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Theatrical release poster
Directed by Steven Brill
Produced by Judd Apatow
Roger Birnbaum
Jack Giarraputo
Written by Steven Brill
Judd Apatow
Starring Ben Stiller
Aaron Schwartz
Tom McGowan
Cinematography Victor Hammer
Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures
Release date(s) February 17, 1995
Running time 97 min.
Country USA
Language English
Budget $8 million[citation needed]

Heavyweights is a 1995 Disney comedy film, directed by Steven Brill and co-written by Brill with Judd Apatow. Heavyweights is about a fat camp for kids that is taken over by a fitness guru named Tony Perkis (Ben Stiller).



As school ends for the summer, Gerald Garner (Aaron Schwartz) is sent by his parents to Camp Hope, a weight loss camp for boys. Despite worrying at first, Gerry makes friends easily at camp and learns that Camp Hope is actually a lot of fun and won't be nearly as bad as he thinks. (As one veteran of the camp put it, Gerald is "not the fat kid, everyone's the fat kid.") He also discovers that the other campers have smuggled in enough junk food to easily stave off the hunger pangs and probably counteract any weight loss that the camp programs cause.

But all is not well at Camp Hope. The first night of the summer brings the revelation that the original owners of Camp Hope, Harvey (Jerry Stiller) and Alice Bushkin (Anne Meara), have entered bankruptcy and the camp has been bought by fitness entrepreneur Tony Perkis (Ben Stiller), who announces his plan to make the camp's new exercise regimen into the top weight loss infomercial in the country. Tony tries to make himself seem like someone the campers can relate to, saying that he was a fat kid when he was younger too, but his methods of motivating the campers border on psychotic.

Tony cleanses the cabins of the campers' food caches, cuts off their contact with the outside world, and installs an exercise outline of trendy fitness techniques that downplay fun to the point of humiliation.

The campers discover a secret food stash and actually gain weight, despite Tony's fitness regimen. Tony forces them on a 20-mile hike, reasoning that this will not only help the boys work off some of their extra weight, but will also restore discipline. On the hike, the campers trick Tony into falling into a deep pit, severely injuring him. The boys bring Tony back to camp and imprison him in a makeshift cell of chicken wire electrified with a bug zapper.

In the celebration of Tony's downfall, there is a lot of binge eating. The boys order in pizzas, submarine sandwiches, gorge themselves on chocolate and drench themselves in soda.

The next morning, Pat Finley (Tom McGowan), a counselor who had come to Camp Hope every summer since he was 10, tells the kids to finally start taking responsibility and start actually losing weight. The boys begin following a more healthy regime and start to make Camp Hope a fun place again.

On parent's visiting day, the parents are shown a video of Tony's cruelty. While they are watching, Tony escapes his prison and ends up exchanging quips and then blows with Gerry's father. In an attempt to make an impressive exit, Tony attempts a series of backflips, stumbles, and incapacitates himself. The parents tell Tony his days of terrorizing their kids are over. Tony's own father shows up to take the keys and deed for the camp away from his son to ensure this doesn't happen again. He states that the camp will be closed, and all of the money paid for admission refunded.

But the campers don't want to leave Camp Hope. Despite Tony Perkis, the camp and the friends they have made are still a lot of fun. Pat starts really putting the campers to work to win an annual competition against some rather athletic, and perhaps somewhat over-competitive campers who are trained to go at this competition with everything they have, which up until Pat took over made the competition rather one-sided. Pat, however, has been training them not to lose hope, and just to have fun, which they do. It turns out that they have just enough ability to win: to the distress of the counselors at the overly-competitive camp, who have already decided that the trophy belongs to them, and believe that Pat is crazy for being more concerned about having fun than winning.

After the credits, Tony is shown being a door to door salesman selling healing crystals.


The film currently holds a 20% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.



