Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Steven Brill|
|Produced by||Roger Birnbaum|
Morgan Michael Fottrell
Charles J.D. Schlissel
|Written by||Steven Brill|
|Music by||J. A. C. Redford|
|Edited by||C. Timothy O'Meara|
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Pictures|
|Box office||$17.6 million|
Heavyweights is a 1995 American family comedy film directed by Steven Brill and written by Brill with Judd Apatow. The film centers around a fat camp for kids that is taken over by a fitness guru named Tony Perkis (Ben Stiller).
When school ends for the summer, Gerry Garner’s parents send him to Camp Hope, a weight loss camp for boys. Initially reluctant, Gerry meets enthusiastic camp counselor Pat, and befriends the other campers, who have smuggled in enough junk food for the entire summer. The first night at Camp Hope brings the revelation that the original owners, the Bushkins, have declared bankruptcy and the camp has been bought by fitness entrepreneur Tony Perkis Jr, who plans to transform the camp’s weight loss program into a best-selling infomercial.
Tony replaces the camp’s beloved activities, including go-karts and ”the Blob”, with a punishing exercise regimen. Pat is replaced by the strict new counselor Lars, and the campers endure a painful softball game against their more athletic, over-competitive rivals, Camp MVP. When Tony purges the cabins’ hidden food caches, camper Josh stands up for Gerry by taunting Tony, and is sent home. Tony arranges a dance with Camp Magnolia, a girls’ summer camp, to humiliate the boys into losing weight, but counselors Tim, Pat, and camp nurse Julie convince everyone to enjoy themselves together. Josh returns to Camp Hope, revealing that his father, a lawyer, threatened to sue Tony for kicking his son out without a refund.
Gerry and his friends sneak into Tony’s office in search of their confiscated snacks, and learn that Tony has intercepted all the campers’ letters to their families, including the letter that Gerry wrote to his grandmother. They discover a secret food stash used by most of the camp, leading them to gain weight, and Tony forces the boys on a twenty-mile hike, preparing to endanger their lives for the sake of fitness. The boys trick Tony into falling into a pit, and imprison him at camp in a makeshift cell, electrified with a bug zapper. With Pat, Julie, and Tim on their side, the campers take back control of Camp Hope, tying up Lars in the woods with Tony’s other counselors, and celebrating with a binge eating bonfire party.
The next morning, Pat rallies the campers to take responsibility for themselves and start losing weight, and they all start a healthier regimen while making Camp Hope fun again. The boys’ parents arrive for visiting day and are shown a video documenting Tony’s cruelty, which is interrupted by Tony, having escaped his cell. Exchanging blows with Gerry’s father, he attempts a series of backflips but knocks himself out. As Tony is taken away, his own father arrives and promises to refund everyone’s money, but announces that the camp will be closed. The boys ask for the camp to stay open, and Pat – with eighteen years’ experience and the support of Gerry and the others – agrees to assume responsibility for Camp Hope.
Under Pat’s leadership, the campers restore their favorite activities, and prepare to face Camp MVP in their annual competition. Camp MVP takes the lead in the first event, an obstacle course, but Camp Hope catches up in the second round, a test of knowledge. In the final go-kart race, Gerry wins the competition for Camp Hope. Demonstrating that having fun is more important than winning, Pat throws the trophy in the lake, and seals his romance with Julie with a kiss. As Camp Hope celebrates their victory, Gerry thanks Pat for the best summer of his life.
- Aaron Schwartz as Gerald "Gerry" Garner
- Ben Stiller as Tony Perkis, Jr. / Tony Perkis, Sr., Tony's father
- Tom McGowan as Patrick “Pat” Finley
- Tim Blake Nelson as Roger Johnson
- Jeffrey Tambor as Maury Garner
- Joseph Wayne Miller as Salami Sam Dampier
- Jerry Stiller as Harvey Bushkin
- Anne Meara as Alice Bushkin
- Shaun Weiss as Josh Birnbaum
- Kenan Thompson as Roy Murphy
- David Bowe as Chris Donnelly
- Leah Lail as Julie Belcher
- Paul Feig as Tim Orford
- Tom Hodges as Lars
- Max Goldblatt as Phillip Grubenov
- Robert Zalkind as Simms
- Patrick La Brecque as Dawson
- Allen Covert as Kenny Parry, the cameraman
- Cody Burger as Cody Farley
- David Goldman as Nicholas Wales
- Judd Apatow as Homer Schulz
- Lia Lucis as Herself
- Lauren Michelle Hill as Josie, the angelic girl
- Peter Berg as the chef (uncredited)
Heavyweights was filmed over the course of two months in North Carolina at 2 separate camps, Camp Pinnacle and Camp Ton-A-Wandah. Filming started on March 28, 1994 and finished on May 25, 1994.
|Song||Written by||Performed by|
|"Closer to Free"||Sam Llanas and Kurt Neumann||BoDeans|
|"Le Freak"||Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers||Chic|
|"Saturday Night"||Bill Martin and Phil Coulter||The Bay City Rollers|
|"You Sexy Thing"||Errol Brown||Hot Chocolate|
|"Love Machine"||Warren Moore and 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, and 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|
According to Stephen Holden of The New York Times, "Heavyweights is really two movies in one, and they don't mesh. One movie is a no-holds-barred spoof of a Tony Little- or Susan Powter-style fitness merchant [...] The other movie is a conventional family comedy that pokes lighthearted fun at the chubby young campers."
In 2012, on the release of the Blu-ray, critic Brian Ordorff gave the film a grade "B" and wrote: "Time has been kind to the discarded fat camp movie, finding Heavyweights more digestible these days, after years spent processing the askew sense of humor shared by Apatow and Company."
Heavyweights was released on VHS on August 15, 1995, LaserDisc on February 20, 1996, and released on DVD on March 4, 2003. Heavyweights was released on Blu-ray on December 11, 2012. It was also included on Disney Plus in November 2019.
- Heavyweights at Box Office Mojo
- "Summer Camp!". Roadtrippers. Retrieved July 2, 2017.
- "Heavyweights Soundtrack". Internet Movie Database.
- Heavyweights at Rotten Tomatoes
- "Cinemascore". Archived from the original on December 20, 2018. Retrieved August 30, 2019.
- "FILM REVIEW; Spoofing the TV Gurus of Fitness". The New York Times. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
- Brian Ordorff (December 12, 2012). "Heavyweights Blu-ray". Blu-ray.com.
- Massengale, Jeremiah. "Lighthearted Humor at Fat Camp: Heavyweights". PopMatters. Retrieved July 3, 2017.
- "Heavyweights Cast: Then and Now - the Brofessional". www.thebrofessional.net. Retrieved July 3, 2017.
- "Heavyweights Blu-ray". Blu-ray.com. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
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