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MOVIE REVIEW

'Who's Your Caddy?' is not without its hooks

July 30, 2007|John Anderson | Special to The Times

Way back when, in "48 Hrs.," Eddie Murphy happily informed a bar full of rednecks he was their worst nightmare -- a black man with a badge. In the golf-and-hip-hop comedy "Who's Your Caddy?" the nightmare means a rap producer with enough money to buy an upper-crusty country club that wants to keep him out and a bunch of friends who are sickly funny enough to send the existing membership into cardiac arrest.

Yes, it's the old racial dynamic, but "Who's Your Caddy?" is smart enough to play for belly laughs, knowing the race issue will be out there floating, anyway, like your opponent's 300-yard tee shot. The bringer of bad tidings to the restricted Carolina Pines country club is hip-hop pasha Christopher B. Hawkins -- alias C-Note, aka "the artist formerly known as [high-pitched shriek]." As played by Antwan Andre "Big Boi" Patton (half of OutKast), Hawkins is a good-natured guy with a grudge: His late father was a caddy at the club, and its best golfer, before he was fired by the envious Richard Cummings (Jeffrey Jones).

Cummings isn't aware of who C-Note is, only that he's not what the club is looking for in a new member. He even turns down C-Note's million dollars -- money the rapper subsequently spends buying property adjacent to the golf course, which he uses to gain club membership -- and to drive Cummings up the wall.

The "Who's Your Caddy?" plot is fairly hackneyed, with undeveloped subplots hanging around like tassels on a golf shoe. Jones can do this role in his sleep and, besides, the screenwriters are really recycling the Ted Knight role from "Caddyshack." For his part, Patton is an unpolished actor, albeit one with a huge cache of innate charisma.

Where "Caddy" really sparkles is in the supporting comedy ensemble, which tosses out bits of incongruous dialogue that hit the funny bone more often than not. Faizon Love is consistently funny, as are Sherri Shepherd and Finesse Mitchell, a man who has a way with a non sequitur. And just for gratuitous pleasure, the movie takes a swing at golf, a sport with a long history of tolerating restricted courses and bad attitudes. For the PGA, "Caddy" will be like sitting on a golf tee.

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"Who's Your Caddy?" MPAA rating: PG-13 for crude and sexual content, some nudity, language and drug material. Running time: 90 minutes. In general release.

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