Top positive review
Funniest Sports Flick Ever!
on June 29, 2004
"Caddyshack" combines terrific comic writing, a top-notch cast at the top of its game, and America's love affair with the silly game of golf to form comedy gold.
Using the most cliched plotlines imaginable (the "cools versus the rules," and "the little guy needs to find his way in life"), "Caddyshack" nevertheless breaks a lot of new ground with its timeless characters. Chevy Chase plays golf-stuf/playboy Ty Webb, who mangles philosophy while performing dazzling golf feats on the Bushwood Country Club course -- yes, the name "Bushwood" is revealing. Chase has never been better than in this film, and it's almost sad to see how phenomenal he once was when you stand this performance next to the dreck he's put out in recent years.
The underappreciated Ted Knight plays Webb's nemesis, Judge Smails, an uptight petty aristocrat who plays essentially the same role as Dean Wermer in "Animal House." Smails is Elmer Fudd to Webb's Bugs Bunny.
Rodney Dangerfield is also in the film, playing essentially himself as an obnoxious real estate developer with zero fashion sense -- ask ten people to name the character Dangerfield plays in "Caddyshack," and you'll stump ten people. But it's likely that most of those ten will be able to quote Dangerfield's character: "Lovely boy -- now I now why tigers eat their young!" "You're a caddy, huh -- for Italians, this is skilled labor." "This is the ugliest hat I've ever seen, I bet when you buy this they give you a can of soup . . . but it looks good on you, though."
And last but not least, the immortal Bill Murray plays Carl the Groundskeeper. Carl is charged with ridding Bushwood of a gopher, a varmint who loves nothing more than vandalizing golf courses and dancing to Kenny Loggins. Murray, in a performance bordering on madness, tries various futile strategies to nab the gopher, including sniper rifles, decoys, hoses, and plastic explosives, but it's his mumbled soliloquies that are the most hilarious. Murray's imagined golf game, whacking flowers with a rake, is one of the funniest scenes in any movie, ever.
Our "hero," Danny (Michael O'Keefe), is a minor character completely overwhelmed by these other characters, but his storyline is the thread that ties all the other subplots together. He cheats on his girlfriend Maggie (Animal House alum Sarah Holcomb, inexplicably with an Irish accent) with the gratuitous slut, Judge Smails' niece Lacey Underall (Cindy Morgan), and finds himself pitted against the Judge in the climactic golf match.
Not much of a plot. The movie's greatness is in its execution. The writers (Brian Doyle-Murray and Harold Ramis) find the underlying humor in the country club lifestyle and the unique culture that surrounds golf and skewer everything in sight. Be on the lookout for comic stereotypes . . . from the spoiled rich brats to the doctor who's never in the office to the profane pastor, nobody is safe. Fortunately, "Caddyshack" knows to stay just on this side of crude (coming nearest to the line with its classic "Jaws" parody involving a Baby Ruth) -- this is a witty film, not a cruel film.
This movie is a must for every guy's film library. Just be careful -- there's always a temptation to quote "Caddyshack" out on the golf course. Be warned, only about 5 million people have done it before you, and the novelty's wearing off.
Also be warned -- "Caddyshack" sparked quite possibly the worst sequel ever, "Caddyshack 2." Do not watch that movie!