Happy Gilmore (1996)

Happy GilmoreReleased: February 16, 1996. Directed by: Dennis Dugan. Starring: Adam Sandler, Christopher McDonald, Julie Bowen. Runtime: 92 min.

“Happy Gilmore” is a silly sports comedy, which is its purpose; but God is it funny. Sandler plays the titular Happy Gilmore, a hockey-player-turned-golf-player because he has a wicked slap shot, but he can’t exactly skate so well. He takes his hockey skills and places them on the golf course, even if he has a hard time tapping the ball in sometimes. To help him with that is a love interest, Virginia Venet (Julie Bowen), and a former golf pro, Chubbs (Carl Weathers) to teach him how to improve on his game.

Happy’s motivation to join the golf tour is his grandmother, who hasn’t paid her taxes in years. Due to that, she loses her home – and in order to get it back, he’ll need some money.

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Fights with Bob Barker and other golfing patrons, distracting patrons yelling “Jackass!”, the villain, Shooter McGavin (Christopher McDonald), and endless product placement for Subway certainly makes this a satisfying and memorable Sandler movie. Oh, and then there is Ben Stiller’s turn as a crazed worker at the retirement home Gilmore’s grandmother stays at.

“Happy Gilmore” is a sweet, if entirely predictable sports comedy, and one of my favourite golf movies, even if it’s not in the same league as “Caddyshack.” It is still both Adam Sandler’s and director Dennis Dugan’s strongest comedies. I find myself laughing at this every time, no matter how many times I watch it.

There are solid chuckles throughout, and truly hilarious scenes. People will, of course, like it a lot more if they enjoy Sandler’s brand of comedy. This character gets very angry, which makes the title ironic. He’s a nice guy who means well, even if he’s generic to a fault. He is one of Sandler’s best characters. Wouldn’t it have been awesome if Sandler’s “Anger Management” movie was a sequel to this?

Score83/100

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Shakes the Clown (1991)

Shakes the ClownReleased: March 13, 1992. Directed by: Bobcat Goldthwait. Starring: Bobcat Goldthwait, Julie Brown, Blake Clark. Runtime: 87 min. 

Dark comedies are a difficult kind-of comedy to master. The Coen brothers have mastered the craft, as has Tarantino, and many other respected filmmakers. This is the attempt at a black comedy by an apparently funny guy named Bobcat Goldthwait, and I haven’t seen a movie prior to this that feels more like an Amateur Redneck Hour. You’ll also see no evidence of good comedy here.

The movie follows Shakes the Clown (Goldthwait) who lives in a town called Palukaville, where it seems that everyone is either a clown, a groupie for the clowns, or someone who gets jobs for the clowns. And there’s cops and mimes, too. Anyway, Shakes is a clown who is also a chronic alcoholic. He is threatened with unemployment if he cannot get his act together. Then, it gets really dark and someone frames Shakes for a murder.

There are many ideas to advance this plot, but the film-makers do not feel as if they run with those ideas. However, the unlikable characters make it very hard for the movie to be engaging. Shakes is a terrible person, but I guess that’s the point. Kathy Griffin and Julie Brown are the two main girls in this, and Brown has a terribly annoying voice.

Adam Sandler is one of the supporting characters. He doesn’t get many laughs. His character is afraid of women. There are many jokes related to bodily functions here, that show up within the first two minutes; but in Sandler’s own movies, he has the courtesy to wait more than two minutes to throw those at the audience.

This movie is like a pie in the face: unpleasant. It reminds me why I hate clowns. The clown world they live in is different, and I guess that’s the point of the movie; to be a different experience. But I’d also like it to be enjoyable. It gives viewers an insane portrait of Tom Kenny, the man who voices SpongeBob Squarepants.

I did chuckle about four times, but that’s not enough. You’ll have to decide whether or not you hate mimes or clowns more. Most are drunks, either way. This movie does get some points for an appearance from Robin Williams, and a lot of mimes get beaten up. Woo-hoo. It’s still a bland, stupid movie.

Score38/100