I’m going to put this right out on front street, I watched Heavyweights because some super nice PR people sent me the Blu-ray for review. However, it’s because I was sent the actual press release that I became interested in this film. I don’t know if I would have known that Judd Apatow wrote and produced the flick otherwise. Don’t worry about a tainted review, though, because as it turns out, this is the kind of movie I would have loved if I’d seen it back when it premiered in 1995.
At that time I was around 12 years old and a big, big fan of the first two Mighty Ducks movies and a movie called Camp Nowhere which shares some similar plot points with Heavyweights. Speaking of similarities, Heavyweights shares like four cast members with the Mighty Ducks franchise and was directed by that film’s co-writer Steve Brill.
The movie is about a kid named Gerry who gets sent to fat camp by his parents. The original, easygoing owners of the place — played by Jerry Stiller and Anne Maera — lose ownership very early on to Ben Stiller as the super-into-fitness new owner. Much like his character in Dodgeball, Stiller’s super intense which winds up driving the campers crazy. After one too many injustices, the kids capture Stiller, have a crazy food orgy (that’s actually the title of the chapter on the Blu-ray menu) and then decide to take over their own weight loss, the idea being that you’re not a bad person because you’re heavy, but it’s also not healthy to be heavy. Or something along those lines.
Familiar faces from the camp include Kenan Thompson (Mighty Ducks 2, SNL), Shaun Weiss (Goldberg from Mighty Ducks), Paul Feig (co-creator of a little show called Freaks & Geeks), Jeffrey Tambor (Arrested Development) and even Allen Covert (star of personal favorite Grandma’s Boy). That’s a lot of people from things I already love. There’s a lot of other people in the movie too, many of which I was reminded of and updated on by the Where Are They Now feature on the Blu-ray. That was but one of the many special features I checked out. I was also a fan of the Skype conversation between Apatow and Thompson where the former interviewed the latter on his experience during filming. I also really liked the shot-when-the-film-was-shot Making Of featurette. I assume it was shot for Disney Channel or something along those lines because it features interviews with guys like Stiller, Apatow and director Brill. I haven’t had a chance to check out the Super 8 footage, the deleted/extended scenes or the audio commentary, but I’m excited to get to them.
At the end of the day, I had a pretty great time watching this movie. It’s hard to watch a movie for kids and place it within your already existing pantheon of childhood favorites, but I think I would have liked this movie a lot. So, if you already dug this movie, definitely pick up the Blu-ray and dive into the special features after watching the pristine-looking film. If you’re not already fan, but like 90s kid comedies along the lines of Mighty Ducks, I’d recommend giving this one a rent.