All his life all Happy Gilmore (Adam Sandler) ever wanted to be was a hockey player. He couldn’t skate all that well, not could he steal or control the puck, but he had a slapshot that could kill, possibly literally. He had many jobs when he grew up, in many different kinds of fields, but all they pretty much did was pay the bills. The only thing Happy loves more than hockey is his grandmother (Frances Bay). Happy’s Grandma raised him after his parents split up, but now Happy is on his own, still chasing his dream of become one of the Boston Bruins, but due to his lack of discipline, things are about to change, in a big way.
Happy has been cut from the try-outs for who knows how many times now, and things are looking grim for Grandma, as she has not been able to pay her taxes in a very long time. The IRS is taking everything, and will be auctioning off the lovely house her husband built from the ground up decades ago. Happy’s girlfriend, Terry (Nancy McClure) has dumped him. Things just can’t seem to get much worse.
Happy promises Grandma that he will get the money to get her house back. He only has ninety days, so he needs to come up with $275,000 to pay the back taxes to get the house. He sends Grandma to a retirement center temporarily to live until he can figure out what to do. Happy Acres is not such a happy place, but more about that later. As the movers are bringing things out of the house, they find a set of antique golf clubs, and start playing around with them. They place bets on how far each other can drive the ball, and Happy decides to give it a try. He drives the ball down the street several times using his slapshot technique, and ends up getting some good cash off the guys. Happy decides to take this new gift down to the local driving range, and looks to shake down some golfers for cash. While the club pro, Chubbs (Carl Weathers) is giving a lesson to a teen girl that is failing miserably, he notices Happy driving the balls for hundreds of yards every time, and thanks the gods that he has found the student he has always dreamed of. Chubbs offers to teach Happy how to play golf from all angles, and encourages Happy to compete in the open tournament at the golf club the upcoming weekend. Happy is in a rush to get money, so he signs up, but turns down the training offer.
Happy impresses everyone with his amazing long game, but seems to have retained his hockey temperament. This disgusts the other pro golfers, in particular the man favoured to take the championship this year, Shooter McGavin (Christopher McDonald). He thinks Happy is a lowlife, and golf is a game for the upper class, forgetting that is was created by poor Scotsmen hundreds of years ago. Happy’s fresh approach to the game brings in a whole new kind of fan, and everyone is watching the tourneys now. Rockers, bikers, regular Joe Schmoes and Plain Janes are part of the crowd. Happy has completely turned the game around this season, and even with his frequent cussing and anger fits, which tend to cause giggle fits for the viewers, the TV ratings are sky high, and the PGA does not want to drop him, since he has become an amazing Cash Cow.
Happy is not alone in his pursuit to gain cash to pay for Grandma’s debts. The PR representative, Virginia Venit (Julie Bowen) keeps him in check, and he eventually takes Chubbs’ advice and gets properly trained. At every turn, on and off the green, McGavin tends to be there to try to ruin things for Happy, but with Happy’s diverse fan base, Shooter man soon find himself the one being shot at. One of Happy’s ex-bosses, Mr. Larson (Richard Kiel), a huge bear of a man, has Shooter shaking in his Nikes.
Happy Gilmore is a fun and funny look at a game that takes itself too seriously, and you can tell that the many retired golf pros, like Lee Trevino and Chi Chi Rodriguez, that joined the cast really enjoyed being in the film. Even Bob Barker joined in the fun. There was lots of ad placement in this movie, but considering it was about professional golf, that did not seem too odd. That’s the way these pro guys are payed. When the wanna-be hockey player takes down the snooties and snobs of the country club set, you know you are in for a great time. This movie is in no way a The Shawshank Redemption, but is good fun, and will keep you laughing for quite a very long time. Best enjoy it now before the winter weather comes and the only golf courses worth playing on will be in Dixie.
I give this film a Musing review of