A 1995 comedy directed by Peter Segal and starring Chris Farley
and David Spade
Tommy Callahan (Farley) is the Man Child
son of charismatic auto-part-factory owner Tom Callahan (Brian Dennehy). Big Tom is marrying Beverly Barish-Burns (Bo Derek
), a trophy wife who brings along her rather conniving adult "son" Paul (Rob Lowe), but things go downhill when Big Tom suffers a fatal heart attack at the wedding reception. His now-widow and stepson quickly set plans in motion to sell the company to rival auto magnate Ray Zalinsky (Dan Aykroyd
), which will make them rich but put all the workers at Callahan out of business.
The only way for Tommy to avert this is to go on the road and sell enough orders for brake pads to make the company profitable. But will a bumbling idiot who took seven years to finish college have enough business savvy to make a sale... and will he be able to overcome the scheming of his new "family"?
The movie was panned by critics (Roger Ebert
put it on his Most Hated Film List
), but it was a success commercially and was Chris Farley's Breakout Role
Not to be confused with Tomboy
. See also Black Sheep
, a another comedy film starring Chris Farley and David Spade released the following year.
This film provides examples of:
- Absurdly Youthful Mother: Beverly looks awfully young for someone with a grownup son. It's because she's not really Paul's mother; she's his wife!
- The Alleged Car: Richard's Cool Car turns into this during the course of the film, between the M&M's, the door coming off at the gas station, the deer tearing up the entire backseat (and most of the rest of the car), and the hood coming off because of the oil can left in. By the end of the film, Richard parks it illegally and tells the objecting security guard to "keep it".
- Amazing Freaking Grace: Played during Big Tom's funeral.
- Amusing Injuries: Paul. Also Tommy, when Richard finally loses it around him.
- Big Fun: Applies to both Tommy and Big Tom Callahan.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Tommy. Richard, upon realizing this, explains this to him by comparing "Book Smart" (which Tommy clearly lacks) with "Street Smart". Once Tommy relaxes and stops trying too hard, he becomes an excellent salesman.
- Breathe on the Fan: Luke... I am your father. (also a Beam Me Up, Scotty!)
- Camp Straight: Richard
- Casual Car Giveaway: At the end of the film when Tommy and Richard arrive at the doors of the airport, they ditch their car. When a police officer tells them that they're not allowed to park there, Richard tosses him the keys and says "keep it" (the car was basically falling apart at this point).
- Catch Phrase: "Son of a..."
- "I have a plan!" "...Yikes."
- "Shut up, Richard."
- "Holy shnikies!"
- "That's gonna leave a mark."
- Caught with Your Pants Down / A Date with Rosie Palms: Richard
- Charm Person: Big Tom Callahan is gifted when it comes to talking people into doing what he wants them to do (as Richard says to Tommy "your dad could sell a ketchup Popsicle to a woman wearing white gloves"). Later on Tommy discovers that he has the same talent once he stops imitating his dad and just does what comes naturally.
- Chekhov's Gun: Michelle tells Tommy that her brother has since become a policeman. Later, she learns from him that Beverly and Paul aren't actually mother and son, but a husband and wife team of con artists.
- Chew Toy: Richard's car.
- Childhood Brain Damage: A Running Gag in the movie has people ask Chris Farley's character if he did X (ate paint chips, played around power-lines, etc.) as a child. Tommy would usually answer "Why?"
- Comically Missing the Point: When Big Tom introduced Beverly to Tommy, he told Tommy about having proposed to her. Tommy asked him what her reply was.
- Cow Tipping: The title character takes his soon-to-be-stepbrother out cow tipping. However, when he attempts to knock the cow over, he slips in the mud, the cow moos, the farmer comes out and chases them off with a shotgun.
- Danger Takes A Back Seat: The deer, in a Crowning Moment of Funny.
- A Date with Rosie Palms: Richard has one while ogling Ms. Fanservice from his hotel window. Tommy never lets him live it down.
- Deadpan Snarker: Richard
- Dodgy Toupee: The dodgy half is averted, as no one would've known Richard was even wearing one until it was blown off by a big fan.
