Holy schnikes is it hard to live up to "Tommy Boy." While it wasn't exactly a critical darling, it performed ridiculously well in home video rentals, but none of that matters compared to the love audiences had and continue to have for the Chris Farley classic. Despite its textbook goofy '90s comedy score and some of the more painfully uncomfortable humor that hasn't aged well (I'm looking at you, pool scene), "Tommy Boy" is as loveable as its lead, Herbie Hancock and all. At its core, it has a whole lot of heart which sets it apart from the rest of Farley's films. Take "Black Sheep," for example.
According to David Spade (via Uproxx), ahead of shooting "Tommy Boy," Farley had signed a two-picture deal with Paramount. Evidently, this was an effort to prove to studio execs that he was serious about his career in the wake of repeated stints in rehab. So regardless of the initial film's success, Farley would be back for another movie at a fixed rate. Whether or not that movie got made, however, depended on whether or not Spade dug the script and agreed to do the project.
The project would become "Black Sheep," and it would largely be considered a disaster. But before Spade even read the script, another offer was put on the table, specifically for Farley: a starring role in an upcoming film called "The Cable Guy" for a cool $3 million paycheck.
Missed Opportunities All Around
Per a 2016 article from Uproxx, David Spade knew that the final decision about whether or not "Black Sheep," the follow-up for the not-so-dynamic (but hilarious) duo got made, was in his hands. If he enjoyed the script and was willing to do the project, Spade could negotiate a much higher rate for himself, and by association, so could screenwriter Fred Wolf. He'd done some extra work polishing up the final screenplay for "Tommy Boy" and had been hired to tackle the script for "Black Sheep."
According to Spade's autobiography "Almost Interesting," it seems he did in fact like the script (even if he would later detest its final iteration). "That night I read it and realized it wasn't perfect but there was a funny movie in there," he wrote. "I thought we could work with Fred, pepper in our extra jokes, and everything would work out fine."
Everything did not work out fine.
The movie tried to replicate that magic that made "Tommy Boy" so wonderful, except seemingly without actually understanding what made the movie work in the first place. It just did more and did it bigger, louder, and more obnoxiously under the assumption that that's why audiences loved the first film (it wasn't). At the end of the day, it was a missed opportunity, and Chris Farley missed the chance at a potentially explosive moment in his career.
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