Friday, July 21, 2006

Caddyshack: Pros and cons

Caddyshack is one of those films everyone has seen multiple times because it has such classic moments. Everyone can quote half of Bill Murray's lines, and Chevy Chase puts in his best performance.

But the more you watch, the more flaws you notice.

- Maggie's supposedly Irish accent drifts in and out like a distant radio signal.

- Several subplots and characterizations get such scant screen time and shoddy editing that we have no idea what they're supposed to be. What's the deal with Brian Doyle-Murray's character? Why does Ty have a bunch of checks for $70,000 lying around?

- Bless his heart and rest in peace, but Rodney Dangerfield's character gets grating on repeated viewing. We're supposed to sympathize with him, but really, Ted Baxter has a point. I wouldn't want him in my country club, were I ever to join one. (Which I don't think I could do. I kind of wonder if country clubs will die out in our generation -- I went to a school regarded as snobby and elitist, and I didn't meet a bunch of country club prospects.)

On the other hand, some scenes get better. Cindy Morgan's work (she's Lacey, the stunning blonde) is underrated. (Did you know she's legally blind without glasses? Neither did I.) The massage scene with Chevy Chase is brilliant, as is the little look she gives Michael O'Keefe when Ted Baxter is trying to impale him with a 3-iron.

Baxter is over the top in the final scenes, but you have to love his frustration as he starts deliver a stern lecture to O'Keefe, only to find a desk lamp spoiling the effect. That's a subtle, clever touch.

Perhaps it just needed better editing. We really didn't need the Maggie subplot -- O'Keefe has enough on his plate. Tell me why the heck Ty has checks for $70K, or just lose the reference.

It doesn't really need a plot -- it's one of those films that manages to pull off the loose collection of vignettes and character studies. But I wonder if Ramis would ever consider going back to the tape and trying to re-cut it.

2 comments:

Neel Mehta said...

But the more you watch, the more flaws you notice.

Don't you, like, lose your Guy Card if you criticize this movie?

(I wouldn't know. The five minutes of it I saw a couple of days ago are the most I've ever seen.)

Lex said...

I always figured that the whole point of the $70,000 checks was just that Ty had more money (and class) than any of the assholes (notice at one point how respectful the judge gets toward Ty) and that where it came from (presumably dusty old family investments) was kind of beside the point.

But I'm not much of a movie critic. I liked it for Carl and the gopher.