Film / Heavyweights

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A Disney movie released in 1995, Heavyweights is the story of Gerald 'Gerry' Garner (Aaron Schwartz) and his mates at Camp Hope — a Fat Camp. Once a place filled with fun and go-karts, the camp is bought out by Tony Perkis (Ben Stiller), who intends to use the campers to make his own weight loss infomercial. Gerry and his friends are subjected to cruel and unusual methods to lose weight. Naturally, they fight back.

The movie is better than it sounds, as it had several classic one-liners, a good soundtrack and Ben Stiller in one early — and definitely unique — role. It was also one of the first writing credits for Judd Apatow, which explains its edgier execution.


This film has examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Lars to Nurse Julie.
  • The Ace: Josh is the Alpha Chipmunk, and he knows it.
    Roy: I just saw the new nurse, and uh...she's very attractive.
    Josh: This pleases me.
  • Acrofatic: Josh is quite athletic, despite his weight. He's even able to outrun Tony for a few moments.
  • All There in the Script: The girls' camp which accepts Tony's party invitation is called Camp Magnolia.
  • Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat!: Tony's attempt to film a "results" segment for his infomercial.
    Tony: Josh Birnbaum! Step on the scale, son! All right! *high fives Josh*
    (The scale shows that Josh has gained weight)
    Tony: (upset) Get off the scale.
  • Ax-Crazy: While Tony looms on the edge of this throughout the film, he really turns into this when he shows up at Parents' Weekend, walking on broken glass and doing cartwheels like a mad man.
  • Big Bad: Tony
  • Big "OMG!": Josh's initial reaction to Tony.
  • Binge Montage: A G-Rated version. After Tony is usurped, the campers spend a night celebrating with all the junk food and fun they've been missing, complete with a hangover-like sugar crash and indigestion the morning after.
  • Brick Joke: During the post-Perkis montage, a group of Camp MVP jocks hop into a motorboat and shove off, only to find out that the motor is gone. And when Pat unveils the new go-kart:
    Pat: Did a little work on the motor.
  • Bond One-Liner:
    Tony: No one is taking this camp away from me!
    (*Gerry's dad punches him in the gut and doubles him over*)
    Gerry's Dad: I'm afraid you're wrong. You are through here.
  • Chekhov's Gun: On the long hike up the mountain, Gerry saves Nicholas from falling into a hidden pit covered by only a few pieces of wood. Just a little while later, the same pit is used to capture Tony.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • One scene contains Josh Burnbaum shaving with a straight razor. Later, during the Apache Relay, one of the contests is scraping shaving cream off a balloon.
    • Pat mentions he's been working at the camp 18 years, the longest of any employee. Logically this means he has the most experience and so ends up running things.
  • CloudCuckoolander: A number of characters, but especially Lars. His ridiculous dance when the girl's camp showed up combined with his almost alien outlook on various things makes one think he's not OK in the head.
  • Cool Old Guy: Tony Perkis Sr. seems to have it a lot more together than his son.
  • Denied Food as Punishment: "Attention campers: Lunch has been canceled today, due to lack of hustle. Deal with it."
  • Disco Dan: Tim, or at least his suit.
    • Lars too.
  • The Dragon: Lars.
  • Dumb Jock: The kids at Camp MVP, or at least the one from the trivia part of the relay, which gave the fat kids a chance to catch up. He didn't even know who the current Vice President was.
  • E = MC Hammer: The math equation during the Apache Relay does not equal eleven. It, in fact, has no solution because there is only one side of the equation and you therefore cannot solve for "x".
  • Evil Is Hammy: Tony.
  • Fat Camp: The whole premise of the movie, after all.
  • Fat Comic Relief: Pretty much everyone at the camp, though Gerry's the most iconic.
  • Flipping the Bird: Offscreen when the kids were getting their before pictures taken.
  • Formerly Fat: Tim, resulting in the campers mocking him for being thin.
    • Also Tony claims he was this at one point in his life.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Sam actually scores a kiss with one of the girls at the end of the party.
  • Funny Foreigner: Lars.
  • Gaussian Girl: One of the girls at the dance.
  • Germanic Efficiency: Played with. Lars is seemingly the perfect henchman for Tony's scheme - he's built, he's intimidating, and he's German. But he's not the brightest crayon in the box and ends up joining the good guys thanks to a traumatic incident with a bear er, deer.
    • It was a big deer.
