Monday, March 5, 2007
Caddyshack; comedy, USA, 1980; D: Harold Ramis, S: Michael O'Keefe, Rodney Dangerfield, Chevy Chase, Ted Knight, Bill Murray, Sarah Holcomb
Danny, a young man, wants to finance his college by working as a caddy on the golf course at Bushwood Country Club, where a lot rich and spoiled members like to play. There he meets a lot of crazy characters: Ty Webb, a local playboy who likes to flirt with almost every woman; Judge Smails, a self-centered millionaire; Al Czervik, a rich, rude and obnoxious man who likes to make fun out of everyone; Carl Spankler, a mad greenskeeper who leads a duel with the local gopher. After Danny's relationship with Lacy and Maggie, Al challenges Smails to a golf match. Thanks to Carl's explosion, which was intended to kill the gopher, Al and Ty win over Smails.
"Caddyshack", a simple comedy with a few truly hilarious jokes, is a weak film due to its vulgar tone that appeals only to the broad masses in the cheapest way, but it would have probably been unbearable had it not been directed by the competent Harold Ramis. Although as a whole a little bit stupid, meaningless, episodic, clumsy, too often improvised, and although it can be easily disputed by any serious cinema critic, this film offers occasionally some hilarious lines from Bill Murray's character Carl (his long monologue, all the while holding a pitchfork at some guy's neck: "Do you know what the Lama says? Gunga galunga... gunga, gunga-galunga. So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness." So I got that going for me, which is nice.") and Rodney Dangerfield's character Al Czervik ("Last time I saw a mouth like that, it had a hook in it"), whereas some golf fans consider it a cult film. Unfortunately, the chaotic story is all over the place - characters and subplots appear and disappear without any cohesion - which in the end end leaves the viewers with the impression that every new 5 minutes of the film were hastily made up on the spot before filming began - and that the comedians tend to lead the movie more than the director himself. Judge Smails is for some reason treated like a caricature and serves just like the 'obligatory' bad guy, though he has a few moments of comedy as well ("I didn't want to send those boys to the gas chamber. But I thought I owed it to them!"). "Caddyshack" is definitely a funnier film than Murray's and Ramis' other film, "Groundhog Day", filmed 13 years later, but it really can't compete with the latter's excellence and sophistication.