A movie about a fat camp might not sound like the most uplifting piece of entertainment, but the 1995 Disney film, Heavyweights, manages to be both hilarious and heartwarming. It’s hilarious, mostly in part to (the now infamous) Judd Apatow’s writing credit. We know him now for his producing work on Bridesmaids, Superbad, and Knocked Up, but in 1995, Apatow wasn’t the famous funny man he is now. The heartwarming parts come from the relationships between the young characters.
Disney’s Heavyweights not only features the work of Apatow but also helped launch the careers of Kenan Thompon, Ben Stiller, and Aaron Schwartz, as well as featuring veteran actors Jeffrey Tambour, Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara, who are married in real life, and parents to co-star, Ben Stiller.
The movie follows Gerry Garner (Aaron Schwartz) who is sent to a posh camp for overweight boys. While he is reluctant to go at first, once he gets there, he finds a group of friends that he has a lot in common with, and the summer seems promising, after all. That is until the camp changes ownership and Gerry and his buds have to navigate a new philosophy about weightloss and training from the new guy in charge, a manic fitness expert. The boys hatch a plan to fight back and wind up gaining a lot of perspective and wisdom.
Even though the movie is over 20 years old, it can still be a fun way to get everybody together on the couch for a fun, family viewing. You can watch ‘Heavyweights’ online or find ‘Heavyweights’ streaming and take a little trip back in time.
Here’s how to stream and watch Heavyweights right now:
How to Stream ‘Heavyweights’ – Exclusively on Disney+
The Parent Trap is one of the classic 90s Disney movies that will be streaming exclusively on Disney’s new subscription streaming service, Disney+.
You can sign up for a 7-day free trial of Disney+ HERE, which will allow you to stream The Parent Trap and hundreds of other movies and shows on your computer, phone, tablet, smart TV or streaming device. If you extend past the free trial, the service costs $6.99/month. You may also opt for this discount bundle of Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ for $12.99/month.
- 1. Sign up for Disney+ here
- 2. Go to Disneyplus.com or download the Disney+ app on your device
- 3. Log in using your information
- 4. Search for “The Parent Trap”
- 5. Start streaming
Disney+ also boasts a vast library of Disney-owned movies and series — plus several new original series coming soon. The service includes unlimited downloads so you can watch offline whenever and wherever you want. The list of compatible devices and smart TVs includes iPads, Apple TV, Amazon devices, Amazon Fire TV, Android, Chromecast, Roku, PS4, and Xbox One.
Release Date: February 7, 1995
Creators: Judd Apatow, Steven Brill
Director: Steven Brill
Starring: Ben Stiller, Jerry Stiller, Kenan Thompson, Aaron Schwartz
Synopsis: A group of overweight boys is sent to a posh camp to learn new habits from a gentile old couple. When the camp goes bankrupt and changes ownership, a new fitness guru steps in and turns it into a much different place. The boys decide to fight back and regain control of the camp and their own lives.
How Long Is ‘Heavyweights’?
Heavyweights is 100 minutes long.
Gerry Garner’s (Aaron Schwartz) parents plan for him to spend his summer at Camp Hope, a sleep-away camp for overweight boys. He doesn’t initially feel good about it, but once he arrives, he meets other campers and realizes Camp Hope won’t be so bad. He hits it off with the most veteran camper, Roy (Kenan Thompson), and discovers they have snuck in a lot of goodies that will tide them over through the summer.
Camp Hope has been run by the sweet old couple, the Bushkins (Jerry Stiller, Anne Meara) for years, but this year they had to file bankruptcy. The camp is taken over by a rigid, fitness extremist, Tony Perkins (Ben Stiller) who isn’t as welcoming or kind as the Bushkins. He tries to gain their trust by telling him that he was a “fat kid” when he was younger, but his real motivations are soon revealed.
Tony is a fitness entrepreneur and he immediately declares his intention to use the kids at Camp Hope for a weight loss infomercial. Although he initially seems relatable, his notions about working out are downright outrageous. Tony finds the boys’ stash of junk food and promptly throws it out, cuts them off from the outside world, and institutes humiliating exercise routines.
The boys are naturally upset over these changes, and quickly find out about an underground food exchange and wind up putting on weight instead of losing any. At the halfway mark of the summer, Tony decides to weigh the boys, and when he discovers they’ve actually gained weight, he forces them on a 20-mile hike. On the hike, they trick him into falling into a hole gets seriously injured.
The boys bring him back to camp, hold him prisoner, and restore the camp to its former policies. To celebrate the downfall of Tony, the boys throw a party and celebrate with pizza, sub sandwiches, and chocolate and soda. Their celebration was short-lived, cut short by long-time camper-turned-counselor, Pat Finley. Pat convinces the boys to take their weight loss seriously, and the campers start on a more healthy regimen.
When parents’ day rolls around, the campers expose Tony’s cruelty with a video, and Tony escapes to confront the parents. Gerry’s father exchanges a few words, but Tony is only concerned with one-upping the parents. He tries to exit with a series of acrobatics, injuring himself during a backflip. The parent promise that Tony’s’ reign of terror is over, and almost close the camp forever.
