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Tommy Boy (Holy Schnike Edition) Print E-mail
Wednesday, 31 December 2008
ImageIn 1995, Chris Farley brought tears to our eyes from laughing so hard.  "Tommy Boy" was he finest work.  The loss of Farley is devastating to the comedic community.  The film only grossed about $33 million in the United States during its theatrical run.  However, it has done very well on home video and has become a classic for many film lovers.  There is rarely a movie like this that leaves us with so many catch phrases and memorable quotes over a decade after its release.

Chris Farley and David Spade have a great dynamic between them.  Chris Farley stars as Tommy Callahan III, a spoiled rich kid, the barely graduates from college after seven years.  Herbie Hancock.  His dad, also Thomas Callahan (Brian Dennehy), is the owner and operator of Callahan Auto Parts, the pride of Sandusky, Ohio.  David Spade is Richard, Tommy's dad's right hand man at Callahan Auto Parts.

When Tommy returns home from college he is given a high-level job at Callahan Auto and surprised with the news that his dad is engaged to Beverly (Bo Derek), a seductive temptress.  The happiness at the wedding is short lived when Thomas Callahan, Sr. drops dead on the stage.  In a time of financial crisis, Tommy steps up and volunteers to go out on his dad's sales road trip.  He puts up his shares in the company and assets to the bank in order to get the loan needed to kick-start the new brake pad division of Callahan Auto.

Out on the road, Tommy and Richard fail to sell time and time again.  The road trip seems a bit long and redundant, but the comedic performance of the duo is irresistible.  Unbeknown to Tommy, Richard, or anyone at Callahan Auto, Beverly and her "son," Paul, are scheming to cause Tommy and Richard to fail on their sale trip.  Paul dooms the success of the completed sales by alternating the information in the shipping computer. Turns out that Paul is married to Beverly, and were setting up to bleed Thomas Callahan dry.  With his passing, they are able arrange for sale of the company to competitor, Zalinsky Auto Parts.  Unfortunately for Paul and Beverly, Tommy finds out about their nuptials and blows the whistle, meanwhile saving the town of Sandusky by selling a half of million brake pads to Zalinsky.

The film is fairly simplistic, but very effective for such a comedy film.  It is too bad that the sequel, "Black Sheep" bombed something awful.

Paramount gives us a 1080p/MPEG-4 AVC video transfer.  The video quality is good but not great.  It is far better than most films from the mid 1990s that are appearing on Blu-ray.  There is only minor digital noise reduction applied to the image.  The source unfortunately is full of dust, scratches, and other spots.  The blacks are decent.  Shadow delineation suffers in many sequences.  The overcast Ohio scenery causes much of the image to appear flat.  The colors are weak in the beginning of the film and look to try and be fixed by a boosting of the contrast levels.  The wedding sequence is quite beautiful.  The colors of the fall tree leaves are quite pleasurable.  The details fair okay.  The background is often blurred and foreground objects have details that are missing sharp textures.  Overall, this is a great transfer for the age of the film.

The audio has been bumped up to Dolby TrueHD 5.1.  As expected, there is not much to talk about.  It is a fairly typical audio track for a comedy film.  The LFE channel is not present for the most part.  There are a couple instances in which it gives us a spurt.  The surround channels only contain minor bleeding of the music as well as less than a handful of sound effect extensions.  The dialogue is presented clearly.  It is well balanced in the center channel against any music and sound effects.  There is nothing in the way of dynamics.

The Blu-ray contains the same bonus materials as those present on the 2005 Holy Schnike Edition standard DVD edition.  First there is an audio commentary with director Peter Segal.  This is an informative commentary track that is easy to listen to.  There is a collection of four featurettes.  First, "'Tommy Boy:' Behind the Laughter" takes a look at the origins of the film and its actors.  "Stories from the Side of the Road" looks at the gags and improvisations in the film.  "Just the Two of Us" covers the relationship between Chris Farley and David Spade.  "Growing Up Farley" has interviews with Farley's brothers recounting stories of growing up with Chris.  There are numerous deleted/alternate/extended scenes.  There are six deleted scenes, six alternates and 15 extended scenes.  There are seven storyboard comparisons, which have never interested me.  Lastly, there are 19 TV spots, a gag reel, photo gallery and theatrical trailer.

"Tommy Boy" is a classic that absolutely should be added to your collection.  The video quality of the Blu-ray offers a substantial upgrade over the standard DVD, while the audio quality is solid for a comedy film.  "Fat guy in a little coat."

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