CADDYSHACK 2 was made 8 years after the first film, which is a length of time that outlasts the audience's appetite for more. The first film was a box office hit and remains one of the greatest comedies of all time, and it was a success that the studio was desperate to recreate. They had previously attempted to capture the same lightning in the bottle by reassembling the CADDYSHACK cast and creatives for the 1986 movie CLUB PARADISE. It was a catastrophic failure but they remained determine to hit it the spot. And so for this hugely misjudged sequel they blackmailed writer Harold Raimis into returning with the threat of the series being sullied by another writer. He reluctantly agreed to return with hopes of keeping the franchise credible (a decision he famously regretted).
In assembling the cast the only two original players who agreed to return were Rodney Dangerfield and Chevy Chase... only that Dangerfield changed his mind and dropped out, while Chase found himself contractually committed. With his character being the only crossover the producers sought to bring compatible names to the project, and which included Dan Aykroyd, Randy Quaid, Jackie Mason, Robert Stack and Paul Bartel (an impressive cast in itself).
CADDYSHACK 2 recycles the original formula, almost verbatim, and follows an identical structure with the characters being exact reflections of the past. Jackie Mason's eccentric millionaire character replaces Rodney Dangerfield's, while Dan Aykroyd's militant saboteur stands in for Bill Murray's groundskeeper. Jonathan Silverman does his best Michael O'Keefe and Robert Stack channels his inner Ted Knight. My favourite aspect of the recreation is the tournament finale, where the country-club golf course has been substituted with a gigantic crazy-golf course. TOTAL LUNACY!
Director Alan Arkush is a familiar name with a forgettable resume. His best film is ROCK N ROLL HIGH SCHOOL and his worst is HEARTBEEPS (which means CADDYSHACK 2 isn't his low point), and what he managed to do very well was recapture the production value and overall look of the original. You could line the two movies up side-by-side and they would appear to be cut from the same cloth. There is no denying that it is a hodgepodge of pointlessness with zero originality... but it's ridiculously fun nonetheless. I enjoy the gags. I enjoy the performances. I enjoy the frivolity. And I enjoy the absolute absurdity.
It is a sequel that has suffered 30 years of ridicule and has no chance of general appreciation. It will never earn nostalgic forgiveness and it will forever be pissed upon. I think that's a damn shame... and I will watch it every year as a protest to that attitude. Fuck the naysayers and climb aboard the fun-train. Feel no shame for loving CADDYSHACK 2.... stand beside me and say it out loud. THE SHACK IS BACK!!! THE SHACK IS BACK!!!!!!!