Happy Gilmore (1996)

Has it really been 16 years since CADDYSHACK?  In the better days 
of comedy-- yes, even the eighties-- the course was played a mix of 
seasoned pros and young upstarts, like Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, 
and Rodney Dangerfield.  Directors such as Harold Ramis (CADDY-
SHACK), Ivan Reitman (STRIPES), and John Landis (THE BLUES 
BROTHERS) were making very funny movies about very silly people, 
and *everybody* was having a good laugh.  Now, too many years 
later, in what might be called the Chris Farley/Jim Carrey decade, 
the funniest person on the block is Adam Sandler.  Has it really 
come to this?

Mr. Sandler, a player on TV's "Saturday Night Live," is actually 
pretty good here.  He stars as a hockey player wannabe whose super-
sonic slap shot lands him on the pro-golfing circuit.  His putts 
are a putz, but he can cross the green in a single stroke and his 
juvenile antics are bringing the highest ratings to the game in 
years.  There's also a grandmother involved-- and her tax money-- 
but HAPPY GILMORE is less a mission from God than just an excuse 
for Sandler to hit things.  Such as pucks, balls, and fellow golf-

Director Dennis Dugan (PROBLEM CHILD) does a great job of sustain-
ing momentum.  Though his timing is often off, the seemingly one-
dimensional story doesn't grow tiresome until the last twenty 
minutes.  Several familiar faces also give a boost, including 
Christopher McDonald, Carl Weathers, and Richard "Jaws" Kiel.  And 
don't miss Bob Barker in a priceless bit that starts as a round of 
golf and ends up as a fist fight with Mr. Sandler.  Come on down!

As co-written by Tim Herlihy (BILLY MADISON), HAPPY GILMORE has a 
rather mean-spirited streak that most of my fellow audience members 
didn't seem to mind.  They laughed at any occasion for Sandler to 
punch, slug, hit, or curse somebody.  Only when I turned around in 
my seat, did I realize the source of such support:  rows and rows 
of young males, all wearing baseball caps.  There must have been a 
hundred of them.  (Rated "PG-13"/92 min.)

Grade: C+

Copyright 1996 by Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies in MOVIE HELL: February 18, 1996

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