The Waterboy

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The Waterboy
Directed by Frank Coraci
Produced by Jack Giarraputo
Robert Simonds
Adam Sandler
Written by Tim Herlihy
Adam Sandler
Starring Adam Sandler
Kathy Bates
Fairuza Balk
Henry Winkler
Jerry Reed
Larry Gilliard, Jr.
Blake Clark
Peter Dante
Jonathan Loughran
Music by Alan Pasqua
Cinematography Steven Bernstein
Editing by Tom Lewis
Studio Touchstone Pictures
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures
Release dates
  • November 6, 1998 (1998-11-06)
Running time 90 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $23,000,000
Box office $185,991,646

The Waterboy is a 1998 American sports/comedy film directed by Frank Coraci (who played Robert 'Roberto' Boucher, Sr.), starring Adam Sandler, Kathy Bates, Fairuza Balk, Henry Winkler, Jerry Reed, Larry Gilliard, Jr., Blake Clark, Peter Dante and Jonathan Loughran, and produced by Robert Simonds and Jack Giarraputo.

Lynn Swann, Lawrence Taylor, Jimmy Johnson, Bill Cowher, Paul Wight and Rob Schneider have cameo appearances. The movie was extremely profitable, earning $161.5 million in North America alone.[1] This was Sandler's second film to eclipse $120 million worldwide in 1998 along with The Wedding Singer.[1]

Adam Sandler's character, Bobby Boucher (pronounced /bˈʃ/ boo-SHAY), bears a strong resemblance to his "The Excited Southerner" comedic skits from his album What the Hell Happened to Me? The portrayal is one of a stereotypical Cajun from the bayous of South Louisiana, not the typical stereotype of a Southerner. He also shares similarities in speech and mannerism to Canteen Boy, a recurring character, also portrayed by Adam Sandler, on Saturday Night Live.[2] Like Bobby, Canteen Boy preferred "purified water, right out of the old canteen", which he always carried with him.


Bobby Boucher is a socially inept, stuttering water boy with hidden anger issues due to constant teasing and excessive sheltering by his mother, Helen (Kathy Bates). He became the water boy for the (fictional) University of Louisiana Cougars[3] after being told his father died of dehydration in the Sahara while serving in the Peace Corps. However, the players always torment him and the team's head coach, Red Beaulieu (Jerry Reed), eventually fires him for "disrupting" his players. After a few unsuccessful attempts at finding work, including one attempt to get water for a professional wrestler (and also his idol, who laughs at him, one of the embarrassing memories he uses to channel his anger in football.), Bobby then approaches Coach Klein (Henry Winkler) of the South Central Louisiana State University Mud Dogs. After realizing that his team has been drinking filthy water, Bobby says that stagnated water must be disposed of and replaced with fresh water daily, a job he knows well. Aware that Bobby will be a fine addition to the team, Coach Klein hires him.

Bobby's mother, Helen tells Bobby of the evils of football, or "foolsball" as Helen pronounces it, and forbids him to play. After being picked on again by his new team, Coach Klein encourages Bobby to strike back, which leads to him tackling and knocking out the team's quarterback. Coach Klein convinces Bobby to enroll as a student at SCLSU and play for the team, which he agrees to do as long as nobody tells his mother.

Bobby quickly becomes one of the most feared linebackers in college football, hitting opposing players with injury-causing force visualizing them as someone insulting him, and made a record at that. His attacking skills were just as good. The Mud Dogs manage a winning streak and earn a trip to the annual Bourbon Bowl to face the Cougars and Coach Beaulieu. Bobby's newfound fame also allows him to rekindle a relationship with his childhood friend and crush, Vicki Vallencourt (Fairuza Balk), who has been in prison multiple times. However, Helen forbids Bobby from seeing her again.

