Hey everybody, we’re all gonna get LAID!
Directed by: Harold Ramis
Starring: Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Bill Murray, Ted Knight
In a Nutshell:
Harold Ramis’s raucous stoner comedy Caddyshack is a little dated but still hilarious, even after multiple viewings (some may say especially after multiple viewings). Key to its longevity is the performances of three comedy heavyweights – Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield and Bill Murray – who each brings their very different style to the material. There’s a classic slobs vs snobs tale in there for anyone who cares, but mostly this is just an excuse to kick back and watch three comic geniuses causing mayhem at a hoity-toity golf club.
Young Danny Noonan (Michael O’Keefe) works at the posh Bushwood Country Club as a golf caddie, trying to make enough money to go to college. While he gets along best with the club’s fabulously wealthy but irreverent golf guru Ty Webb (Chase) – “Be the ball, Danny” – he feels that he must get on the right side of Bushwood’s sneering, mean spirited co-founder, Judge Smails (Knight) to earn a scholarship by winning the caddie golf tournament. He also needs to be wary of the Judge’s very attainable niece, Lacey Underall (Cindy Morgan)…
In the background, moronic greenskeeper Karl Spackler (Murray) wages war on the club’s gofer infestation and spends his spare time fantasising about winning the Masters (“He’s a Cinderella boy…”) and cultivating his own hybrid grass (“You can play 36 holes on it in the afternoon, take it home and just get stoned to the bejeezus-belt that night on this stuff…”)
Meanwhile, crass nouveau riche real estate developer Al Czervik (Dangerfield) crashes the elitist party, ruffling the feathers of the snobbish club patrons (“Hey, somebody step on a duck?”) and, most of all, Smails. This results in Czervik challenging Smails and his cohorts to a winner-takes-all tournament, despite the fact that Czervik can barely play golf. Ty Webb falls in on Czervik’s team but gets a bad case of the jitters now there is something at stake…
This really boils down to who do you like best – Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, or Bill Murray?
Dangerfield‘s crude, bug-eyed shtick has probably aged worst, but that was his whole routine. He still rocks in this movie as Al Czervik, with his garish golf wear and total disrespect for the club’s etiquette, swaggering through every scene and pissing people off at every turn (“You buy a hat like this I’ll bet you get a free bowl of soup, huh? Oh, it looks good on you though…”) It works because you know this is exactly the type of guy Judge Smails would absolutely hate.
Bill Murray’s slurring Spackler plays to the stoner crowd with the weed references and has some inspired speeches, notably the improvised “Cinderella Story” fantasy and his tall tale about how he once caddied for the Dalai Lama in the Himalayas.
Then there’s Chevy Chase who brings his own off-the-wall mix of smarm and charm as Ty Webb. With a unique take on Zen philosophy (“A flute without holes is not a flute…”) and prodigious golfing talents, he doesn’t even bother to keep score (Smails: “How do you measure yourself with other golfers?” Webb: “By height.”) He’s very rich but has a similarly blasé attitude towards wealth. (Lacy Underall: “Here’s an uncashed cheque for $70,000.” Webb: “Keep it.”) Best of all, he has a special method for tequila shots as part of his seduction technique – snort the salt, suck the lemon and throw the booze over your shoulder (“I was born to love you…I was born to lick your face…”)
Ted Knight also does some fantastic work as the loathsome Judge Smails, making him a real boo-hiss villain worth rooting against (“I’ve sentenced boys younger than you to the gas chamber…”)
Women aren’t terribly well represented in this movie, but Cindy Morgan gets a few good lines as Lacey Underall, the bad rich girl who enjoys skinny-skiing and going to bull fights on acid. (“You wanna tie me up with some of your ties, Ty?”)
One of the most dated aspects of Caddyshack is the soundtrack, which is mostly a bunch of cheesy tunes from Kenny Loggins, none of which are a patch on his ultra-cheesy Top Gun anthem “Danger Zone”.
Winston Churchill once said: “Golf is a game whose aim is to hit a very small ball into an even smaller hole, with weapons singularly ill-designed for the purpose.” But if he was alive when Caddyshack was around, maybe he would have switched his famous cigar for a large blunt and laughed his ass off to this legendary cult comedy.
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