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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: Aug. 5: Heavyweights

Sunday

Aug. 5: Heavyweights

"Plump kids are lured into joining a posh fat camp with the promise of quick weight loss and good times, only to find that the facility is a woodland hellhole run by a psycho ex-fitness instructor."
Directed by: Steven Brill, Rated: PG, 100 minutes

For all of you that don't know, I'm a big guy. I love food, I can't help it. I've been big most of my life and I don't see my love for food going anywhere. So you can imagine my fondness for a film like Heavyweights. It's a story about a bunch of tubby kids hanging out at a summer camp in hopes of losing weight. The camp, Camp Hope, is glorious. It's full of all sorts of activities, set in the nice, fresh wilderness, and eases kids into losing weight, hiding weight loss methods in with the fun of summer. I have to admit, a part of me really wanted to go to a place like this when I was younger and blend in with all the chub and have a blast at getting "less-big-boned". 

Heavy mouth-breathing aside, this part looks incredible. 

As I mentioned, the story follows a bunch of kids at fat camp. However, the conflict of the story comes in when the owners, two of the nicest people in the world, file for bankruptcy and are forced to sell the camp to Tony Perkis (Ben Stiller). Perkis is an ex-fitness freak who's looking to get back into the world of infomercials and fad diets. He'll do whatever it takes to get back in the limelight and he decides to turn Camp Hope into a living hell for the kids, putting into place a diet dictatorship, forcing the young boys to over excercise and eat as little as possible. Perkis documents his attempt at "minimizing" the boys in hopes of using the footage as his re-entry into the fitness world and marketing his slimming diet plan. As any fat kid knows, forcing exercise and telling one what not to eat only leads to larger issues, and the boys, led by Gerry (Aaron Schwartz), start a rebellion against Perkis and his posse of pumped up peons and attempts to retake the camp for the little huskies. 

Like these, but not dogs. 

Minus the appeal of a bitchin' summer camp, Heavyweight's best aspect is Ben Stiller, who completely steals the show as Perkis. He's a class one asshole and his over-enthusiasm for being fit is so over-the-top and ridiculous you can't help but realize what kind of psycho he is. He's obsessed with being in peak shape and is controlling as hell about every aspect of his life that relates to the fact. He's quite the colorful villain for a kid's movie and it's obvious that Stiller's role in Dodgeball is clearly inspired by Perkis. Hell, he's also part Zoolander if you want to start talking about that. Either way, Perkis is a dick you can't help but loathe. Fat kids are always easy to cheer for (go team!) and seeing them take down a "perfect specimen" is so much fun to watch. 

Blue Steel meets Cobra. 

I highly recommend Heavyweights. Yes, it's a kids movie from the 90s and has as many flaws as any other movie of the time would have, but the movie is so packed full of mindless fun and stupid humor you can't help but enjoy some part of it. Stiller is superb as Perkis, delivering a performance you'd never expect in this kind of movie, and thus makes Heavyweights better than the rest. If you haven't seen it, track it down, it's worth a watch. And, if you have seen it, it's still worth revisiting even with it's tiny (but big?) flaws. It also makes you want to go out and munch on every snack item and candy bar you can find. Because, dammit, food's f**king amazing. 

The Good:
Ben Stiller taking over a fat camp. 'Nuff said. 
The Bad:
As any kids movie, re-watching something nostalgic reminds you of how poor the pacing is
The Ugly:
knowing there are people like Perkis out there, completely obsessed with every detail of their physique and overall fitness

Overall: 7.0/10

Trailer:

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2 Comments:

At August 8, 2012 at 5:08 AM , Blogger Bubbawheat said...

Watching that trailer, I was a little surprised to see Judd Apatow's name attached to it. I remember watching this movie when it was fairly new and enjoying it, though I haven't seen it since.

 
At August 8, 2012 at 10:52 AM , Blogger Nick said...

Yeah, I noticed Apatow's name on IMDB. It certainly has its flaws after watching it after all these years, but it's still really fun.

 

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