Movie Review: Happy Gilmore (1996)

Synopsis: Aspiring hockey player Happy Gilmore has a powerful slapshot but his anger issues and weak skating prevent him from making a team. When he learns his hockey skills allow him to drive a golf ball further than any other golfer, he wins a local golf tournament and reluctantly becomes a professional golfer in an effort to save his grandmother's house from the IRS.

Who's in it? The movie stars Adam Sandler, Christopher McDonald, Julie Bowen, Frances Bay and Allen Covert.

Review: As I mentioned in another post, my wife and I ended up spending part of our Sunday afternoon relaxing on the couch and watching movies. This included back-to-back Adam Sandler films, including this one.

While I'm not a huge Adam Sandler fan, there are a few of his movies I do enjoy to the point I have seen them multiple times. This is one of those films.

As I've mentioned before, Sandler tends to be the weak link in most of his films. This is one of the rare exceptions to that. He comes across as a likable every-day man who has just enough faults to make it easy to relate to him. As a result, it is very believable when he takes the professional golf world by storm and becomes a fan favorite.

The fact his character, Happy, has anger issues also works really well in this movie. Having golfed myself (though not in many years), I understand just how frustrating of a sport it can be and seeing him overreact to little mistakes was one of those things that made the movie very fun to watch.

Another thing I liked about this movie was McDonald's performance as Happy's rival Shooter McGavin. A lot of times, movies like this focus a little too much on the good guy and don't do enough to flesh out the main villain. McGavin is very memorable because he has two traits that make him a great villain, arrogance and the talent to back up that arrogance.

My only real complaint about this movie is it never takes the time to tell us more about Happy's love interest, Virginia (Bowen). All we really know about her is she's good at her job, is good looking and likes Happy. The movie gives us very little (if anything) about her childhood, how she got her job or even if she likes golf. While the movie is still funny without that detail, it's one of those things that could have made her character a lot more memorable and unique.

Final Opinion: Adam Sandler doesn't always star in great movies but this is definitely one of his best films/performances. It's enjoyable every time I watch it and is a movie I do recommend taking the time to watch if you haven't seen it.

My Grade: A

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