Sunday, November 19, 2006

[1980] CADDYSHACK: You know, I always avoided this movie--I mean, I've seen it in snippets at like two in the morning on TBS or USA and I always thought it was just Bill Murray versus that stupid frigging gopher and Chevy Chase being an ass. But it's much better than that--I think Ramis was aspiring for Marx Brothershood with this, and he more or less succeeded. But it's also got that Marx Brothersian need for a straight man (though Danny Noonan is probably funnier than Zeppo was) and a rambling plot that frequently drags the movie down. The good: 1. Chevy Chase's zen golf scene. 2. The female characters, who never got to do that much in Marx Brothers movies, are at least as amoral as the men here (though less funny.) Both Lacey Underall and Maggie O'Hooligan sleep around unabashedly, and there's no point at which the lower-class and very Irish Maggie becomes more or less morally virtuous than the WASPy Lacey. 3. Class issues are sometimes front and center--note that an Irishman (Noonan) and an Italian (Tony D'Annunzio) are in competition for Lacey. 4. Rodney Dangerfield was amazing in the noveau riche role. 5. Ted Knight was amazing in the overstuffed Margaret Dumont role. The bad: 1. They had people laughing at Rodney Dangerfield's jokes in-movie. C'mon--trust the audience to know when to laugh. 2. And having Kenny Loggins songs be the musical cue for Dangerfield's populism has not aged well. 3. Oddly, I felt the film fizzled whenever they paired comedians together--Dangerfield and Chase had little chemistry, and the Chase and Murray scene in Carl Spackler's room....I know some people like it, but I found it pointless. But overall--jeez, this is a great comedy. It probably won't replace Airplane! for me for the year 1980 (which I've seen much more, but I also think it's a faster, sharper movie) but it's still a really good comedy.

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