Screengrab: Slobs v snobs

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Richard Lutz guides you to the best film on the box this week. It’s crass, boorish, hilarious. 

Do you think Jacob Cohen is funny? Hmmm, don’t know him?

How about Jack Roy? Still in the dark?

Let me try again.

How about Rodney Dangerfield? That was the third of the names he was lumbered with.Yes? Ring a bell? Simply one of the funniest US comedians ever to sully a tv or movie screen.

He plays a nouveau riche whacko eyeball-rolling golfer with a machine-gun delivery of one liners in the 35 year old classic Caddyshack (Tuesday 11.45, Sky Movies Comedy). It’s  an appearance you are not likely to forget among the other chucklebunny stars such as Bill Murray, Chevy Chase and Ted Knight.

Caddyshack, itself, is fun. It’s about a bunch of anarchic morons who plague the uptight members of a midwest golf course. It’s more or less slobs v snobs. Murray is the demented groundsman determined to blow up pesky gophers with dynamite, Chevy plays, well, straightfaced Chevy Chase as he uses his Zen powers to sink putts at fifty feet. And Ted Knight successfully chews carpet as the conservative judge driven nuts by the lunatics around him.

That is the plot as far as I can make out. But no real reason to think too hard about the leitmotifs here. This is not The Seventh Seal nor even an Ealing comedy. It is crass, base and stoo-pid. And sometimes that’s just what you need. I will just hint that the swimming pool scene indeed plumbs new depths in gross-out humour and should be avoided by those with a sensitive disposition.

83px-RodneyDangerfield1978Dangerfield is key to this film. His tommy-gun delivery blows the other comics off the screen and into the bunker.

His role was supposed to be of minor support. But once he, Murray and Chase started going it all ad lib and off the cuff (much to the anger of the more traditional actors), Dangerfield, who’d been doing clubs for close to forty years, couldn’t be stopped.

I especially liked the fishing scene where everyone boards his bling cruiser called Sea Food.

Anyway, his acting devolves to a series of whacko monologues peppered with bullseye jokes. They just keep on coming as he roams the back nine with a golf bag spewing out disco music from speakers stitched into the leather and dressed in bad bad yellow golfing gear and a tam o’shanter. Here’s one line: a retort to a snobby matriarch of the snooty club giving him a high class brush off: “Last time I saw a mouth like that, it had a hook in it”.

Or at the 19th hole restaurant: “This steak still got marks where the jockey was hitting it.”

Other Dangerfield zingers from his career on stage, in tv and films:

‘I’m such  a lousy lover that I caught a peeping tom booing me.’

“I could tell my parents hated me. My bath toys were a toaster and a radio.”

“I was always ugly. When I was born, the nurse smacked my mother’

Anyway, Rodney Dangerfield scores a hole in one in this slapstick movie and makes it a good watch. He was a wise cracking pro to the last. Why, he even snuck in a nice line engraved on his tombstone when he died ten years ago:

“There goes the neighbourhood,” it reads.

RIP Rodney. Aka Jason Cohen. Aka Jack Roy.