The DVD cover (above) was modified from the theatrical poster.
  • The movie was filmed entirely in North Carolina at an actual summer camp, Camp Pinnacle and Camp Ton-a-wandah. The Blob was, and still is used by campers.[1]
  • Some of the kids and staff wear Carolina Panthers apparel throughout the film, because the team's PR people gave the cast the merchandise to help promote the team. It was to begin its first season of play as the 29th National Football League franchise that September.
  • Ben Stiller's real life parents, Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara, play the Bushkins, the first owners of Camp Hope.
  • Besides the similarities between Tony Perkis and White Goodman, Ben Stiller may have made a more direct nod to one of his Heavyweights characters in the 2004 film, Starsky & Hutch. In Heavyweights, Stiller also plays Tony Perkis, Sr., the fitness guru's father. As David Starsky in Starsky & Hutch, he puts on a disguise and calls himself Maury Finkel for a scene in the movie. Besides both being older men and talking in the same voice, Finkel claims to be the "founder of Finkel Fixtures, biggest lighting fixture chain in the southland." In Heavyweights, Tony Perkis, Sr. is the "Lighting Fixture King" of Western Pennsylvania.
  • Like the Starsky and Hutch nod, There is also a nod to Ben Stiller's TV program The Ben Stiller Show, where Tony Perkis Sr.'s speech pattern and looks mimic one of the characters Ben Stiller plays in the show
  • Many of the actors in Heavyweights also appeared in The Mighty Ducks films.
  • In 1999, Hiphop Crew Editing Technics based their name on the Tony Perkis quote "The cinematography! The editing techniques! But I must say...the villain was a bit over the top."
  • Rapper MC Lars got his stage name from Tom Hodge's character in this film.
  • This movie's content was on verge of getting a PG-13 rating because of the excessive use of language that wouldn't be found in a Disney movie.
  • In the Apache Relay intelligence contest, the different category judges resemble figures that are famous for the area of knowledge. The mathematical judge is dressed as Albert Einstein, the art judge is dressed as Andy Warhol, and the American history judge is dressed as the Statue of Liberty.
  • The Apache Relay is parodied on the HBO sketch comedy series Mr. Show in the episode It's Perfectly Understandishable.
  • The opening scene was filmed at East Henderson High School in Hendersonville, North Carolina
  • During the 20 Mile Hike, Tony Perkis recites the story of the Greek mythological figure Icarus, who, in his words, continually rolled a ball up a hill until it melted in the heat of the sun. This story doesn't exist in Greek myth. Icarus was actually a boy who flew too close to the sun, melting his wings in the process. The man who continually rolls a ball is Sisyphus, however, his ball never melts. Perkis seems to have merged the two stories together.
  • The film marks one of the earliest collaborations between Ben Stiller and Judd Apatow.


External links



Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote


Gerry: "I'm not going to camp with a bunch of fat loads!"
Lars: "I'm feeling skinny, Tony!"
Tony: "Good morning, Campers. Today is evaluation day. The key word here is value. Do you have any? Not yet. But by the time camp is over, you will all be a bunch of skinny winners."
Lars: "HEY, DON'T PEE IN THE WAHTER! Don't drink the wahter, he peed in it!"
Harvey Bushkin: "Never let anybody sign your checks!"
Tony: "Come here you devil log!"
Tony: "Kids: at age twelve, I weighed 319 pounds. I had bad skin, low self esteem, and no self respect. Now, I eat success for breakfast...with skim milk. Pounds are gonna fly, and fat is..... outta here, mister! And we're gonna do it TOGETHER!"
Josh: "Oh, my, god."

(Tony runs down aisle high-fiving unwilling kids)

Kid: "I wanna go home!"
Lars: "Please put your fat finger DOWN!"
Lars: "You've broken my camera!"
Tony: "All you need is Mother Earth, Father Sky, and your dear old Uncle Tony."
Tony: "Congratulations, you've just joined the 76% of Americans who forget to stretch before doing any physical activity."
Tony: "Step on the scale!"
Josh: "Alrighty."
Tony: "Step off the scale."
Roy: "Lars? What kind of name is that? Where you from?"
Lars: "... Far away."
Roy: [gulps heavily]
Tony: "Attention Campers; Lunch has been canceled today, due to lack of hustle. Deal with it."
Lars: [over speakers] "Now, its time to meet your new owner and operator. Tony Perkis is a man who believes in you. His life is dedicated to saying things like "YES!" and "You better believe it!" Entrepreneur, a motivator, and a new friend! May I introduce, TONY PERKIS!"
Maury: "I did NOT send you to 'Go-Kart' camp!"
Tony: "Anybody who brings candy to this camp isn't your friend. He's a destroyer."
Josh: The candy belongs to Seymour Butts.
Tony: Seymour Butts? Who's Seymour Butts? Who's Seymour Butts, hmm? WHO'S SEYMOUR BUTTS?!!
Josh: Nobody's seen more butts than you, Uncle Tony!
Tony: You picked the wrong man to mess with.
Josh: Oh, I didn't know I was messing with a man!
Tony: Let me make something very clear: the PerkiSystem does not work with cheaters like Gerald Garner! OK?! How can I sell an infomercial about fat kids who can't keep their piggy little snouts shut?! Hmm? Who's gonna buy that, huh?


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