Come one, come all! It’s time for the first ever Cinematic Crap Fest, where we look at a notoriously bad movie that forever lives in shame. Let’s relive the pain together.
Today’s Crap Fest: In honor of Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (a sequel we hope doesn’t suck), we look at arguably the worst comedy sequel ever made – Caddyshack II.
Release Date: 1988
Set-Up: Let’s see, the movie came out eight years after the original, and only one of the original cast members returned in a limited role. Are these enough warning signs for you? If you made a Caddyshack sequel right after the first film with all the original players back, there’s no doubt it could have worked. With comedy sequels in particular, you have to pump them out immediately, or wait at least fifteen years for the nostalgia factor to kick in. This movie should have never happened.
Starring: Jackie Mason, Robert Stack, Randy Quaid, Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase, Jessica Lundy, Jonathan Silverman
The Director: Allan Arkush
This was the final feature directed by Allan Arkush. Who knows if this killed his film career, or it simply scarred him for life on making more movies. Arkush went on to direct a ton of television, including Heroes of all things. For as much crap as those later Heroes seasons got, they were at least better than Caddyshack II.
Worst Caddyshack Knock-Off Character: After a failed attempt to get the original players back, the movie basically creates carbon copies of each popular character, including Dan Aykroyd as the Bill Murray role, and Robert Stack as the resident Bushwood snob, ala Ted Knight. The most embarrassing attempt though was Jackie Mason in for Rodney Dangerfield as the loud mouth rich guy. Not only were his lines atrociously bad, but add in the inevitable comparisons to Dangerfield and it’s unsettling at how unfunny the comedy comes across. I actually felt bad for Jackie Mason. These jokes bomb so horrifically bad, it’s almost like your kindly old uncle who tries too hard at being the life of the party, but it’s really just nauseating. Wow, this was a miss.
Desperate Attempt to Recreate the Caddyshack Magic: We all loved the dancing gopher as a kid, but when you get older you appreciate Caddyshack for the actual characters. Caddyshack II gives us a crash course in Bad Sequel Making 101 by bloating up the gopher to a larger role. He even talks in this one. Ugh. They also made him fatter, which I guess is supposed to be funny. I really don’t give a damn about the antics of the gopher.
As an honorable mention, they also raise the zany factor. Hey, remember when Rodney Dangerfield had the funny gadget where his golf club shot out of the bag? That was pretty good. In Caddyshack II, they introduce a laser grid over the green, a golf club that could be mistaken for the flux capacitor, and they even turn Bushwood into a miniature golf course on steroids. You took a funny joke that lasted all of ten seconds in the first movie and turned it into a hackneyed crap-fest. Unbelievable!
Worst Performance: Poor Dan Aykroyd. His performance in Caddyshack II is just sad to watch. If you’ve seen the movie, you know what I’m talking about. I don’t even want to talk about it anymore.
The Pathetic Award: One of the underappreciated elements to Caddyshack are the actual caddies. Danny Noonan is the true main character, and Michael O’Keefe does a good job of playing the likable wise ass. In Caddyshack II we get Jonathan Silverman as Harry, the main caddie. His name is Harry. That’s really all there is to him.
The Trying Too Hard Award: For a movie that is lazy and pathetic in its attempt at comedy, Randy Quaid tries too hard as the eccentric lawyer. Oh, he’s the whacky guy who gives wedgies and yells a lot. Hilarious. I like Randy Quaid, but what the hell are we doing here? There’s one scene where he becomes a total nut job and starts playing hockey with the golf ball. Seriously, what is this?
The Saving Grace: They were able to reel in one original cast member, and thank heavens they did. Chevy Chase is the one guy who showed up to work. Was he hilarious? No, but at least the spirit of Ty Webb was present in an otherwise horrendous film. Chase provided some good chuckles despite the limited screen time. Even in utter garbage, he still brought it.
Worst Scene: This harkens back to Jackie Mason’s terrible performance as Jack Hartounian, the Rodney Dangerfield replacement. They try and recreate the dinner party from the original film where Dangerfield struts through the crowd making wisecracks. It’s one of my favorite comedy scenes ever in a film. It’s safe to say they don’t recreate that magic with Mason’s blue tuxedo/tango scene. Awful. This is like watching Michael Bay direct the lightsaber duel between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader at the end of The Empire Strikes Back.
(Chandler): “Jack, you’re the guest. I give you the honor.”
(Jack): “Look at this, I’m only here fifteen minutes, and already they want to give me honor.”
This is the kind of bad humor I’m talking about with Jackie Mason. Haha. He makes a joke about getting the honor on the first hole. Compare that to all of Rodney Dangerfield’s lines – it’s just sad.
My Big Gripe: The driving force behind Caddyshack was the elitist snobs against the screwballs. They do the same thing here, but it’s way to spelled out. What made the snob angle work was Ted Knight’s legendary performance as Judge Smails. In his place we get Robert Stack, who does absolutely nothing with the role. He’s not even really an asshole, just very matter of fact about his snob-ness. This makes the conflict completely lackluster. When you can’t even get the basic premise down, how are you supposed to infuse good jokes?
The Legacy of Crap: While Caddyshack II is notorious among some of the worst comedies ever made, it’s been pretty well buried. Nobody’s career was destroyed by this film. Harold Ramis wrote Groundhog Day a few years later, Randy Quaid certainly turned out fine, and for as bad as Dan Aykroyd was, he got nominated for an Oscar one year later (Driving Miss Daisy). What’s most important though is this film in no way harms the original. This sequel has been appropriately forgotten, and only brought up as a brief after thought, if any. Unless someone out there is beyond desperate, it’s safe to say Caddyshack III will never grace our presence. I’m sure that gopher died of a heart attack by now.
Daniel Cohen is the Film Editor for Pop-Break. Aside from reviews, Daniel does a weekly box office predictions column, and also contributes monthly Top Tens and Op-Ed’s on all things film. Daniel is a graduate of Bates College with a degree in English, and also studied Screenwriting at UCLA. He can also be read on www.movieshenanigans.com. His movie crush is Jessica Rabbit. Follow him on Twitter @dcohenwriter.