Caddyshack

Movie Review #850: I could gopher seconds.

★★★
By Alexander Diminiano
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Comedy, Sport
Rated R (contains sexual content, nudity, suggestive dialogue)
98 minutes

You know what I miss most about Harold Ramis? It’s the enthusiasm that pervades every movie he directs. It’s pretty obvious that everyone’s having fun acting in the movie, and they’re all eager to please their audience. That’s especially true of “Caddyshack”, Ramis’s first film as a director. There’s Michael O’Keefe, a clueless teenager who’s not planning on going to college, but has no idea what he’ll do with his life instead. There’s Chevy Chase, a classy golfer who thinks he plays well but would rather not compete. There’s Bill Murray, the greenskeeper who has waged war on the evil gophers that burrow beneath the golf course. There’s Ted Knight, a rich snob who owns the golf court and gets pissed off at just about everyone and everything. And there’s Rodney Dangerfield, who walks onto the golf course like a bull in a china shop, who steals every scene he’s in, who wants to buy the golf course from Knight.

The movie opens with a sprinkler providing a beat to the music we’re hearing in the background, as we watch the peaceful goings-on of a golf course. A stop-animated gopher rises up from his lair beneath the golf course and begins to dance. The scene is my choice favorite from the movie.

There are several other great moments in “Caddyshack”. Any given scene with Bill Murray is a hoot, particularly his “Cinderella story” scene. The man just stands around and talks to himself the whole movie. Oh except that last scene with Chevy Chase. He ain’t killin’ no gophers in that scene, but he’s still great. As I’ve already said, Dangerfield practically steals the whole movie, but Ted Knight’s character can be priceless. Particularly when he’s breaking all his valuables as he chases O’Keefe around the house.

The film is scripted by three auteur comedians. Ramis, whose repertoire speaks for itself. Brian Doyle-Murray, whose effort as a writer is nothign short of his young brother Bill’s as an actor. And Douglas Kenney, who founded the National Lampoon magazine, and additionally produced “Caddyshack”.

But “Caddyshack” does have its downfall. There’s a couple seemingly pointless scenes that are there simply to keep the plot moving in an actual direction (even if the movie consists of no real plot, for the most part). Mainly, these scenes come around during the second half of the script. We’re stuck watching an extensive ship scene that serves the purpose of building up to a single Dangerfield quip. Then we’re at a practically useless scene where Chevy Chase is seen giving a woman a massage. There might’ve been one or two jokes in this otherwise tiresome scene. But it doesn’t affect the film overall. “Caddyshack” is a true comedy, with laughs almost always flying in every direction. Especially at that last scene. By then, we’re exploding with laughter!

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