The Waterboy (1998) – Review

2 Stars

Previous to The Waterboy, there had been signs that Adam Sandler was becoming a box-office sensation. He stole Bulletproof from his more established co-stars, both Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore were moronic solid earners, and The Wedding Singer was a modest hit. All leading up to the release of The Waterboy in the fall of 1998, the movie absolutely exploded at the box-office and sold and estimated 32 million tickets. Adam Sandler was now a verified comedic draw. So, it’s somewhat mystifying that The Waterboy propelled Sandler to the forefront of screen funny men, but is such a sub-par product compared to the comedian’s output thus far.

Cajun-born mama’s boy Bobby Boucher (Adam Sandler) is a feeble man-boy whose only concern is to quench the thirst of the dehydrated athletes on the local University’s football squad. The players look down on Bobby and his peculiar interest in H20, going so far as to physically abuse the mentally inferior water-boy. Fired from the University for disrupting practice, Bobby finds work at a rival school. Coach Klein (Henry Winkler) witnesses Bobby being punished by his players and advises the shy introvert to unleash the beast inside. Suddenly, Bobby is transformed from meek water-boy into a full-blown wrecking machine of a linebacker. His talent for making bone-crushing tackles propels the team into title contention and makes Bobby an over-night sports celebrity.

The Waterboy caresses laughs from the on-field scenes, Sandler roaming the field like a madman pounding his hands to his helmet in anticipation of hitting somebody. This movie continues the persona created in Madison and Gilmore, that features Sandler as a quiet man with an intense inner rage. He moved away from that successfully in The Wedding Singer, but here he is again, albeit less funny this time, attacking everyone in his path. This undistinguished comedy wuld hold the distinction as the highest grossing sports movie of all-time for nearly a decade.

Director: Frank Coraci
Stars: Adam Sandler, Kathy Bates, Henry Winkler

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