Monday, 30 January 2012

Tommy Boy Review

I'll start out by saying that the acting is bad.  In fact, in spots, it is very bad.  But it wasn't Chris Farley that was bad.  It was the performances by many of the peripheral actors and even David Spade.  But David Spade isn't much of an actor to begin with.  And Rob Lowe and Bo Derek really phoned it in too.  Given that, I don't think Chris Farley got enough credit for his abilities.  I will admit that his range was limited.  The only thing he ever really got a chance to do was play the loveable and hyperactive buffoon.  Sadly, we will never know if he could have made the transition into even more cerebral comedy much less drama.

This is the pinnacle of Farley's work and the movie he will always be known for.  And that's a good thing because it is one of the greatest feel good movies ever made.  I've seen it countless times and it still makes me laugh from start to finish.  I still want to punch Rob Lowe in the face and I still get sad when Brian Dennehy dies.  And I still feel good at the end when the wind starts to blow across the lake.  Because it can do all this, the movie is timeless.  For my money, it ranks right up there with any other classic mid 80s to mid 90s comedy.

And, speaking of which, it is very much of that era.  It's definitely got that feel to it.  That's largely due to the music and costumes though.  The music is that lighthearted score all the way through that feel good movies should have.  It makes the audience smile and enjoy themselves.  And that's really the point after all.

The chemistry and timing between Farley and Spade is classic and it further benefits from some very good writing in their scenes together.  But I think my favourite part of this movie is the little solo bits that Farley gets to do throughout.  Scenes like the crashing model cars, ordering chicken wings, martial arts with the hook conveyor and, my personal favourite, the "Guarantee Fairy" are scenes that you can repeat lines from and laugh about with your friends for a very long time.  And the Direct TV ads were right: Fat Guy In A Little Coat NEVER gets old.  You get the feeling that everyone really fed off his energy through the whole film making process.

See it.  It will never go down as one of the classic films of all time and it shouldn't.  But in its genre, it is among the cream of the crop.  Whether or not you like Farley, you have to admit that they captured something very special with Tommy Boy.

1 comment:

  1. Farley was supposed to star in the adaptation of A Confederacy of Dunces (if you haven't read it, do so). I think that would have been a role that would, under the right direction, have allowed him to stretch, while remaining in his comedy comfort zone. It's a real shame we'll never have the chance to see how that would have gone.