Adam Sandler has a large following who love his films even if they seem mediocre to the mass audience. Therefore, “Happy Gilmore” was a box office success even though the critics did not take to it.
Adam Sandler appears always to affect a lack of intelligence in his demeanor. It is difficult to determine if it is an affectation or if it is actually part of Adam’s persona. It does, however, add to his charm and popularity with younger fans.
In “Happy Gilmore,” Adam plays the part of an unsuccessful hockey player who discovers that he is good at golf by using some of his hockey tricks in his golf game. This gives him a powerful golf drive which has never before been seen. His putting, however, needs help.
When the unemployed Happy learns that his grandmother is in danger of having her house foreclosed for delinquent taxes, he is determined to help save the house that his grandfather built from the ground up. He decides to enter a local golf tournament which earns money for the top players.
Happy, of course, makes enemies on the tour with his unorthodox way of playing golf, even though his drive goes farther than any other player’s. Shooter McGavin (played by Christopher McDonald) has yet to win a “gold jacket” and sees the upcoming PGA tour as possibly his last chance to have that honor. Only Happy Gilmore stands in his way, after winning enough local tournaments to gain a spot on the PGA tour.
In spite of many complaints about his bizarre behavior and poor golf etiquette, by Shooter as well as other players, the tour managers recognize that the publicity gained by Happy’s antics are well worth the criticism since Happy is not breaking any rules.
To add a little love interest, the tour PR person, Virginia Venit (played by pretty Julie Bowen) is assigned to him for the length of the tour, and of course the two are attracted to each other.
A comic sequence is insinuated into the scenario when Bob Barker (of The Price is Right fame) is paired with Happy in the Pro-Am tournament. A brawl breaks out between the two and Happy is knocked out temporarily, only to come back again with a vengeance.
The ending is not as predictable as one would expect, but Grandma does get her house back, and it appears that Happy does get the girl. Along the way, though, so many mishaps occur, some of them funny, that the viewer can feel that his time was well spent.
Not my favorite movie, but a nice distraction for an evening.
Happy Gilmore (1996)