R, 98 min.
Director: Harold Ramis
Writers: Brian Doyle-Murray, Harold Ramis, Douglas Kenney
Starring: Michael O’Keefe, Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight, Bill Murray, Brian Doyle-Murray, Sarah Holcomb, Scott Colomby, Cindy Morgan, Dan Resin, Henry Wilcoxon
There was something about the 80s that just got comedy right. “Caddyshack” was one of the decade’s first R-rated early gross out flicks. It doesn’t really contain a whole lot of gross out, but it’s a great example of the formula. Its plot is a very basic premise. A kid works as a caddy at a high-class golf club to earn enough money for college. During his time there he learns a lot about life and sex, and must navigate greed and avarice to find a moral center on the side he doesn’t expect to find it—with the crazies instead of the fine upstanding citizens.
That might even be the overcomplicated version of the main story line. What the movie gets right is that it hardly spends much time on its actual plot. As far as sub plots… well, it doesn’t really bother much with subplots either, except for Bill Murray’s assistant groundskeeper and his mission to kill the gopher. This is one of Murray’s iconic roles.
Almost all of the other jokes in the film are non-sequiturs involving various aspects of the golf club. The priest who has the miracle round of golf is a bit that comes out of nowhere and produces comedic gold. The yacht sequence is a classic scene of comedy chaos. Chevy Chase’s entire character is like something that hopped a ride back on the space shuttle.
Then there are the caddy jokes. Murray and his brother, one of the film’s screenwriters and the film’s head caddy, Brian Doyle-Murray used to caddy for summer jobs. Their observations on course life are probably more accurate than they seem in their exaggerated versions for the movie. There are some keen observations, like the old couple who can’t even hit their balls in the right direction, or the rivalries between the old rich fools who think they run the place, or the way caddies are treated as second class citizens. The club’s Caddy Day at the pool is likely a spot on representation of what such an event was actually like. Notice the times the caddies are allowed in the pool.