"Tommy Boy" manages to get some laughs out of its teaming of two "Saturday Night Live" regulars — Chris Farley and David Spade. And while these guys have comic talent, they need to tone it down for the big screen.
The story has Farley as the title character, Tommy Callahan Jr., who is a clumsy loser. When he's forced to take over the family business, an auto parts company that is the lifeblood of his small hometown, Sandusky, Ohio, Tommy doesn't have a clue. So, Big Tom Sr. (Brian Dennehy) assigns his right-hand man, sarcastic and obnoxious Richard Hayden (Spade), to show Tommy the ropes.
The bulk of the film has Tommy and Richard on the road together, trying to follow the super-salesman example of Big Tom. But Richard is so snide and Tommy is so crazed, they scare off the customers.
Meanwhile, the owner of a national auto-parts chain (Dan Aykroyd in an extended but un-billed cameo) is trying to buy Big Tom's company, and if he does, the whole town will go under. If that's not enough, Big Tom's new wife (Bo Derek) and her "son" (Rob Lowe) are using sabotage to facilitate the sale. (When Tommy meets his new stepmother as she climbs out of a swimming pool wearing a bikini, he says, "She's like a 10!")
This is predictable and very silly stuff, but there are some solid laughs, and director Peter Segal ("Naked Gun 331/3: The Final Insult") even manages to get Farley and Spade to develop their characters before it's over. Surprisingly, however, some of the biggest laughs come from Rob Lowe, whose deadpan slapstick is well-played.
There are scenes in "Tommy Boy" that are far too vulgar for children, however, despite the PG-13 rating — including a lengthy series of infantile masturbation jokes during a motel sequence. The rating is also for profanity, violence and nudity.