Monday, February 9, 2009

Goofballs (1987)

Directed by Brad Turner
Starring Ben Gordon, Wayne Robson, Cynthia Belliveau
Not Rated

“So you play the guitar?”
“It says on your resume that playing guitar is one of your interests.”
“Well, that’s true. I am interested in it.”

I should know better, really. A low budget, direct-to-video Canadian Caddyshack rip-off? How could this possibly be any good? Clearly, it cannot. Clearly, I am a fool for even entertaining the notion. But listen, it’s got “balls” in the title, and there’s hot girls in bikinis on the VHS cover, so it was unavoidable, really. Sigh.

Josh (Ben Gordon) is a would-be gangster driving the getaway car during a smash n’ grab fur heist. But when the cops suddenly come screaming down the alley, he bails on his mobster pals and escapes to the Bahamas (actually the balmy side of Toronto, but whatever), where he gets a job working at a down-on-its-luck golf resort. When his old boss, Weasel (Gary Salsberg) suddenly calls him up and tells him that two on-the-run wiseguys are heading his way, he convinces his new boss, Ernesto (John Kozak) that they’re actually golf pros. Therefore, they need to throw together a golf tournament the very next day. Ernesto doesn’t know what the fuck he's talking about (neither do I, really), but Josh sweetens the deal by telling him that several celebrities will also be visiting for the tournament, including Clint Eastwood, Jack Nicholson, and Tom Jones. That’s a lie, of course, so he hires his idiot nephew Stanley (Ron James), a failed comedian, to do terrible celebrity impersonations to confuse Ernesto.

If that all doesn’t sound horrible enough, there’s also a bunch of Arabs (actually white guys and one black guy) running around the resort hiding gold. God knows why. The gangsters show up, hear about the gold, and chase the Arabs around. They say stuff like this:
Stick (Wayne Robson): “He’s gonna cough up that gold or he’s gonna cough up blood.”
Aldo (Jim Hemphill): “I wonder which one he’ll choose?”

Meanwhile Stanley falls in love with Holly (Cynthia Belliveau, Loose Screws), who at least provides us with a brief but satisfying glimpse of girl-flesh during a shower scene (mostly ass – great ass, by the way – and a little side-boob), and somebody invents a robot golfball (the “goofball” of the title, which also comes with an ear-gouging ska theme) to use in the tournament. It all races towards the expected happy ending.
‘Races’ is the wrong word, actually. ‘Crawls’ works much better.

Honestly, I just felt bad for myself watching this. Suddenly this whole project seemed like some sort of persecution, like I had somehow damned myself to this lifetime of watching terribly unfunny Canadian comedies because I foolishly drank my way out of college and this was all that was left for me. Sure, the film is littered with minor Canadian comedy stars (John Hemphill is from SCTV, Ron James was in Strange Brew), but that’s only notable if you’re actively Canadian. For the rest of us, it’s just a long and torturous grind of super-lame slapstick gags and golf jokes. Were it not for the chance to ogle the always fetching Cynthia Belliveau, this would have been a complete and utter washout.

In Summation: Josh has a talking parrot in the movie. It figures prominently in the plot. He’s sort of a smart alecky Greek chorus.
“Stop the movie,” squawks the yappy bird, seconds before the final credits roll. “It’s enough already.”
If only he had suggested that an hour and a half ago.

Availability: Goofballs is available on VHS.
-Ken McIntyre

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