The Waterboy - * * 1/2*

The Waterboy

After his attempt to broaden his appeal with The Wedding Singer, Adam Sandler returns back to familiar ground in The Waterboy. It may not be terribly innovative, but Sandler’s in peak form, and he delivers a humorous (if predictable) comedy.

This time, Sandler stars as Bobby Boucher, a dimwitted Cajun man who makes his living as the waterboy for a local college football team. Water is his life, and though socially inept, he makes water-serving an exquisite art form. However, it’s not one appreciated by the team, which torments and picks on Bobby incessantly…until one day Coach Red Beaulieu (Jerry Reed) finally fires him.

Not to fear, however, for Bobby soon finds work down at South Central Louisiana State University, where the country’s worst collegiate football team plays. Coach Klein (Henry Winkler), a bit of a loser in his own right, gives Bobby a chance as waterboy. However, when one day Bobby loses his temper on the field, a hidden talent for sacking emerges. Coach Klein immediately recruits Bobby to play linebacker…but there’s one problem: Bobby’s mama (Kathy Bates).

You see, Bobby still lives with Mama, and she’s the disapproving sort. She doesn’t want Bobby to get hurt, either playing football, or even mingling with girls (such as the white trash Vicki Vallencourt (Fairuza Balk)). After 31 years, will Bobby get the backbone to stand up to his mama? (Or at least sneak around behind her back?) Hmmm…would there be a movie otherwise?

To those who have followed Sandler’s career, the character of Bobby Boucher is a familiar one. The character seems like an amalgam of Canteen Boy, Cajun Man and Happy Gilmore. Yet, this is obviously Sandler in his element. He’s played this character so many times before that he does play it well.

The Waterboy is extremely formulaic…but it’s also funny. If you’ve seen one sports movie, you know exactly where The Waterboy is going. But The Waterboy isn’t about plot…it’s about setting up the quick laugh, and delivering it home.

At times, watching The Waterboy is like watching one of those NFL sacking videos (you know, like The NFL’s Greatest Career-Ending-Injuries). It’s a little painful, but disturbingly humorous.

There are no epic moments that will go down in comedy history here. But there’s enough funny stuff to keep you amused throughout the movie, and for a little while thereafter. What more do you want from an Adam Sandler film?

The Waterboy is the epitome of the “Adam Sandler” movie, and as that it’s very unlikely to win any converts. If you love Adam Sandler, chances are you’ll love this movie. If you can’t stand him, this film won’t change your mind…you’d best check the other theaters in your local megaplex.

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