A Disney movie where Ben Stiller runs a fat camp? What’s this movie called, “Box Office Poison”? (to quote an infamous Norm MacDonald appearance on Conan O’Brien).
It’s hard to believe someone actually green-lit Heavyweights (or Heavy Weights as it’s sometimes known). This 90s-era comedy came and went with little fanfare.
Like many flicks that are not successful theatrically, the film has since garnered a cult following, probably because of the involvement of co-writer Judd Apatow along with Stiller.
Ben Stiller plays fitness guru Tony Perkis, an excitable send-up of infomercial gym hucksters. He’s also a yoga aficionado as well as an up-with-people peddler of lifestyle trends
As a new owner of a fat camp (which he has purchased from a kindly, if ineffectual elderly duo), Tony Perkis is tasked with whipping a bunch of teen boys into shape.
The boys (who include among their ranks, Fat Albert and Saturday Night Live standout Kenan Thompson) are none too happy about this and decide to stage a coup along with camp counselor and co-conspirator, Pat (played by Frasier’s Tom McGowan).
This is a movie that is being pulled in opposing directions. As a New York Times critic put it, “One…is a no-holds-barred spoof of a Tony Little- or Susan Powter-style fitness merchant […] The other …a conventional family comedy that pokes lighthearted fun at the chubby young campers.”
It’s tonally very odd, but it’s also an interesting look at the comedy star Ben Stiller would soon become. Perkis’ is a fantastically over-the-the-top workshopping of a character. When Heavyweights focuses on him, the film comes to life, otherwise, it sags.
Still, there is surprisingly enough to recommend it even if it falls into the trappings of other summer camp-type movies, Meatballs, etc.
Join us on this unique episode of the Really Awful Movies Podcast!