As the new documentary I Am Chris Farley (out July 31) illustrates, the late comedian’s legacy will remain tethered to SNL. But Farley’s work on the big screen has always deserved more credit. The film—skillfully helmed by Brent Hodge and Derik Murray and featuring talking-head testimonials from family members, friends, and costars such as Mike Myers and Bob Odenkirk—heralds Tommy Boy as definitive and notes how winning a romantic lead Farley is in Coneheads. But like Jim Carrey, Farley’s physical commitment to his characters was borderline transcendent, and it allowed him to elevate middling material like Black Sheep and Beverly Hills Ninja. That level of focused intensity should have carried him through his great unmade passion project: a biopic of silent-era slapsticker Fatty Arbuckle. SNL characters like Matt Foley will live forever, but Farley should be granted just as much credit for gamely carrying bad films on his broad shoulders. B+
I Am Chris Farley, in theaters today, premieres on Aug. 10 at 9 p.m. on Spike.