The boys protest, demanding to stay at Camp Hope with their friends. Despite Tony’s influence, they have made strong friendships and want to continue to spend the summer. Gerry’s dad appoints Pat the new director, and Pat leads the boys to win the annual competition.
In the end, everyone learns that it’s more important to have fun and be kind to your friends.
With a few exceptions, the cast of ‘Heavyweights’ was virtually unknown, but the film launched the careers of several of its actors.
Ben Stiller as Tony Perkins
In 1995, Ben Stiller wasn’t completely unknown, but he wasn’t the comedy powerhouse we know now. In the years directly preceding his role as Tony Perkins, he starred in his own comedy sketch show, ‘The Ben Stiller Show,’ which aired on MTV. It only lasted one season but featured his co-stars (and parents) Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara. After it was canceled, it went on to win a Primetime Emmy Award in 1993 for Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program.
Kenan Thompson as Roy
Kenan Thompson was just a teenager when ‘Heavyweights’ debuted, but he had already made a name for himself in the ‘Mighty Ducks’ franchise. He starred in ‘D2’ the year before and went on to be in the third installment the following year. This film marked a turning point for Thompson, and he went on to make quite a few hugely popular movies and series, including ‘Good Burger,’ ‘The Kenan and Kel Show’ and ‘All That.’ These days, you can find him live every Saturday night as a regular on the long-running sketch show, ‘Saturday Night Live.’
Jerry Stiller as Harvey Bushkin
Jerry Stiller is essentially comedy royalty. He’s been a working actor for over 50 years, and still finds ways to keep audiences laughing. He is the father of co-star Ben Stiller and husband to co-star Anne Meara and often appears alongside them in movies and TV shows. His credits are far too many to list, but some of his best and funniest work is playing a dad to some of TV’s favorite characters in ‘Seinfeld,’ and ‘King of Queens.
Aaron Schwartz as Gerry Garner
Aaron Scwhartz is also a child actor that parlayed his early success into adulthood. When he appeared in ‘Heavyweights’ he was fresh off the show ‘Adventures of Pete and Pete’ and was also in ‘The Mighty Ducks.’ Since the mid-’90s he’s had a lot of roles in movies and TV, but most notably he starred as Vanya on ‘Gossip Girl’ and ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.’
‘Heavyweights’ Songs and Soundtrack
The film’s original score was composed by J.A.C Redford, but the soundtrack is made up of a collection of fun and recognizable oldies. There’s something for everyone – from ‘You Sexy Thing’ by Hot Chocolate to ‘I Want Candy’ by Bow Wow Wow. In fact, it would make an excellent workout mix.
‘Heavyweights’ at the Box Office
The film only made $17.6 million at the box office but, like many Disney movies, went on to garner a huge and faithful cult following.
‘Heavyweights’ Reviews – What the Critics Said
The reviews were lukewarm for this movie. Although critics didn’t pan the movie outright, they had some major problems with structure and story. At the time, audiences didn’t really respond either, as indicated by the paltry box office. However, since its release on Blu-ray and streaming, its seen a resurgence in popularity.
Where ‘Heavyweights’ Fits in the Disney Movie Pantheon
You’re probably not going to find ‘Heavyweights’ on many best-of lists. It didn’t get a lot of critical attention nor did audiences flock to theaters to see it. In today’s current climate, it could be viewed as a bit problematic but for a lot of viewers of that generation, it sent an important message about self-esteem and friendship. It did well enough to warrant a ‘Heavyweights 2’ in which Jennifer Garner played the villain. She plays Sidney Perkins’, Tony’s sister, who is there to avenge her brother’s humiliation.
‘DISNEY MOVIE’ Trailer
‘Heavyweights’ Trivia: 5 Fast Facts
1. Even ‘South Park’ gets the appeal of this movie.
‘Heavyweights’ was parodied in a season four episode of ‘South Park’ entitled ‘Fat Camp.’
2. They were plenty of ‘Mighty Ducks’ to go around.
Stars Aaron Schwartz, Kenan Thompson, and Shaun Weiss were all in the ‘Mighty Ducks’ movie. In fact, Shaun Weiss was reluctant to do ‘Heavyweights,’ but was told he couldn’t participate in subsequent ‘Duck’ movies if he didn’t.
3. The deleted scenes are where the good stuff is.
There are over 30 deleted scenes on the Blu-ray version, released in 2012.In one, Ben Stiller’s character Tony Perkins takes a bow and arrow and aims it at the character, Gerry, and the on-screen parents. Disney didn’t think this was in such good taste, and it wound up on the cutting room floor.
4. This movie might be the reason Judd Apatow and Leslie Mann are even married.
As a way to impress his, then girlfriend, Leslie, Judd Apatow showed her an early cut of the movie on their first date. He thought it would impress her, and apparently, it worked. They’ve been married 22 years now.
5. Acting can be dangerous work.
While filming the party scene after Tony Perkins has been locked up, Aaron Schwartz (Gerry) injures his arm. They had to hide his cast for the remainder of the shoot.