Twenty five years ago, movie fans were presented with the wonderful gift of Heavyweights. Even after all this time, the comedy (available to stream on Disney Plus) remains a hilarious nostalgia trip.
Heavyweights may not be your typical “good” movie. There are definitely its share of problems. But who cares? It’s funny, very funny. And at the end of the day, that’s really all you need out of a comedy. Sure, to be a great overall movie, you need to nail down the other aspects. Movies like Superbad or Booksmart or The Hangover have more to it than just the laughs.
But comedies can be just fine as long as they keep you laughing. They’re easier to judge that way. Is the movie funny? Yes? Then it’s a good comedy. And that’s where Heavyweights shines. Yes, it has more important underlying themes. Love yourself for who you are; winning isn’t everything, as a couple examples. But Heavyweights doesn’t go all that in depth with its messages. It touches on them on a surface level and leaves it at that.
And that’s fine, because Heavyweights knows what it is as a movie. It’s a silly comedy with silly characters having the time of their life playing out a silly premise.
Perhaps the biggest thing Heavyweights nailed down was the cast, particularly the campers. It’s also a bit of a dice roll when casting younger actors. But Heavyweights had a bit of an advantage over other movies. Screenwriter Steven Brill also wrote The Mighty Ducks and D2: The Mighty Ducks, which starred some of the same actors. That little bit of familiarity had have helped with comfort level on set.
But in addition to that, the kids were just having fun. None of them were asked to do too much as a performer, and the movie was better off for it. It really felt like they were a group of kids at a summer camp together.
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The rest of the cast dynamite as well. Ben Stiller, of course, as Tony Perkis, wanting to use the camp for a line of informercials. Stiller is delightfully over the top, offering what can now be thought of as a preview of his future role of Dwight Goodman in Dodgeball. Tom McGowan, Paul Feig, and Leah Lail feature as the lone adult voices of reason left at Camp Hope after Perkis takes over.
But the adults, and their acting counterparts, know that Heavyweights is the kids’ story. While they are all important and have their moments to shine, they never do anything to overshadow the kids.
While not initially well-received, over the last 25 years, Heavyweights has cemented its status a cult classic. The jokes don’t feel dated, as there aren’t too many references specific to the time. Maybe most importantly, the kid performances hold up. There hasn’t been any drop off over the last two and a half decades, and that can’t be overlooked.
But that’s enough of all that. To finish off, take the next few minutes and enjoy some of the best scenes Heavyweights has to offer.