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CADDYSHACK (director/writer: Harold Ramis; screenwriters: Brian Doyle-Murray/Douglas Kenney; cinematographer: Stevan Larner; editor: Robert Barrere/David Bretherton; music: Johnny Mandel; cast: Chevy Chase (Ty Webb), Rodney Dangerfield (Al Czervik), Ted Knight (Judge Elihu Smails), Michael O’Keefe (Danny Noonan), Bill Murray (Carl Spackler), Sarah Holcomb (Maggie O’Hooligan), Scott Colomby (Tony D’Annunzio), Cindy Morgan (Lacey Underall), Brian Doyle-Murray (Lou Loomis), Dan Resin (Dr. Beeper), Henry Wilcoxon (The Bishop), Thomas Carlin (Sandy McFiddish), John F. Barmon Jr. (Spaulding Smails); Runtime: 98; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Douglas Kenney; Warner Home Video; 1980)
“A crude comedy.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A crude comedy primed for those adults whose sense of humor is childish and have the stomach to withstand so many lame-brained gags. It’s about the misadventures on a restricted WASPy golf club involving the snobby members and the have-not caddies. It’s strictly juvenilia, as this nearly plotless narrative is presented with a relentless barrage of sight-gags that involve such pleasantries as puking, farting, nose-picking and eating the booger, and a chocolate Baby Ruth candy bar floating in the club pool that is mistaken for a piece of turd. It’s an ”Animal House” spinoff, so the viewer should not be surprised over its vulgarity and series of boorish shenanigans. It’s directed by Harold Ramis (“Groundhog Day”) in his debut, who was the screenwriter for ”Animal House.” Ramis cowrote the script with Douglas Kenney and Brian Doyle-Murray (Bill Murray’s brother).

It features the comedians Chevy Chase, Bill Murray and Rodney Dangerfield, who are given a free-hand to do their thing. In this case it meant mugging for the camera and ad-libbing–something SNL alums Chevy and Murray can do with the best of ’em, while nightclub comedian Rodney, in his first film role, proves also to be no slouch. Chevy is the smug, laid-back, wealthy Zen quoting slacker, club champion, whose late father was co-founder of the stuffy club; Murray plays the wackiest character of the three, a moronic assistant greens-keeper whose obsessed with killing gophers (which has him tearing up the entire golf course) and looking up the skirts of the grey-haired femme golfers; and, Rodney is the obnoxious nouveau-riche real-estate mogul, threatening to buy and turn the club into a condo development, whose coarseness and constant wisecracks upsets the bigoted Judge Smails (Ted Knight)–the rigid golf cheating club owner. Danny Noonan (Michael O’Keefe) is the bland ambitious caddie who schemes to kiss up to the Judge to get a college scholarship, but becomes conflicted over whether to be loyal to steady client Chevy or the Judge. He’s also conflicted over choosing between the Judge’s attractive sex-starved freaky niece (Cindy Morgan) or the club’s sweet plain-jane snack-stand worker (Sarah Holcomb). The caddies hang-out in the raunchy caddy-shack, which lets them know they’re at the low end of the totem pole in this club.

Somehow I didn’t find it all that funny or think it had anything worthwhile to say about golf, elite golf clubs or class warfare, but there’s something good-natured about it that stops me from completely putting it down as merely an exercise of stupidity. In any case, I laughed hardest at these one-liners: Morgan: “I enjoy going to bullfights on acid.” Murray: “Varmints never quit, they’re like the Vietcong.” Rodney: “This steak still has the mark of the jockey’s whip on it.” And Chevy, supposedly quoting Zen master Basho, saying: “A donut with no hole in it is a Danish.”


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”