Unsolicited Caddyshack Review
Starring: Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight
Directed by Harold Ramis
Ah, Caddyshack. The ultimate golf movie. A cinematic postcard of a simpler time, a time when Chevy Chase was still a fresh new face on the Hollywood scene, a time when Brian Doyle-Murray still had some color in his hair, a time when it was perfectly acceptable to bookend a major motion picture with scenes of a fake gopher dancing suggestively to the music of Kenny Loggins. How I long for those days. If you ask me, there just aren’t enough creepy rodent puppets squirming around to Reagan-era soft rock in any medium today (film, television, theater, professional billiards, etc).
So this movie is basically ninety-eight minutes of Chevy Chase being Chevy Chase (asshole), Rodney Dangerfield being Rodney Dangerfield (loud asshole), Ted Knight being Ted Knight (rich asshole), and some half-baked subplot about a young caddy’s college dreams thrown in for good measure. Bill Murray’s in there too, of course, doing his now-famous Carl Spackler character. Oh, and the aforementioned gopher, truly an achievement in the field of ground squirrel anthropomorphication.
I’m not knocking this formula—it was obviously the right one to produce a cult classic. However, with most of the actors basically playing themselves, it’s kind of hard to become engrossed in Caddyshack. You sit there watching it and think, Man, when exactly did Chevy Chase stop being funny? or I wonder if Ted Knight was like that in real life. Rarely do you say to yourself, Gee, I hope Ty and Al knock the stuffing out of Judge Smails and Dr. Beeper in the big game! The plot kind of fades into the background when you have Rodney Dangerfield saying shit like, “I almost got head from Amelia Earhart!”
The young caddy angling for a scholarship from Knight’s uptight judge character is played by curly-haired “Waltons” vet Michael O’Keefe. O’Keefe, it should be noted, went on land such plum roles as Sgt. Mike Fitzgerald in the 1988 made-for-TV flick “Disaster at Silo 7” and Jackie Conner’s long-suffering boyfriend Fred on the popular “Roseanne” program (yes, I purposely called it “the popular ‘Roseanne’ program”). O’Keefe is likable enough in Caddyshack, but it’s easy to see why he never exploded in the same way as a Tom Cruise or a Ralph Macchio. He just lacked that je ne sais quoi a true star possesses. He also had that horrible white guy ‘fro. Mike’s been on “Law & Order” a handful of times in recent years, so don’t worry, he’s still working.
The rest of Caddyshack’s minor players never really amounted to much, except for Cindy Morgan (who played Lora in TRON) and Scott Colomby (that son of a bitch was in all three Porky’s movies AND an episode of “The A-Team”—Tony D’Annunzio FTW!!). Heck, for a lot of these folks, Caddyshack would be their only credit. Can you believe Hollywood ignored the talents of John Barmon, Jr., a.k.a. Spaulding Smails? I’m really only half-joking! That kid was kinda funny! Surely Paige Coffman, the little girl who screamed, “DOODIE!” during the infamous pool bit, could have parlayed her brief moment in the sun into at least one game show appearance. Not even the woman who played Ted Knight’s wife went on to do anything else. Goddammit! So many wasted opportunities.
Caddyshack holds up pretty well all these years later despite some painfully executed fart/crotch jokes and just a smidge of unnecessary race humor (did Rodney Dangerfield really need a camera-happy Asian companion named Wang?). Chevy Chase has some great one-liners, I enjoyed seeing Cindy Morgan’s nipples, and who can ever argue with a film that prominently features Journey’s “Any Way You Want It?” This is one DVD I do not regret owning (as opposed to The WWE’s Greatest Ringside Injuries Volume 2: Mercy Takes A Holiday).
Final Score: Three Shunununununununas (out of four).
Remember that time I said I was going to come up with a unique unit of measurement for these reviews? I fucking LIED.