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Original Issue


It's unlikely that the yellow-trousered potentates of Augusta or
Pebble Beach will be lining up at the local multiplex to catch
Happy Gilmore, the 1990s' far less humorous answer to 1980's
Caddyshack. On the PGA Tour's political correctness scorecard,
this rude, crude comedy about a hockey wannabe who blindsides
pro golf is sure to be a triple bogey, even if some of us chili
dippers get a minor charge out of it. After all, there's a
certain raw charm in seeing a practitioner of the gentleman's
game in a fistfight with his pro-am partner, who happens to be
The Price Is Right host Bob Barker. "The price is wrong, bitch,"
Gilmore sneers at Barker.

In the person of Adam Sandler, the goofy man-child from Saturday
Night Live, Happy parlays his awesome slap shot into a 450-yard
drive that makes John Daly look like a kid with a peashooter.
Gilmore becomes the Bluto Blutarsky of the Tour, a cursing,
club-throwing (but always lovable) lout with a gallery of
monster-truck types tucked around the greens.

Of course, our man has no short game or finesse. Neither does
the movie: For 92 minutes Big Bertha is the satirical club of
choice. None of this is calculated to win the Tour's seal of
approval, though some of golfdom has gotten in on the
joke--witness Lee Trevino's popping up in a couple of astonished
facial-reaction shots.

Of Sandler's gifts for the dramatic arts, it suffices to say
that in his last picture, Billy Madison, he played a 27-year-old
elementary school student. But he has Happy's patented
running-start swing down to a science, and by the last reel even
his nemesis, leading-money-winner Shooter McGavin, a
martini-sipping snob, is trying to cop his moves. In the end, a
Volkswagen runs amok on a fairway, a TV tower collapses onto the
18th green, and Happy has to try a trick putt he learned playing
miniature golf. At least there was nothing floating in the
swimming pool.

--William Gallo