Happy Gilmore - * *

Adam Sandler makes the most out of a stock situation, and, at times, manages to create several good laughs. Sandler plays the title character, a hockey fanatic who can’t skate. He stumbles from one failure to another, until, after his beloved grandmother’s home is seized by the I.R.S., he discovers a gift for golf. Coached by an old pro (Carl Weathers), Happy joins the PGA tour to win enough money to buy back his granny’s house. Unfortunately, he learns there is more to golf than making 400 yard drives, and his boisterous hockey attitude grates on the calm demeanor of the sport of golf. All throughout Happy Gilmore, there are signs and traces of an excellent comedy. Unfortunately, Happy Gilmore doesn’t live up to its promise, and is instead is bogged down in formula, and a paucity of sympathetic characters. Adam Sandler, surprisingly, proves to be the best actor in the film. Yet, though he is a few steps beyond a one-note SNL character, Sandler doesn’t ever enliven Gilmore’s personality past the warmth and charm of an elementary-school bully. With these flaws aside, the film does have its moments. In those periodic flashes of humor, you can see what the film could have been if given additional inspiration, and freed of its situational yoke.

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