- Does This Make Me Look Fat?: "No no no, your face does."
- Donut Mess with a Cop: Michelle's brother used to steal donuts back when he and Tommy were kids. He's a cop now.
- Door Dumb: Tommy tries to open the front door to the university building, only to find it locked. After panicking and giving up, he slumps down on the steps just as another student calmly opens the adjacent door and walks in.
- Everyone Went to School Together: Tommy and Richard knew each other since childhood, and Tommy also went to school with Michelle and her unseen brother Dwayne. Makes sense as Sandusky is a rather small town.
- Fake Video Camera View: When Richard is filming parts of the wedding.
- Fanservice / Fanservice Extra: The gorgeous blonde woman who only appears in a single scene so she can go skinny-dipping.
- Fat and Skinny: "Fat guy in a little coat! Fat guy in a little coat!"
- Foreign Sounding Gibberish: The closed captioners didn't bother to look up the proper Spanish lyrics for the scene where the two of them sing "Eres tú", thus rendering the lyrics as quasi-Spanish-looking nonsense.
- Genius Ditz: As Richard points out: Tommy may not have book smarts, but he has "street smarts." He's great at convincing people to do what he wants them to do, which in turn makes him a great salesman once he stops trying to imitate his father and just does what comes naturally.
- Gilligan Cut:
- Richard tells Tommy they can't take no for an answer. Cut to a montage of customers saying "no" and Tommy going, "Okay, then" and getting up to leave.
- The Carpenters' "Superstar" is on the car radio - Tommy and Richard both shrug noncommittally about changing stations. Quick scene cut, and they're both singing the song at the top of their lungs, tears streaming down their cheeks.
- Gold Digger: Beverly, who marries Big Tom just so she can divorce him later on and take half his fortune.
- Graceful Loser: Zalinsky, once he realizes he can't salvage the situation.
- Guile Hero: Tommy when he puts his mind to things.
- Hollywood Heart Attack: Big Tom Callahan dies from one of these.
- I Take Offense to That Last One: In the Chicago office building when a little boy calls Tommy out for being a bank robber, he says, "Oh, like it was some other real fat guy with a tiny head!" Tommy says, "... I have a tiny head?"
- Jerk Ass: Richard, although he evolves into somewhat of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
- Karma Houdini: While Paul is arrested and effectively vasectomized, Beverly not only gets away scot-free but gets a brand-new, even richer sugar daddy.
- Justified, since Paul abandoned her while trying to escape and was the one who actually came up with the plans and performed sabotage on the company. The only "evil" things Beverly did was marry a man for his money and lie about already being married (and try to sell off the company, but hey that's just business).
- Of course that leaves a problem of felony aiding and abetting, but it's just a movie.
- Kids Are Cruel: The three kids at the lake.
- Large Ham: Tommy, of course.
- Late for School: The movie opens with a scene of young Tommy frantically trying to catch the bus to elementary school, then skips forward to modern day where Tommy is in college and late for his final history exam.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When they need to change clothes on the airplane, Richard steps into the bathroom first, and emerges fully changed two seconds later. Then, while Richard explains to Tommy what they need to do when they get to Chicago, Tommy is looking back and forth from Richard to the bathroom, utterly perplexed.
- Man Child: Tommy, again.
- A Minor Kidroduction: The opening scene of the film depicts both Tommy and Richard as children.
- Mistaken for Terrorist: Well, mistaken for bank robber. Twice in fact: The first time, he simply yells "Listen up! This will only take a second!" and everyone drops to the ground. The second time, he's Strapped to a Bomb made of road flares, trying to get the attention of the news crew that's only there because of the first mistake.
- Mood Whiplash: Heartwarming reunion! Gleeful wedding! Tear-jerking funeral. Funny buddy road movie?
- Never Live It Down: In-universe: Tommy catches Richard ogling an attractive skinny-dipper. After some initial teasing, they go to bed:
Tommy: Big day tomorrow. Hope we can keep this momentum goin'.
Richard: Yup. That'd be good.
Tommy: Richard... Who's you're favorite little rascal? Alfalfa? Or is it Spanky? ...Sinner.
