Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Peter Segal|
|Produced by||Lorne Michaels|
|Written by|| Bonnie Turner |
|Music by||David Newman|
|Cinematography||Victor J. Kemper|
|Edited by||William Kerr|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$32.7 million|
Tommy Boy is a 1995 American adventure comedy film directed by Peter Segal, written by Bonnie and Terry Turner, produced by Lorne Michaels, and starring former Saturday Night Live castmates and close friends Chris Farley and David Spade. This was the first of many movies that Peter Segal has filmed with former SNL castmates. The film was shot primarily in Toronto and Los Angeles under the working title "Rocky Road". It tells the story of a socially and emotionally immature man (Farley) who learns lessons about friendship and self-worth, following the sudden death of his industrialist father. Tommy Boy was a financial success that grossed $32.7 million on a budget of $20 million. The film received mixed reviews from critics.Since its release, Tommy Boy has become a cult classic and been successful on home video.
Tommy Boy and the 1994 horror film Wes Craven's New Nightmare are dedicated to Gregg Fonseca (1952-1994), who died eight months before the release of Tommy Boy. While Fonseca did not work on either film, he served as production designer on the first two Nightmare on Elm Street films, as well as Coneheads and both Wayne's World movies which, like Tommy Boy, were produced by Lorne Michaels.
After seven years at college, Thomas R. "Tommy" Callahan III (Chris Farley) barely graduates from Marquette University and returns to his hometown of Sandusky, Ohio. His father, industrialist and widower Thomas R. "Big Tom" Callahan Jr. (Brian Dennehy), gives him an executive job at the family's auto parts plant, Callahan Auto. In addition to the new job and office, Big Tom reveals that he plans to marry Beverly Barrish-Burns (Bo Derek), a woman he had met at a fat farm, and that her son, Paul (Rob Lowe), will become Tommy's new stepbrother. However, Big Tom dies from a sudden heart attack during the wedding reception. After the funeral, doubting the future of the company without Big Tom, the bank reneges on promises of a loan for a new brake pad division and seeks immediate payment of Callahan Auto's debts. Tommy suggests a deal: he will let the bank hold his few inherited shares and house in exchange for the bank giving time to sell enough brake pads to prove the new division's viability. If enough brake pads are sold by the deadline, the bank will grant the loan. Tommy then sets out on a cross-country sales trip with his father's sycophantic assistant, Richard Hayden (David Spade), a childhood acquaintance who is annoyed over Tommy's ability to be lazy and yet be rewarded.
Meanwhile, Beverly and Paul are shown kissing romantically. They are not mother and son, but rather married con artists with criminal records. Instead of eventually suing for divorce and taking half of Big Tom's estate, Beverly has inherited controlling interest in the company. To turn that into cash, she seeks a quick sale to self-described "auto parts king" Ray Zalinsky (Dan Aykroyd). On the road, Tommy's social anxiety and hyperactivity alienate several potential buyers. The lack of any progress leads to tension between Tommy and Richard. When all hope seems lost, Tommy persuades a surly waitress to serve him after the kitchen has closed and Richard suggests he use his skill at reading people to make sales. The two start to become friends and quickly make their sales goal. However, Paul sabotages the company's computers, causing sales posted by sales manager Michelle Brock (Julie Warner) to be either lost or rerouted. With half of the sales now canceled, the bank (now backed by Beverly and Paul) decides to sell Callahan Auto to Zalinsky. Hoping that they can persuade Zalinsky to reconsider, Tommy and Richard travel to Chicago boarding a plane posing as flight attendants. In Chicago, they get a brief meeting with Zalinsky, but he tells them he wants only the reputation connected with the Callahan brand and will close down the company and lay off its workers.
Tommy and Richard are denied entrance to the Zalinsky board room since Tommy has no standing. As they wallow on the curb in self-pity, Michelle arrives with Paul and Beverly's police records. Tommy devises a plan: dressed as a suicide bomber by using road flares, he attracts the attention of a live television news crew and then, along with Michelle and Richard, forces his way back into the board room. Back in Sandusky, Callahan workers watch the drama on a television. In a final move of pure persuasion, Tommy quotes Zalinsky's own advertising slogan, that he is on the side of the "American working man." As the TV audience watches, Zalinsky signs Tommy's purchase order for 500,000 brake pads. Although Zalinsky says that the purchase order is meaningless as he will soon own Callahan Auto, Michelle shows her police records, which includes Paul's outstanding warrants for fraud. Since Beverly is still married to Paul, her marriage to Big Tom was bigamous and therefore never legal. Thus, all of Big Tom's controlling shares actually belong to Tommy, the rightful heir. Since Tommy does not want to sell the shares, the deal with Zalinsky is off, and since Tommy still holds Zalinsky's purchase order, the company is saved. Paul attempts to escape but is arrested. Zalinsky admits that Tommy outplayed him and invites Beverly to dinner. Tommy is appointed the president of Callahan Auto and starts a romance with Michelle.
Tommy Boy opened on March 31, 1995, and grossed $8 million in its opening weekend, finishing first at the box office. The film had a total box office gross of $32.7 million.
Tommy Boy received mixed reviews from critics upon its release. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 42% approval rating, based on 43 reviews, with an average rating of 5.22/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Though it benefits from the comic charms of its two leads, Tommy Boy too often feels like a familiar sketch stretched thin."On Metacritic, the film has a score of 46 out of 100, based on reviews from 20 critics, indicating "Mixed or average reviews". Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade A- on scale of A to F.
Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times gave the film a positive review, calling it "sweet natured..." and a "good belly laugh of a movie". [ better source needed ] and Scott Weinberg of DVDTalk.com said that it was "pretty damn funny". In the 2015 film I Am Chris Farley , many of his fellow SNL peers praised Farley's performance; Dan Aykroyd stated that the movie showcased Farley's quality and range as an actor, while Jay Mohr noted that audiences were able to see Farley's sensitive and vulnerable side.Brian Webster of the Online Film Critics Society also received the film positively, saying that the film would please Farley fans. Dan Marcucci and Nancy Serougi of the Broomfield Enterprise said the film was "Farley at his best",
Among the negative reviews, Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert only gave the film one star out of 4, writing that: "Tommy Boy is one of those movies that plays like an explosion down at the screenplay factory. You can almost picture a bewildered office boy, his face smudged with soot, wandering through the ruins and rescuing pages at random. Too bad they didn't mail them to the insurance company instead of filming them." [ better source needed ]The film is on Ebert's "Most Hated" list. Caryn James of The New York Times wrote that the film was "the very poor cousin of a dopey Jim Carrey movie". Owen Gleiberman graded the film a "C" on an A+ to F scale, and Ken Hanke of Mountain Xpress said that it was a "Passably funny star vehicle. Nothing great."
Bo Derek was nominated for a Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress.
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