  • Gibberish of Love: When Nurse Julie asks Pat where the infirmary is, he chokes, despite having twenty years of experience at Camp Hope.
  • Gilligan Cut: Used when Gerry refuses to watch the Camp Hope promotional video, and again when he refuses to go to camp.
  • Groin Attack: One boy is hit while playing baseball.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Tony during the video montage.
    Tony: How do you like the food here at Camp Hope-
    Josh: It's good stuff.
    Tony: (peeved) Wait 'til I finish asking you the question. Just say, "I love the food."
    Josh: I love the food.
    Tony: Good. Here we go. So, Josh, how do you like the food here-
    Josh: I love the food.
    Tony: Wait until I FINISH the question!
  • Heel–Face Turn: Kenny the Camera Man and Lars, both of whom the kids offer jobs so they stick around after Tony is defeated. Unsurprisingly, they like working for the kids better than working for Tony.
  • High School Hustler: Josh is a kid version of this.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: During his Parents' Day meltdown, Tony does a series of backflips after sucker-punching Gerry's dad...and then crashes headfirst into a wall.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Gerry and Pat.
  • Jerkass: Gerry's father, while he has Gerry's best intentions at heart, he really comes off looking like a jerk half the time, but he's really a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. He does make up for it by punching out Tony.
    Maury: (to Gerry) We did not send you to Go-Kart Camp.
    • In fairness he wasn't fully aware of what Gerry was going through, hence his appalled reaction when he sees a video of what Gerry and the other kids endured while Tony was running the camp.
    • Tony is a Jerk Jock with a Heart of Jerk.
  • Jerk Jock: Tony again, and also the kids and coach from Camp MVP.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Camp MVP being upset about Camp Hope winning the Apache relay makes some sense given that Camp Hope stole the engine from their boat for their Go-Kart.
  • Karma Houdini: The former Chipmunk from the previous year who sold out the location of the contraband candy to Tony and Lars is not seen getting any retribution when the campers overthrow Tony.
  • Kick the Dog: If it wasn't obvious Tony was an ass already, ending the dance just as it gets going cements it.
    • The MVP Club are certainly viciously competitive, but vandalizing Camp Hope as a hobby, and verbally abusing the fat kids is just awful.
  • Large Ham: Tony and Lars.
  • Laughably Evil: Tony. It helps that he's played by Ben Stiller in his prime.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": The revelation that Camp Hope has been sold shocks the entire camp, including veteran campers Josh and Roy.
  • The Mole: Turns out Dawson, the ex-Chipmunk who works for Tony (the one who revealed their stash), also sneaks them food. if properly compensated.
  • Montage: Chipmunk cabin storing their contraband.
  • My Grandma Can Do Better Than You:
    Tony: My grandma can run faster than you, and she's only got one leg!
  • New Era Speech: Tony's introduction.
  • Nice Guy: Pat, Tim, the original Camp Hope owners and pretty much everyone except for Tony and anyone at Camp MVP.
    • Lars becomes this after his Heel-Face Turn
    • Nurse Julie is a very Nice Girl.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: See "What An Idiot" in the YMMV page.
  • No Social Skills: It's clear from his first scene that Tony has no idea how to interact with other people, especially kids.
  • One of the Kids: Pat is this, to the detriment of the actual effectiveness of Camp Hope. The original owners appeared to have traces of this too. Nurse Julie shows shades of this with her enthusiastic response to the kids kidnapping Tony. Tim even joins the boys in their junk food binge.
  • Overly Narrow Superlative: Tony Perkis Sr., the "Lighting Fixture King" of Western Pennsylvania.
  • Precision F-Strike: If you listen closely after Tony attempts to have the kids climb a mountain, you can hear one of the kids say, "Aw shit."
  • Psychopathic Manchild: The end of the movie shows Tony to ultimately be this.
  • Reality Ensues: As the adults discuss what they should do about Tony, Gerry arrives and proudly shows off how he and the other Chipmunks have captured and imprisoned him. Nurse Julie is impressed... while Pat and Tim point out how highly illegal this is and they can't allow it to continue. Pat goes to untie Tony, who proceeds to insult and threaten him, which makes Pat change his mind and agree to let the imprisonment continue.
  • Right on the Tick: The first shot of the movie is a middle school hallway clock, as Gerry is dismissed for the summer at exactly 3:00p.m.
    • Get a Room!: Two of Gerry's schoolmates celebrate by making out.
