When picking my Blind Spots for 2014, I aimed at choosing films from every genre, ranging from comedy to horror. What drove me to select Caddyshack as my comedy pick was its popularity among cinephiles and the fact that it’s one of the first movies to have that 80’s comedy spirit ( and not only because it was released in 1980). I didn’t grow up in the 80’s and I didn’t see many films from that decade in my childhood so my experience with these comedies is limited.
Set at a country club’s golf course, Caddyshack follows some players and their caddies as they search for golf glory, gophers, sex and success. My general response is that it’s a perfectly enjoyable summer comedy with many funny jokes, wacky characters, sunny weather and naked skin. However, as a comedy I can’t say it’s right up my alley. The silliness and the direction some actors went with their roles became tiresome at one point. I laughed many times in the beginning but as time went by I understood what kind of comedy Caddyshack really is. Personally I think it relies too much on slapstick humor. It’s not really Adam Sandler comedy, but still pretty ridiculous.
Our eye in the Bushwood Country Club, where the film takes place, is Danny Noonan, played by Michael O’Keefe, who wants to raise money to go to college. He caddies for Ty Webb, played by Chevy Chase, a nonconformist playboy. To gain favor he decides to caddy for the director of the Caddy Scholarship program, the uptight Judge Elhu Smails, played by Ted Knight. Another subplot involves Bill Murray’s Carl Spackler, the club greenkeeper who faces a gopher infestation. Also appearing Rodney Dangerfield’s Al Czervik, a brash self-made man who wants to buy the country club so he can build condos on it.
Most of the actors do a good job and adjust their performances to the goofy air of the film. Michael O’Keefe brings the necessary energy to his role and isn’t bland like he could have been as the protagonist. Chevy Chase as Ty Webb has his funny moments. While I couldn’t find something particularly that makes his performance special, all I can say is that he played his character with a lot of confidence which was just as it should have been. Ted Knight is funny as Judge Elhu Smails, a nervous player who gets upset easily about golf playing. His mannerisms reminded me of those of Ted Baxter, his most well known character, just that here Smails shows he is smarter than Baxter will ever be.
About the performances I didn’t like, I thought Bill Murray’s Carl Spackler, while very funny, was a bit exaggerated. I was especially annoyed by what he was doing with his mouth. But my opinion isn’t hateful towards Spackler just that Murray went a bit too far with him into weird territory. Maybe I just don’t get it because a lot of people love this character. But what I found completely annoying was Rodney Dangerfield’s work as Al Czervik. I found both his character and performance insufferable and cringed every time he showed up on screen. He was arrogant and unpleasant. I was irritated by this guy the whole film.
Even though it didn’t resonate with me as much as it did with others, I think Caddyshack is something that can be enjoyed by everyone to a certain degree. There is enough humor and joy to make you smile. This film is definitely a good time.
P.S.: That robotic gopher at the end was disturbing.