I can’t say for certain the first time I watched “Tommy Boy” but I can tell you I’ve seen it more than a couple dozen times. For a guy who grew up in the 80s and 90s, there was no better comedy combo than Chris Farley and David Spade. They may only ever be on the back end of comedy duo lists but for me they are number one.
“Tommy Boy” was released in 1995 serving as the latest installment of Saturday Night Live’s grab bag of films. SNL creator and this film’s producer, Lorne Michaels, was counting on the up and coming popularity of SNL’s young cast members to strike gold at the box office. Alas, by industry standards, “Tommy Boy” was barely successful in the theaters. What time tends to do for some films though is gather a following that reaches cult status.
I was not prone to watching SNL as a kid. I am pretty sure I was barely aware of it up until my later teens. However, I came across “Tommy Boy” and instantly took to it. I’m sure I first watched it at a friend’s house (it was not necessarily a movie my parents would have allowed) and its impact hit me like a fat guy in a little coat.
Chris Farley was brilliant as the lovable son, Tommy Callahan, of an auto parts industry tycoon. Taking eight years to finish college, he returns home to celebrate his new position as vice president in the family company and his dad’s remarrying after years of being alone. David Spade is the equally brilliant sarcastic assistant to Tommy’s dad who finds himself connected to Tommy’s hip. Hilarity ensues when the pair have to go on a sales trip to keep the company going after Tommy’s dad dies unexpectedly. Road trip movies are their own subgenre (see Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, Dumb and Dumber, and more) but Tommy Boy carries a charm and impression that makes it easy to come back to.
This film is forever re-watchable for me simply because of its memorable moments and one-liners. Here’s a fun fact: my wife upon watching for the first time realized quickly that much of my sarcasm simply mimicked the biting power of David Spade’s own in this movie. That’s right. While I can’t help but walk through the door when a moment for sarcasm opens, most of my arsenal is accredited to my hero, David Spade. She became less impressed with me but then she started quoting the film as much as I do and that’s as they say is that.
When it comes to comedies, “Tommy Boy”, is in my top five easily. It has heart and laughs up the wazoo. Turn it on and I’ll quote it throughout still laughing all these years later, forever thankful that the late Chris Farley was immortalized in this comedy classic.