying on in the legacy of John Candy, not just in stature but in his ability to perfectly capture the finest of nuances in his vocal and physical abilities as a comedian. Paramount has done well by the Blu-ray release of this comedy classic, delivering suitable high definition audio and video and a fine selection of bonus materials. Fans can rest assured that this is currently the best way to experience Tommy Boy at home, and Paramount has priced it to sell. Easily recommended.
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