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Theatrical release poster
Directed by Steven Brill
Produced by Roger Birnbaum
Joe Roth
Michael Fottrell
Judd Apatow
Jack Giarraputo
Written by Steven Brill
Judd Apatow
Starring Aaron Schwartz
Ben Stiller
Tom McGowan
Tim Blake Nelson
Music by J.A.C. Redford
Cinematography Victor Hammer
Edited by C. Timothy O'Meara
Walt Disney Pictures
Caravan Pictures
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures
Release date(s)
  • February 17, 1995 (1995-02-17)
Running time 100 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $17,689,177[1]

Heavyweights (stylized onscreen as Heavy Weights) is a 1995 Walt Disney Pictures comedy film, directed by Steven Brill and co-written by Brill with Judd Apatow. Heavyweights is about a fat camp for kids that is taken over by a fitness guru named Tony Perkis (Ben Stiller). The film takes place at “Camp Hope” where all of the campers are overweight. For previous years it is a fun place for kids alike to go and have fun together. Trouble ensues once the previous owners declare bankruptcy and are bought out by a fitness guru named Tony Perkis. Tony is a fitness fanatic who makes it his goal to whip these overweight kids into shape. Tony ends up making Camp Hope almost unbearable by forcing the campers to participate in demanding exercises and low carb diets. Eventually they decide that they have been put through enough, and these underdog campers band together to rebel against Tony Perkis.


As school ends for the summer, Gerry (Aaron Schwartz) is sent by his parents to Camp Hope, a weight loss camp for boys. Despite worrying at first, Gerry makes friends easily at the Chipmunk Cabin (which the boys have named a long time ago) Gerald learns that Camp Hope is actually a lot of fun and will not be nearly as bad as he thinks. He discovers that the other campers have smuggled in enough junk food to easily stave off the hunger pangs and probably counteract any weight loss that the camp programs cause.

The first night of the summer brings the revelation that the original owners of Camp Hope, Harvey (Jerry Stiller) and Alice Bushkin (Anne Meara), have entered bankruptcy and the camp has been bought by fitness entrepreneur Tony Perkis (Ben Stiller), who announces his plan to make the camp's new exercise regimen into the top weight loss infomercial in the country. Tony tries to make himself seem like someone the campers can relate to, saying that he was a fat kid when he was younger too, but his methods of motivating the campers border on psychotic.

Tony cleanses the cabins of the campers' food caches, cuts off their contact with the outside world, and installs an exercise outline of trendy fitness techniques that downplay fun to the point of humiliation. During this event, Josh (Shaun Weiss) taunts Tony in the protection of Gerry. Josh ends up getting kicked out of the camp without a refund. Many campers question what Josh's fate was after this event. Josh's father, who is a lawyer, threatened to have Tony sued. As a result, Tony has no choice but to allow Josh to return to the camp.

One day, when Tony goes out for a run, Gerry, Josh and a few other campers sneak into Tony's office to search for food. They find that Tony was holding onto all of the letters the campers sent to their parents that complained of their hardships. As they leave the office, Gerry and his friends come across a fellow camper eating a hamburger. The camper tells them of a secret food stash in the forest. The campers eventually gain more weight, despite Tony's fitness regimen. After Tony measures some of the campers' weight losses, he notices they actually gained more weight. As punishment, Tony forces them on a 20-mile hike, reasoning that this will not only help the boys work off some of their extra weight, but will also restore discipline. On the hike, the campers trick Tony into falling into a deep pit. The boys bring Tony back to camp and imprison him in a makeshift cell of chicken wire electrified with a bug zapper. With Tony in custody, the campers openly rebel against Perkis' counselors, tying them to trees and tormenting them. The original Camp Hope staff are left free while Tony's workers are thrown out, except for Tony's cameraman Kenny, who did them no wrong, and one Perkis counselor named Lars (Tom Hodges). At first, Lars is teased by the campers when his tough guy façade falls away, but is eventually given a choice — recognize the authority of the children and join the new Camp Hope, or stay tied to the tree and face deportation for not working. Lars enthusiastically joins the children.

In the celebration of Tony's downfall, there is a lot of binge eating. The boys, and even some camp counselors order in pizzas and submarine sandwiches and gorge themselves on chocolate and soda while Lars hands out éclairs. The next morning, Pat Finley (Tom McGowan), a counselor who had come to Camp Hope every summer since he was 10, tells the kids to finally start taking responsibility and start actually losing weight. The boys begin following a more healthy regime and start to make Camp Hope a fun place again. On Parents' Visiting Day, the parents are shown a video of Tony's cruelty. While they are watching, Tony escapes his prison and ends up exchanging quips with Gerry's father. In an attempt to make an impressive exit, Tony attempts a series of back-flips, stumbles, and incapacitates himself. The parents tell Tony his days of terrorizing their kids are over. Tony's own father shows up to take the keys and deed for the camp away from his son to ensure this does not happen again, and also states that the camp will be closed, and all of the money paid for admission refunded.

But the campers do not want to leave Camp Hope. Since there is no adult in charge of the camp now, Pat is voted to be the head counselor. Pat starts really putting the campers to work to win an annual competition against some athletic and competitive campers from an MVP camp who are trained to go at this competition with everything they have, which, up until Pat took over, made the competition rather one-sided. Pat, however, has been training them not to lose hope, and just to have fun, which they do. It turns out that they have just enough ability to win. Pat gives the trophy to one of the kids, who then throws it into the lake after the opposing camp throws a tantrum over losing. The competitive campers believe that Pat is crazy for being more concerned about having fun than winning a trophy.

After the credits, Tony is shown as a door to door salesman selling healing crystals.



The film's original score was composed by J.A.C. Redford, and the film's Soundtrack consisted of eleven songs listed below: [2]

Song Written by Performed by
"Closer to Free" Sam Llanas & Kurt Neumann BoDeans
"Le Freak" Bernard Edwards & Nile Rodgers Chic
"Saturday Night" Bill Martin & Phil Coulter The Bay City Rollers
"You Sexy Thing" Errol Brown Hot Chocolate
"Love Machine" Warren Moore & William Griffin The Miracles
"Hang Tough" Allen Toussaint Crescent City Gold
"Set the Wheels in Motion" Barbara Keith The Stone Coyotes
"I Want Candy" Bert Berns, Robert Feldman, Richard Gottehrer, & Jerry Goldstein Bow Wow Wow
"Blue Danube" Johann Strauß
"Thieving Magpies" Gioachino Rossini
"Camp Hope Concerto" Paul Feig Paul Feig and The Camp Hope Kids


The movie gained mixed to negative reviews.[3] Heavyweights currently holds a 29% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but is fresh within the community with a 79%.[4]

Box office[edit]

While the movie was not a box office success,[5] it did garner a cult following.

Filming Dates[edit]

Heavyweights was filmed over the course of two months. Filming started on March 28, 1994 and finished on May 25, 1994.


External links[edit]