Tommy Boy.

Posted by Hello
I know that considering how much I rant against stupid people in my writing, it seems odd for me to say that this movie is one of my favorite comedies.

I adore Tommy Boy. I'll grant that the movie is irrevent, absurd, slapstick and at times stupid. However, it's also funny, heartwarming, honest and respectful.

I could go on and on about Chris Farley's brilliant physical humour, and David Spade's incredible delivery and sharp tongue. I could wax eloquent about how well written the movie is, or how genuinely unlikeable the character played by Dan Aykroyd is. But while those are all great things about the film, those aren't the reasons I respect it so much more than other comedies. Here's what matters to me: it never sacrifices its own integrity for a laugh, and it never demeans itself to get a vulgar joke from a scene.

It treats the concepts of family, death, and kindness with great care and class. It raises up as heros those that try hard, even when they fail. It goes out of its way to be careful of its characters and its audience.

It treats the loss of Tommy's dad with the utmost kindness, even in the midst of a comedy. It respects the concept of family. It never once makes fun of the basic human need for friendship or a kind word.

It is careful to make clear that the 'good' characters don't do bad things--for example, in one scene the passenger (David Spade in one of his best roles) has been drinking and brings a drink into the car. Chris Farley as Tommy (the driver) chastises him, saying that they can get busted for having an open container. When a police car begins to follow them Tommy points out that the police will never believe he hasn't been drinking. Even though Tommy is shown getting tanked at a party early in the film, the movie goes out of its way to make a clear statement: Tommy is the hero of the film, and they're not going to make him out to be one of the dregs of society just for an extra laugh--the message is clear: "there is stupid, and then there is morally wrong." It is a cool scene, and they manage to pull it off so smoothly that you don't even realize there is moral reinforcement going on.

I just watched it again tonight with my family, and the scene with the hood of the car had us all gasping for breath we were laughing so hard. It's a great comedy. If you haven't seen it yet--go find it! It's worth the search.

Friday, June 03, 2005


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