Golf has been the subject of numerous comedies, including Caddyshack and Happy Gilmore. Now, sisters Fiona and Sophia Robert inject the concept with a coming-of-age story in The Country Club. The opening title sequence is wonderfully creative, as golf-related objects and items reveal the names of the cast and crew involved. Unfortunately, the rest of the picture doesn’t quite meet those expectations.
The film centers around two teenage girls, Elsa and Tina Cartwright (Sophia Robert and Fiona Robert, respectively), who work at a driving range in Connecticut. Elsa takes a great interest in golf, practicing often. However, she feels unsatisfied with her job, hoping for a college education and better opportunities. A chance comes her way when Butlerbrick Golf & Country Club is looking to recruit new young members. They plan to do this by sending out invitations to every elite private school in New England, promising a $15,000 prize for their teen golf tournament. As it turns out, another girl named Elsa Cartwright is sent an invitation, who is known to be part of the Connecticut Cartwrights. Elsa finds the invitation and uses this opportunistic moment to participate in the tournament to win the money.
In due course, Elsa and Tina arrive at the country club, competing with several eccentric characters, including Roger Kowalski (John Higgins), Lawrence (Mateo Ferro), and caddies Lumer (Sean Ormond) and Gunter (Nicholas Feitel). Outside the golf course, the teens form relationships with each other. Hijinks also ensue among the adults, including socialite Granny Lynn (Margaret Ladd) and server Winston Simmons (Madison Arnold). At first, things go well, but of course, Elsa’s true identity, if discovered, could prevent her from competing.
“Elsa finds the invitation and uses this opportunistic moment to participate in the tournament…”
The Country Club is a comedy with a lot happening, yet nothing actually does. The ensemble cast is left to meander while participating in comedic set pieces. Some of these situations produce chuckles, but that’s where it ends. The majority of the humor is low-brow and juvenile. The characters carry a lot of side stories, but the film lacks a central conflict. Elsa’s plight is reduced to an afterthought after the first 15 minutes. It is not until the 1-hour mark that we get a sense of doom for her. Even then, that issue is solved within a few minutes. As a result, the golf tournament lacks any high stakes and succumbs to predictability.
On a production level, the picture is well-produced. Director of photography Julia Pitch gives the film a sharp, colorful look that matches the tone. The colors truly pop throughout. It is also well-paced, thanks to editor Lucas Celler. That being said, it can sometimes feel like a made-for-TV film for Nickelodeon. Overall, this is not necessarily bad, but it prevents it from feeling cinematic.
It is clear that much love and fun went into making The Country Club, as the Robert sisters wrote and star in it, while Fiona Robert directed as well. The cast is having a great time in their roles, which makes everything somewhat enjoyable. Still, more character and story development could have elevated this further to make it more memorable.
"…clear that much love and fun went into making The Country Club..."