Coach Beaulieu arrives at a Mud Dogs pep rally and reveals that Bobby never finished high school, making him ineligible for college and football. Everybody labels him as a cheater. Then Coach Klein admits to Bobby that Red stole his playbook years ago, causing him a mental block. With his encouragement Bobby manages to pass his GED exam, despite his mother's objections about him going back to college. She then fakes falling ill to keep Bobby from playing, but eventually relents after witnessing the town residents' support for Bobby. The next day, Helen tells Bobby the truth what really happened to his father and why she was faking her illness. Years ago, Bobby's father headed to New Orleans to find work. While there, he fell for a voodoo priestess, changed his name to Roberto and ran off with her, abandoning Helen while she was pregnant with Bobby. This in turn lead Helen to excessively sheltering him all his life out of fear he'd abandon her like his father did. Helen realizes the best thing for her to do is let Bobby go since he has made a lot of friends and encourages him to play in the Bourbon Bowl.

Arriving at halftime of the Bourbon Bowl with Helen and Vicki, Bobby manages to encourage the losing Mud Dogs to make a comeback. The team admits that he has become the heart and soul of the Mud Dogs. With Bobby's help, Coach Klein overcomes his fear of Red Beaulieu, using the same strategy of visualizing Red as a baby and a puppy, which helps him create new plays that allow the Mud Dogs to catch up. Helen helps the cheerleaders out by making coffee and it helps keep their energy up as they cheer their fans on to rally, while Vicki is seen giving out water to the Mud Dogs. During the final play, Bobby throws a touchdown pass to the quarterback and the Mud Dogs win the Bourbon Bowl. Bobby is named the MVP of the game.

Sometime later, Bobby and Vicki get married and are heading to the riding lawn mower. On their way out, Bobby's father makes an unexpected appearance, telling him that he heard from ESPN that he may go to the NFL. Bobby tells him that he is not going to the NFL because he feels he should earn a college diploma first. Bobby Sr. tries to convince him to take the NFL offers, hoping to gain some of the profits from it, but is tackled down by Helen for this (and for abandoning her all those years ago). Bobby and Vicki leave to consummate their marriage.

Cast and characters[edit]

Filming and production[edit]

The Waterboy was mostly filmed in the Central Florida and Orlando area as well as around Daytona Beach, DeLand, Florida and Lakeland, Florida and surrounding areas.

The Mud Dogs home games were filmed at Spec Martin Stadium in DeLand, Florida, home of the local high school team (the DHS Bulldogs). The classrooms and gym where Bobby takes the GED are part of Stetson University, also located in DeLand. Stetson's Carlton Student Union building is featured in the scene where Bobby is told his mother has been hospitalized.

The scenes involving mama's cabin were shot on Lake Louisa, in Clermont, Florida.

Coach Klein's (Henry Winkler's) office was a stage built inside of the Florida Army National Guard Armory in DeLand, Florida. It is home of Btry B 1st Bn 265th ADA. If one was to look closely, in the background of the practice field scenes, they can see the Armory and some military vehicles.

The initial exterior shot of the University of Louisiana stadium was EverBank Field in Jacksonville; the interior of the stadium is actually the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida. The Citrus Bowl was also the filming location for the climatic Bourbon Bowl game.

The "medulla oblongata" scene was filmed at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, FL. The extras in the scene were students at Florida Southern College. The scene was shot in Edge Hall.

Critical reception[edit]

The Waterboy received mixed to negative reviews from critics. On review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes 32% of the reviews were positive, the critics on the site gave the film a 4.6/10, and the audience review gave it a 3.4/5, the site's consensus being "The Waterboy is an insult to its genre with low humor and cheap gags." On Metacritic, the film holds a rating of 41%, indicating "mixed or average reviews". The film grossed $185,991,646 worldwide from a $20 million budget.[4] The film also appears on critic Roger Ebert's "Most Hated" list.[5]

Awards and nominations[edit]

For his role Sandler was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award award for Worst Actor. The film was also a nominee for the American Film Institute's AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs.[6]


  1. ^ a b "Box Office Mojo". 
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ "Movie/TV helmets". Retrieved 2012-10-04. 
  4. ^ "The Waterboy". IMDb. IMDb. Retrieved 2012-12-05. 
  5. ^ "Roger Ebert's Most Hated". IMDb. 
  6. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-10-04. 

External links[edit]