You Have to See This! Tommy Boy (1995)

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Chris Farley would have been sixty this year had he not sadly passed away at the young age of thirty three. One of the best cast members of the iconic late night comedy show “Saturday Night Live,” Farley was looking up at a promising second chapter in feature films. Farley was very much loyal to SNL and only made small cameos in movies featuring his “SNL” co-workers. And although they were small, Farley had the tendency to make the best out of his small roles. Whether it’s the maniacal bus driver in “Billy Madison,” the lovable Ronnie in “Coneheads,” or Milton in “Wayne’s World 2,” Farley was skilled enough to know that there were no small roles, just small actors.

Farley did begin seeking his fortune in feature films headlining perhaps the best film he’s ever been in: “Tommy Boy.”

The 1995 buddy comedy where he co-starred with “SNL” co-star David Spade is a showcase for everything great that Farley brought to comedy. “Tommy Boy” garners Farley being about as over the top as he was famed for, but he also presents an admirable vulnerability that made him so lovable and charming. Although a lot of critics just wrote him off as a loud, oafish, bumbling cliché, Farley was so popular because through the pratfalls and screeches, you could identify with his boyish charm and ability to connect with any audience.

With “Tommy Boy” he plays a less than intelligent college graduate named Tommy who returns to his small town to help his wealthy father Big Tom (played by Brian Dennehy) run his automotive factory. Tommy is surprised when he returns to discover his dad is marrying the gorgeous (Bo Derek), and he attempts to connect by bonding with her adult son and potential step brother Paul. After Big Tom dies from an unexpected heart attack, Tommy faces the potential shut down of the company. In an effort to save his town and his dad’s legacy he decides to help sell his company’s new brake pads.

Tasked with tagging along is his less than willing friend Richard, a young up and comer in the company who loathes Tommy. Despite his resentment the pair go on the road and get in to all kinds of hilarious mishaps. David Spade and Chris Farley were a shockingly great team together and they played off of each other very well. Farley’s loud and unabashed comedy paired wonderfully with Spade’s smarminess and quick wit. Most of the film revolves around Tommy and Richard experiencing all kinds of hilarious scenes including a confrontation with a dead deer, a very funny sing along session set to classic seventies music, and of course “Fat Guy in Little Coat.”
“Tommy Boy” has a lot of what fans loved about Chris Farley, as he takes what could have been a shrill and unlikable protagonist and gradually brings us over to his side. He’s spent his entire life being coddled by his dad’s wealth and now has to actually work to keep his life in tact, and it’s an interesting coming of age journey for Tommy. There are also the classic hallmarks of any movie related to SNL as former cast member Dan Akroyd makes an appearance in the finale, while frequent collaborator Rob Lowe has fun mostly reacting to Farley’s physical acts. Honestly, Lowe pretty much plays Benjamin Kane from “Wayne’s World” all over again, but he squeezes by thanks to his chemistry with his co-stars.

“Tommy Boy” deep down is a bittersweet look at a lovable guy just trying to find the best out of life who is woefully underestimated when all is said and done. It is a lot like Farley’s career. He had huge potential to be a humongous comedy star, but for a great glimpse “Tommy Boy” remains that immortal look in to comedian and the man known as Chris Farley.

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