review by Bobby Blakey
Shout Factory continues to release a wide range of films through their varying brands including Shout Select. Their latest release to the brand is the 1980 film Fatso starring comedy icon Dom DeLuise, Ron Carey, Candice Azzara and Anne Bancroft who also wrote and directed the film that was the first film produced by Mel Brooks production company Brooksfilms.
Fatso follows Dominic DiNapoli, who has found comfort in food all his life. But when his sister Antoinette implores him to stop eating himself into an early grave, Dominic begins bouncing from crash diets to the support group “Chubby Checkers” to all manner of binges in between. In the end, Dominic discovers that what he needs most is a steady diet of love — from his family, from a new and lovely neighborhood acquaintance … and most importantly, from himself.
I remember seeing this film as a kid and it being so sad, so was surprised that it was being billed as a comedy of sorts. After revisiting the film I realize I don’t think I have ever seen it all the way through and while is pretty sad it does have a sense of humor as well. The story is one that is still relatable today as it deals with addiction, in this case to food, as well as depression and self-worth. There are so many things that you can derive from this tale and I think each person watching it would get something different while still keeping its same message.
Known his hilarious antics as a comedic actor, the late great Dom DeLuise gets to really stretch his dramatic muscles here and knocks it out of the park. I have to imagine that this role had to be emotionally draining for him as an actor, but he is clearly all in and delivers a performance that surprises me wasn’t more noticed. The entire cast is great with Bancroft not only doing a great job at directing, but also bringing an insane amount of emotion that had to be draining as well.
There are some funny moments but to me this is still a heavy drama that pretty much anyone can relate to. It doesn’t matter if your issue is food, drugs, alcohol, working out or whatever else it might be, we all have an addiction of some sort that affects our lives. Sometimes it’s good and sadly more often it’s bad but at the end of it all it is about our self-worth and this film slaps you in the face with this message no matter what you feel of the outcome.
Grab your copy of Fatso when it hits Blu-ray on June 25th from Shout Factory.
For more information or to order your copy head over to www.shoutfactory.com