Heavyweights

(i)

 

Early Judd Apatow film makes fat camp mischievous and fun.
  • Review Date: June 11, 2009
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1995
  • Running Time: 97 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Confusing messages about being overweight. Some of the tactics that Tony uses are cruel, and the revenge pranks that the campers enact are pushing it. The only females in the film are love-interests or mothers.

Violence

Tony is tied up and put inside of a cage with an electric fence. A father punches him in the stomach at the end of the movie.

Sex

Teens shown making out as the opening credits roll. One of the Camp Hope boys makes out with a girl at the dance. Pat the counselor kisses the camp nurse.

Language

"Damn," "big ass," "see you in hell," "kick his ass."

Consumerism

Food, glorious food! All kinds of candies and pizzas and junk food abound. Taco Bell, Burger King, McDonald's signs are displayed.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Food is treated like a drug -- the jonesing, the stashes, the withdrawals. Adults like the cameraman and the cook smoke cigarettes.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this comedy sends confusing signals about being overweight. It's not clear if the movie is about self-acceptance or self-loathing. There's some mild potty language and some pranks that get a little out of hand, as well.

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

On the last day of school, Gerry Gardner (Aaron Schwartz) gets some unwanted news from his parents: this summer, he's being sent off to "fat camp." Once he's there, though, he meets some great guys who are happy to be away from the rest of the cruel, skinny world, and who share Gerry's obsession with candy and junk food. Their fabulous summer is threatened when Tony Perkis (Ben Stiller) buys the camp from its beloved owners, ruling with an iron fist. Not only are the kids depressed, but the counselors are shamed into submission. Camp movies never have a sad ending, though. Guess what happens in the end?

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Ben Stiller's performance as a health maniac who operates the camp as a means to making a weight-loss infomercial is pretty dark. Yes it's funny when he shimmies about in his spandex shorts, doing sham tai chi, but there is something not right about his villainous camp counselor act. Is he having fun playing the role? He's not Bill Murray, that's for sure.

This said, older viewers might appreciate the satire more than younger kids. Judd Apatow is a co-writer on this film, which should ring some bells about over-the-top behavior. In all, HEAVYWEIGHTS does deliver some classic laugh-out-loud moments for the less faint of heart.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about food and its role in our lives. We need to eat to survive, right?

  • But what influences our decisions to eat certain foods?

  • Are you hungrier when you watch TV?

  • When does it feel good to eat? When do you not feel good about eating?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 4, 1995
DVD release date:March 4, 2003
Cast:Aaron Schwartz, Ben Stiller, Tom McGowan
Director:Steven Brill
Studio:Walt Disney Pictures
Genre:Comedy
Topics:Friendship
Run time:97 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:For some rude language and pranks

This review of Heavyweights was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • Slapstick comedy is funny but full of iffy stuff.
  • A terrific family movie based on a terrific book.
  • Very edgy baseball comedy is funny, poignant.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written bywonder dove November 5, 2012

Great fun!!

Heavyweights is such a great little movie! First saw it when I was around 10 and loved it. I recently purchased the DVD a couple of years ago just for kicks, it brings back so many memories! The film is excellent fun for kids and even some adults will enjoy it! It will not offend anyone who is overweight. It takes off with a nice kid named Gerry when his parents sit him down after school and present him with a "fat camp" video tape where overweight boys get to spend the summer having fun at a camp and losing weight. At first he's hesitant, but later realizes how cool it really is. He meets lots of friends and things seem awesome until the new owner of the program, Tony (Ben Stiller) disciplines the boys so harshly that they end up rebelling, and having no fun! The boys must then figure out how they can get rid of Tony for good and save Camp Hope. There is some minor violence but in a humorous way, language isn't too bad (D@mn and @ss are mentioned throughout), some flirting between adults who share a sincere kiss, one brief make out session with a boy & girl at a dance. LOTS of food thrown around. The film will be sure to keep you laughing, it's energetic and upbeat! Amazing acting. Great for 9 and up!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Parent of a 9, 11, and 16 year old Written byYouth Dev Profe... May 14, 2010

Welcome to Summer

One of my favorites as a kid...plan on showing it to my students as a "welcome to summer" movie.
What other families should know
Great role models

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Star Wars Guide