Produced by Lorne Michaels, TOMMY BOY ($30) was the film that began the transition of Saturday Night Live alumni Chris Farley and David Spade to bigger and better things. TOMMY BOY was definitely a showcase for Farley’s outrageous comic talents, plus certain aspects of the character weren’t much of a stretch for the actor. In TOMMY BOY Farley portrays Thomas R. "Tommy" Callahan III, a partying, "D" level college student, who has taken seven years to complete his higher education. Upon his return to his hometown, Sandusky, Ohio, his father, auto parts company president, Tom Callahan Jr. (Brian Dennehy), gives Tommy Boy an executive position in the company, which will be a stepping-stone to his eventual takeover of the family business.
Tommy’s father also presents his son with another surprise, announcing his pending nuptials to Beverly Barish (Bo Derek), and that Tommy will soon have a stepbrother, in the form of Beverly's son Paul (Rob Lowe). However, all of this happiness is short lived, when Tommy’s father suffers a fatal heart attack during the wedding reception. Tom’s death also signals a possible end to the family business, when the bank reneges on a loan to cover the cost of company’s new brake pad division. In order to save the family business from being bought out by "auto parts king" Ray Zalinsky (Dan Aykroyd), Tommy Boy puts his inheritance up as collateral, and sets off on a cross-country sales trip with his father's former assistant, Richard Hayden (David Spade). Of course, Tommy’s inexperience, immaturity and social defects do little to sell brake pad’s to potential buyers… The cast of TOMMY BOY also features Julie Warner, Sean McCann and Zach Grenier.
Paramount Home Entertainment has made TOMMY BOY available on Blu-ray Disc in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. The 1080p presentation is quite nice, but doesn’t disguise that this is a modestly budgeted comedy from the mid-1990s. As expected, image sharpness, detail and clarity are all improved in high definition, which should please fans of this movie. Additionally, the picture appears far more dimensional that it did on DVD or cable. Colors are nice and attractive, as are the flesh tones. The blacks and whites are satisfactory for undemanding material. Contrast and shadow detail also hold up fairly well. The elements from which TOMMY BOY has been mastered do show some minor blemishes, sometimes a few more than I would like to see, but never an excessive amount. Grain is usually relatively mild, except for the darker scenes, which show a bit more.
TOMMY BOY is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. For the most part, this is a standard issue, completely unremarkable, talky comedy mix. In a couple of sequences the outlying channels kick to life, but usually, they provide little beyond general ambience and musical fill. The musical component has respectable fidelity, but the nature of the track is fairly non-taxing. Dialogue is crisply rendered and remains totally understandable. For this road trip, the bass channel is pretty much asleep at the wheel. A Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 channel track is also encoded onto the disc, as is a French 2.0 track. English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles are also present.
Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc’s interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the supplements. Starting things off is a running Audio Commentary with director Peter Segal. Featurettes include: Tommy Boy: Behind The Laughter (twenty nine minutes), Stories From The Side Of The Road (fourteen minutes), Just The Two Of Us (ten minutes) and Growing Up Farley (seven minutes). Storyboard Comparisons, Deleted Scenes, TV Spots and a Theatrical Trailer closeout the supplements.
While TOMMY BOY was definitely a showcase for Farley’s outrageous comic talents, the movie also had its heart in the right place. The Blu-ray release provides this 90’s era comedy with its best looking presentation ever.
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