  • Rookie Red Ranger: Gerry, who is a first timer at the camp, leads the group against Tony and in the Apache Relay.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: When try to inspire the campers during their hike, Tony mixes up the story of Icarus and Sisyphus. He tells the kids Icarus rolled a ball up a hill and it melted in the sun's heat when he got too close. He closes with "you're all like Icarus," seemingly having no point to make either way.
  • Sanity Slippage: Tony becomes noticeably more unhinged after getting kidnapped.
  • Satellite Love Interest: Subverted. Nurse Julie is shown to have her own reasons for helping the kids, has a medical degree giving her even more reason to be concerned about the kids, and her romance with Pat builds throughout the story.
  • Second Place Is for Losers: The neighboring camp that Camp Hope competes against. They actually contest Camp Hope's win against them in the final contest, when it was clearly fair and square.
    • A deleted scene shows them discovering that the engine in Gerry's kart was the one that was stolen from one of their boats, so it becomes arguable.
  • See You in Hell: Lars, to the campers who tied him up: "I'll see you all in HELL!!!"
  • Sexophone: When that beautiful brunette girl approaches the Chipmunks at the dance.
  • Shamed by a Mob: Tony, at Parents' Weekend.
  • Shout-Out: To, of all things, Schindler's List.
    • The dozens of campers laying on the ground the morning after their sugar rush is a parody of the wounded/dead soldier scene in Gone with the Wind.
  • Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: That picture at the top was the main movie poster, and Ben Stiller doesn't appear anywhere on it. It makes Lars look like the main villain, and for some reason he has different hair.
  • Slobs vs. Snobs: The Camp Hope Kids are the slobs, with their overweight and proud of it ways and lack of manners but are still really good kids. The Snobs are both sets of villains: Tony who noticeably starts out in a suit and wears very sleek sportswear throughout the movie while his minions are dressed in matching uniforms and turn the camp into hell, and the rival camp, who have nicer uniforms and look down on the Camp Hope campers and are complete douchebags.
  • Spiritual Successor: To the first two Mighty Ducks movies. They share the same quirky Disney family-friendly tone along with several actors notably Keenan Thompson ("Russ Tyler" from D2 and D3), Shaun Weiss (who many remember as "Goldberg") and Aaron Schwartz who was in the first Ducks film.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: We never see any other campers besides the Chipmunks, and they're only implied to exist a few times.
  • Standard Snippet: The scene where everyone is enjoying The Blob is set to "The Blue Danube Waltz".
    • The sugar rush scene is set to "The Thieving Magpie Overture".
  • The Stinger: A much calmer Tony, having apparently found New-Age religion, is selling crystals door to door; the target of his pitch slams the door on him.
  • Summer Campy: Subverted. The camp really is dreadful (though, fortunately, just temporarily).
  • Take That!: Josh explaining how he got back into camp after being ejected.
    Josh: Perkis sent me home without a refund. However, my dad's a lawyer. He threatened to sue, and Perkis caved like the Buffalo Bills in (Super Bowl XXVIII).
  • Training from Hell: Deconstructed and then some. It's obvious to everyone BUT Tony that his weight loss methods are actually harming the campers, and bordering on dangerous.
  • Training Montage: Tony's first morning in charge.
  • True Companions: Chipmunk Cabin
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: Tony
  • Undercrank: When the chipmunk bunk is being loaded with contraband.
  • The Unfettered: Tony is very, very passionate and driven about his goal to "Perkisize" the camp. By the second half of the movie, though, he's bordering on Ax-Crazy.
  • Villain Has a Point: Not that it excuses Tony's deranged behavior, but the Camp Hope kids weren't making any effort to lose weight. Yeah confiscating the candy isn't a nice thing to do, but it is one of Tony's jobs as a fitness instructor. Pat himself lectures the campers that just because Tony wasn't doing the right thing doesn't mean they shouldn't lose weight.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Tony has shades of this, especially near the end of the movie when his father comes to straighten things out.
    • Gerry too, though to a much lighter degree.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: The camp counselors to the kids when they kidnap Tony and freak out over how much trouble they could get with the law for tying up the owner of the camp.
    • Subverted when Tony insulted Pat before Pat could free him.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: At the dance, the boys and girls don't want to dance with each other. Suddenly, a knockout walks towards the guys, and they assume she's going to ask one of them for a dance. Turns out she just wanted to know where the bathroom was.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/Heavyweights