The Waterboy

There are three things that Bobby Boucher loves more than anything else in the world: His Momma, Football and Water. All three are connected in Boucher’s limited world, where he serves as the water boy for the Louisiana University football team. Bobby would love to play football, but he loves his Momma, and his momma doesn’t want him playing no football.

Such is life in “The Waterboy,” another winning romp from the team that brought us “The Wedding Singer.” I’ve always liked Adam Sandler, and knew that he was destined for much bigger things than “Billy Madison.” The first inkling of what Sandler was capable of came in “Happy Gilmore,” possibly the most raucous golf comedy since “Caddyshack.” Sandler started to display the talent that would lead to “The Wedding Singer,” which in my opinion, was one of the best films of 1998. It had laughs and heart, two emotions that Sandler was born to play.

Based on the good will of “The Wedding Singer,” audiences made “The Waterboy” one of the highest grossing films of 1998. Deservedly so, as “The Waterboy” entertains on so many levels. Sandler is simply wonderful as Boucher, who puts up with crap from the team and their spiteful coach (Jerry Reed, almost unrecognizable) because he loves his job dispensing water. He’s a relic, but he’s so simple, sweet and good natured he doesn’t realize that he’s being taken advantage of and walked on.

He simple wants to dispense water and take care of his Momma (Kathy Bates, so funny it hurts) in their shack on the bayou. Bobby’s life is turned upside down when assistant coach Klein (Henry Winkler, always likeable) encourages him to stand up for himself. When he finally does, Bobby displays a unique talent for tackling. When Klein and Bobby are bounced from the team, they wind up at the local college where Klein convinces Bobby to play behind his mother’s back.

Bobby loves his Momma, but he also loves the attention he gets when he becomes a football hero. The screenplay by Tim Herlihy and Sandler is filled with all of the obvious roadblocks (Bobby has to get good grades in order to play), but the cast seems to be having such a good time that it becomes infectious. Underdog stories are always fun, and this is a winner on all counts. Sandler makes Bobby so likeable you can’t help but want to see him succeed. You also want to see him get swamp girl Vicki Vallencourt, deliciously played by Fairuza Balk, who makes munching on barbecued gator an act of seduction. The bayou setting allows Sandler to use his Cajun Boy accent that he perfected on Saturday Night Live. “The Waterboy,” like “The Wedding Singer,” is the kind of film that you can watch over and over again without hesitation.


VISION: [ X ] 20/20 [ ] Good [ ] Cataracts [ ] Blind

Once again, another excellent transfer from the folks at Disney, delivered in the film’s original 1.85:1 widescreen ratio. There are some noticeable compression artifacts, but they are few and far in between. The color saturation is excellent, with strong, vivid colors that never bleed or fade. Good contrast, with industrial strength blacks and clean whites. The images are sharp and clear, with excellent depth of field and nice attention to small detail. Check out the evening shot of the shack on Chapter 6 and marvel at how pure the image looks.

HEARING: [ X ] Excellent [ ] Minor Hearing Loss [ ] Needs Hearing Aid [ ] Deaf

Playful, exciting 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround soundtrack with ambient sound so realistic, you’d swear that was an alligator snapping at your butt. Outstanding right to left stereo separation, while the front to rear spatial separation sounds natural and distinct. Strong, easy to listen to dialogue mix, while the rest of the soundtrack displays a wide range of highs and lows that all sound factory standard without any noticeable hiss or distortion.

ORAL: [ ] Excellent [ X ] Good [ ] Poor

Closed captions in English for the hard of hearing.

COORDINATION: [ ] Excellent [ X ] Good [ ] Clumsy [ ] Weak

Standard issue main and scene access menus, plus a short, 3-minute behind-the-scenes publicity featurette, the original theatrical trailer, and additional title suggestions.

PROGNOSIS: [ X ] Excellent [ ] Fit [ ] Will Live [ ] Resuscitate [ ] Terminal

There’s nothing waterlogged about this hilarious effort from Adam Sandler.

VITALS: $29.99/Rated PG-13/90 Minutes/Color/25 Chapter Stops/Keepcase/#16540



HMO: Touchstone Home Video

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