- Never My Fault: "Whatcha do?"
- Phrase Catcher / Running Gag: "Did you eat a lot of paint chips when you were a kid?"
- "Hehehe... why?"
- Near the end, Zalinsky changes it a bit and asks if he lived under power lines when he was a kid.
- Random Events Plot: To the point that Roger Ebert declared that "is one of those movies that plays like an explosion down at the screenplay factory."
- Reality Ensues: A guy of Chris Farley's size changing clothes in a tiny airplane bathroom? Tommy even tries to protest (maybe he can change at the airport?) but Richard won't have it. Rule of Funny in effect here.
- This is even set up by Richard going into the bathroom before him...and emerging fully changed two seconds later.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Tommy gets more than his share of these speeches from Richard throughout the movie, but Richard gets a very well-deserved one from a prospective client, who calls him out on being a smug, condescending Jerk Ass to everyone he meets.
Client: There's a problem: I don't like you. I never have, and I probably never will. You're a smug, unhappy little man who treats people like they're idiots.
- Refuge in Audacity: When Richard gets drunk after Paul's computer sabotage makes things turn way south, Tommy's car's targeted by cops; when the car weaves, they put their lights on, but Tommy relates a little trick his Dad taught him; they stop the car and act like giant bees are attacking them! Both cops in pursuit are allergic to bees, so they leave. Score!
- Running Gag:
Tommy: Can I open my eyes now, dad?
Big Tom: I told you not to cover them.
Big Tom: For God's sakes, stop covering your damn eyes!
- Also, Tommy keeps screwing up his dad's catch phrase ("I could get a good look at a t-bone steak by sticking my head up a bull's ass, but I'd rather take the butcher's word for it!") with hilarious results.
- Sarcasm Mode: "Oh that sounds good: melted chocolate inside the dash. That really ups the resale value."
- Is Richard ever not in sarcasm mode?
- Shirtless Scene: Involuntary on accident-prone Paul's part, after it gets caught in a pneumatic tube. He's very nonchalant about it. But maybe it was on purpose...
- Something Something Leonard Bernstein: Done with the trope naming song (they only catch the chorus and "6 O'clock, TV hour" before it goes down to mumbling).
- Shout-Out: Star Wars.
- I know.
- Bo Derek wears the same bathing suit she wore in Ten. Lampshaded by Tommy when he comments "Dad, she's like... a ten!"
- Is Tommy channeling Captain Kirk the second time he "gets a plan?"
- Strapped to a Bomb: Tommy fakes this with road flares and Richard's watch.
- Tempting Fate: Averted, when after meeting with Zalinsky and seeing his "new mom and brother" in the boardroom Tommy and Richard sit on a park bench while Tommy bemoans their state of affairs. He doesn't have time to say, "At least it can't get any worse" before the bench collapses under their weight.
- Travelling Salesman Montage: Of course.
- There are two in fact. One as a failure and one as a success.
- Unholy Matrimony: Paul and Beverly are a husband and wife team of con artists who pose as a mother and her son.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Tommy and Richard are constantly trading insults with each other, but when the chips are down they have to admit that they consider each other friends.
- We Care: Zalinsky's ads: "I make car parts for the American working man, because that's what I am, and that's who I care about." The reality: "Truth is, I make car parts for the American working man because I'm a hell of a salesman and he doesn't know any better."
- What the Hell, Hero?: Tommy tells Michelle if she keeps the files in the file cabinet, then they wouldn't have lost the factory.
- Won't Take "Yes" for an Answer: Tommy certainly wasn't expecting someone would buy from him...
- Wicked Stepmother: Beverly was this to Tommy until it was revealed she was already married to Paul, thus making her marriage to Big Tom illegal.
- Worthy Opponent: After Tommy tricks Zalinsky into buying half a million brake pads and saving Callahan Auto, Zalinsky seems impressed rather than outraged.
Zalinsky: Well kid, you threw one by me. Savor the flavor because it sure as hell won't happen again. In the meantime, good luck to you.
- You Don't Want to Catch This: "Bees! Bees! Oh God, they're everywhere!"