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The Waterboy

movie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: The Waterboy

Starring: Adam Sandler, Kathy Bates
Director: Frank Coraci
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 90 Minutes
Release Date: November 1998
Genre: Comedy

*Also starring: Henry Winkler, Fairuza Balk, Jerry Reed, Clint Howard, Blake Clark

Review by Walter Frith
½ star out of 4

Where's Bob Barker when you need him? Seeing him pound Adam Sandler senseless in 1996's 'Happy Gilmore' was a scream (because this guy sucks!) and that film along with 1996's 'Bulletproof' are the only two films I've enjoyed seeing the amateur comedian in, but just mildly. 'The Waterboy' is filled with enough stereotyped comedy to offend everyone and while most people are expected to have at least some sense of humour, this film clearly crosses the line and enough is enough. Let's see, we are to believe that everyone in the southern United States is a redneck, a bible thumping fanatic who thinks everyone and everything is the devil, that they all are incoherent when they speak, that they're cross-eyed or just plain backwards. Am I from the south? No. I'm a Canadian but it still filled me with a sense of indignity to see such politically incorrect humour taken to the extreme. P.I. humour is fine here and there but not to the point where it scars your equilibrium so you can't think straight after the film is over.

In 'The Waterboy', Sandler plays a 31-year old water boy for the worst college team in Louisiana. He talks with a lisp, and an unappealing southern accent that whines. Sandler is no Meryl Streep or Laurence Olivier and his attempt at accenting is not acceptable nor is it convincing. He lives with his mother in their bayou home where everything is decorated for the classic southern stereotype. Mama (Kathy Bates) believes that girls are the devil and even has her pet donkey tied up in the living room and it drinks from the toilet and hee-haws at will. I'm glad it didn't have to sit through this movie. It seems that dad left many years ago and Sandler and his mama are the only ones at home. The players tease and torment Sandler as the water boy to the point where he gets himself fired by the redneck coach (Jerry Reed).

Sandler gets re-hired by another school football coach (Henry Winkler) to be the team's water boy and after experiencing the same torment from the players the same as in his last job, Sandler's boiling point erupts and he tackles one of the players on the field in anger and devastates him. The coach is so impressed he asks Sandler to play on the team as a linebacker. He has no clue how to play ball but learns the hard way. He is inspired to play by a girl he always fancied (Fairuza Balk), a woman with tattoos and a criminal record who mama refers to as the.....well, you know.

Sandler clearly wants to aim his meager abilities at the under 18 market where a film like this would get an Academy award if they had their way. Just as in 'Happy Gilmore' when Sandler discovered he had a hidden athletic ability to drive a golf ball 400 yards each time, he finds here that he has a hidden athletic ability to tackle. The only tackling dummy here is the audience as we get our intelligence insulted at every turn and to be fair, while the film does have some good football field action and a few genuine laughs, it's shallow stuff at best.

Director Frank Coraci was clearly hired to supervise the editing, sound and other technical mixes because he looks about as capable to direct a movie as a water boy on the set of a movie. No, wait, that's the guy that gets coffee for everyone, isn't it. Since Sandler co-wrote the film with Tim Herlihy, it's clear that he called a lot of the film's shots as the film is similar in nature to other films bearing Sandler's childish humour.

I'm glad 'The Waterboy' was released in November as it becomes a fresh minded candidate for one of the worst films of 1998. By the way Adam, the title of your movie, just so you can learn how to spell, is actually two words. Some teenagers I'm sure would like to "moon" me for this review but I would consider it a compliment after viewing this mess of a movie.

Copyright 2000 Walter Frith

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