Posted on June 24, 2018
Heavyweights is a comedy film directed by Steven Brill.
Co-written by Judd Apatow, this odd comedy stars Aaron Schwartz, Tom McGowan, and Ben Stiller.
Produced by Walt Disney Studios, this bizarre concept follows a group of children stuck at a “fat camp” under hostile takeover by a psychotic entrepreneur.
The Story (SPOILERS)
The film opens with Gerald Garner, a heavy-set boy who is walking home from school on the last day before summer vacation.
Upon arriving at home, his parents and a random man force him to go to Camp Hope, a weight loss camp for boys.
Angered at first, Gerry softens to the idea while on the way to camp. After flying on a plane, he meets another camper named Roy.
He learns that Camp Hope is actually fun and won’t be bullied because “everyone’s the fat kid”. Before getting on the bus to camp, Gerald meets Pat Finley.
Pat is a former camper and now resident counselor. Gerald meets his bunk-mates and discovers that the other campers smuggled in junk food.
The first night, the owners of Camp Hope admit to bankruptcy and that they sold the camp.
Camp Hope’s new owner is Tony Perkis, a fitness entrepreneur. He announces his plan to turn the camp into a weight loss infomercial.
Tony is a complete psychopath.
Tony confiscates the camper’s junk food, keeps their letters to home, and aims to embarrass the campers to help them loose weight.
The campers discover a secret food stash hidden in a hollowed out tree (restocked for money at night) and start gaining weight, despite Tony’s harsh fitness regimen.
Eventually, Tony decides to weigh the boys and mark their progress. Angered that the boys have been gaining weight, Tony forces them all on a 20-mile hike. He believes that this help the boys loose weight and instill discipline.
On the hike, the campers trick Tony into a hidden deep pit, severely injuring him. The boys bring Tony back to camp and imprison him. They take over the camp completely and begin binge eating.
The next morning, a counselor named Pat Finley tells the kids to start taking responsibility and try to lose weight. The boys begin following a more healthy regimen and start making Camp Hope fun again.
On parents’ visiting day, the parents are shown a video of Tony’s cruelty. Tony escapes his prison and interrupts the video. Tony walks on glass, does some back flips, and knocks himself out. Tony’s father shows up and appoints Pat as the camp leader.
Pat starts really prepping the campers to work to win an annual competition against a rival camp. They have a decathlon, shave balloons, and race go-karts. The kids win and Pat has the trophy thrown into the lake.
In celebration, Pat kisses Julie, the camp’s nurse. The film ends with Gerry thanking Pat for “the best damn summer of my life”.
Heavyweights is ridiculous. The story warps into a demented second act before returning to a “family ending”. That gives the film an odd message, especially now.
The 90’s is the only decade with the right circumstances in which this film could exist. If it was made recently, the tone would rely less on comedic absurdist replies. The message would be pounded in further due to the rising obesity crisis.
Most of the actors are fine. For some reason, Paul Feig is in this as Tim the counselor. He went on to direct Bridesmaids, Spy, and that awful Ghostbusters reboot. Strange, but interesting to see.