Saturday, August 1, 2009

Movie Journal: Happy Gilmore

Happy Gilmore is a sports comedy about a pro hockey player wannabe who's grandmother's house is repossessed by the IRS. By sheer chance he discovers he has something of a talent for the game of golf. Being in need of funds for the sake of his grandma, he manages to join a local tournament, after which he is admitted into the pro tour.

Now, from that brief description of the first act, one may be lead to believe that Happy Gilmore is quite typical and standard. But that's quite far from the truth. One thing I really find amazing about the film is, no matter how good at golf Gilmore gets, the plotline still finds ways to retain his status as the story's underdog. It's a sports tale that is less about the main character's constantly pushing himself physically, and more about the calming of his inner conflicts and the harnessing of his emotions. Hence the complete lack of any training montages; the kind that have, quite frankly, plagued the genre for years.

It's really hard not to be impressed by the film's...well, simply bizarre sense of humor. If you just take a few steps back, the whole premise is entirely absurd. And just when you think things are starting to become normal and make sense, there's always that over-the-top twist that never fails to leave you speechless. The utterly incredible final twist of the film's third act is a testament to this.

While it's true that there are a couple major flaws in the plot, they barely register in the first viewing, whereas the sly wit of the jokes get better every time. While it's certainly not perfect, I wouldn't be surprised if this was the very best sports comedy yet produced.

9 out of 10

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