|THE WATERBOY (1998)|
|"Let's kick some names and take some ass."|
|Time: 89 mins.|
Genre: Sports Comedy
I have to say that in the last year I have seen most of Sandler's bigscreen efforts thanks to that new invention the DVD. Though I watched him occasionally on SNL, I was not a huge fan. What scares me after watching all his films is I'm actually looking forward to the next one. THE WEDDING SINGER has been my favorite so far mainly because he played a semi-normal human being but they all have made me laugh and THE WATERBOY is no exception. It has the weakest plot of all his films and it does wear thin in points, but it's still worth the price of a rental.
Sandler plays Bobby Boucher, a 31-year-old waterboy for the local college football team, who still lives with his mother out on the bayou. Not a smart man, Bobby has been picked on all his life. The only person who's ever loved him is his momma (played by Kathy Bates), at least that's what she's been telling him since the day he was born. His only contact with the outside world is his job and they do nothing but make fun of him. When he gets fired, he turns to the coach of the Mud Dogs, the state's worst football team for a job. Since he agrees to work for free he's hired.
Though he's working for a different team, he continues to get picked on by the players. The coach (Henry Winkler) inspires him to stand up for himself, to not let the players belittle him. The next time it happens Bobby takes matters into his own hands, channels his rage and tackles the crap out of his bully. Coach Klein is beside himself with joy. Bobby is exactly what their team needs someone with talent. He immediately suits Bobby up and starts training him in the ways of the game. The players still hate him and Bobby is unsure of his new position on the team. Besides, Momma forbids him to play football. That's OK. They just won't tell her.
Playing football opens a whole new world for Bobby. He's taking classes at the college and Vicki Vallencourt (Fairuza Balk), a friend from his youth, comes back into his life...now that she's out of jail. She's impressed by the changes in Bobby and wants to be his girlfriend. Bobby tries to resist Momma says Vicki's the devil but he finds that he doesn't want to, that he likes making decisions for himself. It goes without saying that Bobby's powerful tackling gets them into the championship game, having to play both his and Coach Klein's enemies. The fate of the team lies in Bobby's hands and it turns out winning a football game is harder than he expected. It all works out in the end of course.
Though Sandler is always amusing, what makes THE WATERBOY at all watchable is the supporting cast. Winkler and Bates are hysterical, both playing against type and both giving good performances. It's great to see Winkler being given the chance to be funny again. He really makes the most of this part. I generally find Fairuza Balk to be more annoying than talented, but even she is amusing here. The main problem with this film is the "been there done that" factor. I just wish it had a little more of a plot. Watching Sandler beat the crap out of people is consistently funny, but it's not enough to carry a movie. Here's hoping he puts a little more effort into the script and characters the next time. If you like Sandler and his films, you'll probably enjoy THE WATERBOY. If you've never seen any of his films, try THE WEDDING SINGER. You'll get a little more movie for your money.