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Frat Pack Tribute Movie Review: Heavy Weights

Review by Kevin Crossman

Heavy Weights is not the kind of film that attracts attention of typical Frat Pack fans, but thanks to an interesting and funny performance by Ben Stiller it does warrant attention. It also features the first cinematic collaboration between a Frat Pack star (Stiller) and one of the Frat Packagers (Judd Apatow), making it perhaps the first movie with Frat Pack credentials.

The film focuses on Gerry Garner (Aaron Schwartz) who initially is reluctant to go to a “Fat Camp” but warms up when meeting fellow campers that include a young Keenan Thompson. Gerry also warms to former-camper and current counselor Pat Finley (Frasier’s Tom McGowan). The kid-oriented tale goes haywire when lovable camp owners the Bushkins (Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara) are forced to sell to fitness guru Tony Perkins (Ben Stiller) who insanely drives the kids to lose weight.

Perkins is attempting to film a documentary/infomercial about his cutting edge weight loss system, but finds resistance from the kids who just want to be, well, kids. The film then turns, inevitably, about how the kids and like-minded camp staff will find a way to thwart and overthrow Perkin’s totalitarian regime.The film is harmless for kids, who may enjoy the "it's okay to be who you are" theme that was mined more successfully in Dodgeball.

The movie has a few funny, predictable moments, but it's worth seeing this movie just to see Ben do his thing. Tony Perkins sports a giant mane of hair, arrogance hiding a chip-on-his-shoulder past, and a posse of minions. If it sounds a little like Dodgeball's White Goodman, you'd be right. Ben also plays Tony Perkins Sr., a thinly veiled prototype for Maury Ballstein, a role Ben originally was going to play in Zoolander before turning it over to his father Jerry.

Ben has some funny moments and it's fascinating seeing the prototypes for characters we're more familiar with. For this reason, it should be seen by every fan of Dodgeball or Zoolander. Another Frat Pack connection is Judd Apatow, credited as co-writer and executive producer in this film directed by Steven Brill (Drillbit Taylor).