The world needs ditch diggers, too.
Caddyshack is directed and co-written by Harold Ramis and stars Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight, Michael O'Keefe, and Bill Murray. The film is dedicated to producer Douglas Kenney, who died shortly after the film's release.
I would think, it's appropriate to label Caddyshack as the quintessential "golf movie." Certainly, Happy Gilmore would be the next "golf movie" to come to mind, even though Adam Sandler can't hold a candle to the comedic talent on display in Caddyshack. After Caddyshack and Happy Gilmore, well, I'm not sure if there's any other "golf movies" worth discussing, leaving us with a two-man race that Caddyshack easily wins. In the world of sports movies, golf doesn't get a lot of love.
I say Caddyshack could be the quintessential "golf movie", but honestly though, is Caddyshack really a movie about golf at all? Did the likes of Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, and Bill Murray all come together in 1980 because they all shared a fiery passion for the game of golf and figured the best thing would be to make a movie all about how wonderful golf is, and that it can be something people can discuss without ever bringing up the names Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson? No, of course it's not that. Caddyshack is a get-together of some of 1980's greatest comedic talent, with golf just serving as a gimmick for all these silly people to do very silly things.
Indeed, Caddyshack is a movie that's all about being silly, so much so that we don't have much of an actual story: Danny Noonan (Michael O'Keefe) works as a caddie at the Bushwood Country Club, in order to earn enough money to go to college. Danny usually caddies for the refined and talented golfer Ty Webb (Chevy Chase), but he also caddies for Judge Elihu Smails, one of the club's co-founders and the director of the caddie scholarship program. Al Czervik (Rodney Dangerfield), an obnoxious nouveau riche, arrives at the club and immediately makes his presence felt. Meanwhile, the club's deranged greens-keeper, Carl Spackler (Bill Murray), finds himself up against a treacherous gopher.
The thing is, Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, and Bill Murray are not here to tell a compelling story nor take the sports movie world by storm; they came to tell one-liners and make as many quotable lines as possible, all the while playing outrageous characters who couldn't care less about what anyone thinks of them. And you know what? That's what the movie mostly succeeds with and rightfully so.
- If this review has sounded mostly negative so far, let me take this moment to confirm that there are plenty of belly laughs to be had in Caddyshack, with lines that you'll be quoting over and over again like all those quotes from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Chevy Chase, Dangerfield, and Bill Murray are, not surprisingly, the best of the bunch. Chase and Murray's deadpan style of humor work wonderfully with their characters, while Dangerfield eats up every scene he's in with an endless bag of insults and cheeky remarks. Best of all, no one comes off as the least bit annoying.
- Having no real story hurts, but not as much as the movie's inability to focus and present a series of events that have some semblance of a logical flow. As goofy as everyone is acting, and as funny as everything can be at times, Caddyshack can't shake the fact that everyone is acting like hyperactive man-children, all of whom can't settle down and focus on what's going on around them. It's not a Mamma Mia! extreme type of hyperactivity, but everyone is treating the movie like they can just goof off without any regards to story or plot. It gets to a point where it stops feeling like you're watching a movie and instead some kind of SNL skit.
Rewatching Caddyshack for the first time in a long time wasn't as much fun as I'd hoped it would be. The movie wasn't any less funny than it was the first time; it's that the issues in terms of an almost non-existent plot and a lack of focus reared their ugly head a lot more. It's a movie that doesn't so much care about showcasing golf as it does showcasing so much comedic talent together in one place. However, if I wanted any movie to be non-stop silliness, it would be one with this cast. Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, and Bill Murray are the stand-outs in a movie that's filled to the brim with quotable dialogue and zany characters, and for some, that's more than enough to get by. But for those looking for something resembling an actual, I don't know, movie, this may not be the best place to find one.
Recommend? Despite the issues I just alluded to, I'd still recommend the movie because it still brings a lot of laughs.
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