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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

Happy Gilmore (1996)
(2020 Reissue)


Starring: Adam Sandler, Christopher McDonald, Julie Bowen, Carl Weathers, Frances Bay, Bob Barker, Richard Kiel, Dennis Dugan, Joe Flaherty, Lee Trevino and Kevin Nealon
Distributor: Fabulous Films Ltd / Fremantle Media Enterprises
RRP: £14.99


Certificate: 12
Release Date: 12 October 2020

Adam Sandler is the Two Billion Dollar Man. That’s the gross net worth of his films. This Fabulous Films Blu-ray, razor sharp image, heavily resolved in boastful primaries, is like a living landscape we can reach into. Its comedy is just as vital, outrageous and threatening as if to grab us into a headlock for a Dutch rub on our noggin. Sandler has always been the bad boy, the iconoclast of cool, the introspective heir apparent of the misunderstood clown. The doofus decision to impose his megalomania on the sedate and soft-spoken topiary terrain of professional golf is ill-advised for sure. So that’s exactly what he does. How can we like such an obstreperous arse? We can’t.

But herein is the secret of the Sandler comedic Geist. The inner conflict of the Sandler persona is that he doesn’t like himself either. Where else would a Blu-ray publicity release, remark that Happy Gilmore stars Adam Sandler “back when he was funny”? The inbuilt “grossectomy” has always been with Sandler. He has always gone for being funny by being embarrassingly unfunny.

Gilmore starts as an ice hockey player (a sport near and dear to Sandler’s heart, its very jaw busting pride a give away to his balls to the wall masochism) but ice rink dreams of stardom melt. Golf, now there’s a challenge to master, the only problem, he brings to it the head-clout of a hockey player. As we’re told, “with his hot head and hard-hitting drives, Happy doesn’t just play golf, he destroys it.”

Sandler gathers a cast of comedians and character acters, a bomber crew peculiar to his carnival of taste. There is no cast like a Sandler cast, a hustings of unusuals gathered to wrench laughs one never thought possible. The giant talent, Richard Kiel, Jaws from two Bonds, is amazingly gifted in comedy. Who knew? Sandler. (Always a warm spot in my heart for Kiel, he was in the first work I ever got in cuneiform era television

Then there’s Bob Barker. The genial host of TV game show The Price is Right is challenged to fisticuffs on the green by Happy and, well, there’s no better way to put it, Happy gets the crap beaten out of him. Pure Sandler. The fight is filmed, choreographed, and cut with no sparing of blood or gut.

The question is, how does Sandler do it? How does he manage obnoxiousness transcendent to laughter and likability. W.C. Fields had a key to this trove of awareness. Sandler has his own combination lock.


John Huff

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