It’s been 40 years since Caddyshack was released. This film garnered negative reviews on release, but later gained a cult following in recent years and has been positively reappraised by many film critics.
Does Caddyshack live up to its reputation, or is it just a silly slapstick that has blinded people with nostalgia?
Caddyshack follows the story of a young golf caddy – played by Michael O’Keefe – who is working throughout summer to save up for college or to at least try and get a scholarship. During his time at the upscale Bushwood Country Club, he meets a few nefarious characters, from Chevy Chase as a wealthy golfer who also can be a bumbling idiot to Bill Murray as the unhinged groundskeeper.
The status quo of the country club is shaken when Rodney Dangerfield’s character shows up and disturbs the peace of the rich people. Dangerfield plays a character who has recently acquired a huge amount of money and therefore acts different to the rest of the pompous golf club.
Caddyshack has more laughs than expected and some of the humour is genius. The film is a goldmine for quotable lines that’ll leave you laughing, from the “You’ll get nothing and you’ll like it” to “well, we’re waiting.” Let’s just say that the delivery from the cast shows them at their peak and Caddyshack is a film full of great comedic performances.
The characters are stereotypes, but this works in Caddyshack. Dangerfield, as the obnoxious, nouveau riche guy played with Ted Knight’s stodgy, uptight rich guy plays perfect together. Yes it’s a cliche but it works well. These two characters and their dynamic was the funniest part of the film for me.
The only character I had an issue with was the main character – which is a huge problem. O’Keefe plays the young caddy who is supposed to be a relatable guy working hard to get a scholarship – but he’s the worst. He cheats on his girlfriend, blatantly ignores her when other women are around and gets overly possessive when any other guy comes close to her. This is one of the things in the film that shows its age. It’s a dated trope that just isn’t fun to watch in 2020.
Despite this issue, Caddyshack is still a funny film that holds up pretty well. The humour may be crude at times, but most of the cast are charismatic enough to pull off the cheesy lines. Dangerfield was a comedic genius whose jokes could be perceived as offensive, but his playful delivery makes them innocent enough.
If you are easily offended, then perhaps avoid this film. It does have silly slapstick moments but to enjoy the film you have to give yourself in to the ridiculous moments. If you love raunchy comedies then Caddyshack is a film you should check out. Let’s just say that it’s a comedy with balls…
By Charlie Vogelsang
Feature image: Mental Floss