Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Frank Coraci|
|Written by||Tim Herlihy
|Music by||Alan Pasqua|
|Edited by||Tom Lewis|
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Pictures|
|Box office||$186 million|
The Waterboy is a 1998 American sports comedy film directed by Frank Coraci (who also appears in a cameo role), starring Adam Sandler, Kathy Bates, Fairuza Balk, Henry Winkler, Jerry Reed (his last film role before his death in 2008), 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 "The Big Show" Wight and Rob Schneider have cameo appearances. The movie was extremely profitable, earning $161.5 million in North America alone. This was Sandler's second film to eclipse $120 million worldwide in 1998, along with The Wedding Singer.
Adam Sandler's character, Bobby Boucher (pronounced // 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 Sandler, on Saturday Night Live. Like Bobby, Canteen Boy was a soft spoken manchild who preferred "purified water, right out of the old canteen," which he always carried with him.
Bobby Boucher (Adam Sandler) is a socially inept, stuttering 31-year-old water boy of the University of Louisiana's football program. He lives with his overprotective mother, Helen (Kathy Bates), and believes his father, Robert Sr., died of dehydration in the Sahara while serving in the Peace Corps.
As the players constantly bully Boucher, the Cougars' head coach, Red Beaulieu (Jerry Reed), fires Boucher, claiming he is disruptive. Bobby approaches Coach Klein (Henry Winkler) of the far more austere South Central Louisiana State University Mud Dogs and is hired as the team's water boy. The Mud Dogs have lost 40 consecutive games, their cheerleaders are alcoholics, and players are forced to share equipment due to budget cuts.
When the new team teases him, Klein encourages Bobby to stand up for himself, leading to him tackling and knocking out the team's quarterback. Bobby has repressed anger issues due to Helen's excessive sheltering and his years of being bullied. Seeing Boucher's potential, Klein meets with Helen and tries to persuade her to let Bobby play on the team, but she refuses, saying it is too dangerous.
Klein convinces Bobby to play without letting Helen know. Bobby becomes a feared linebacker, with Klein telling him to visualize his enemies angering him and use the feelings for motivation. The Mud Dogs go on a winning streak. Bobby's newfound fame and confidence also allow him to reconnect with his childhood crush, Vicki Vallencourt (Fairuza Balk), who has been in prison multiple times. Helen forbids Bobby from seeing her, warning him that girls are "the devil".
The team's success earns it a trip to the annual Bourbon Bowl to face the Cougars and Coach Beaulieu. Beaulieu and his team crash the Mud Dogs' pep rally and reveal that Bobby never finished high school since he was homeschooled, and his high school transcript is fake, making him ineligible for college and football. The team and fans turn against him.
Coach Klein convinces NCAA to let Bobby play if he can pass a GED exam. He apologizes to Bobby and admits to submitting the fake transcript because he was desperate to get even with Beaulieu. Klein and Beaulieu used to be assistant coaches at the University of Louisiana. Beaulieu took credit for Klein's playbook, got promoted to head coach, and fired Klein.
The experience drove Klein to a mental breakdown, making him unable to come up with new plays. The story convinces Bobby to help Klein get revenge on Beaulieu and prove himself to everyone. Helen nags Bobby while he is studying for the GED, driving him to angrily reveal to her that he has been playing football, going to college, and seeing Vicki, and intends to continue to doing so.
Bobby passes the exam, but Helen feigns a coma. Feeling he drove his mother to illness, Bobby stays in the hospital with her. Meanwhile, Vicki spreads word of Bobby passing the exam. This leads to a gathering of fans at the hospital who apologize for not supporting him and try to convince him to play. Seeing her son struggling to ignore his calling, Helen ends her fake illness. She tells Bobby his father, Robert Sr., was never in the Peace Corps, and in fact abandoned her while she was pregnant with Bobby to have an affair with a voodoo priestess. This led to Helen being constantly afraid that Bobby would leave her too. Having seen him being happy and making new friends, she realizes how selfish she has been, and encourages him to play in the Bourbon Bowl.
Arriving at halftime, Bobby finds the Mud Dogs losing 27-0. The team apologize for not treating him with the respect he deserves. With Bobby's help, Coach Klein overcomes his fear of Beaulieu by visualizing him as various things he's not afraid of, and comes up with new plays. The Mud Dogs begin to catch up, unsettling Beaulieu, who resorts to underhanded tactics. Helen helps by sobering up the team's cheerleaders in making coffee, while Vicki fills in for Bobby's usual waterboy duties. The Mud Dogs win the Bourbon Bowl by a score of 30-27. Bobby is named the MVP.
Some time later, Bobby and Vicki get married. Bobby's father Roberto makes a surprise appearance to convince Bobby to skip school and go to the NFL so he can share in his son's newfound fame, citing the success of Tiger Woods and his father. He is tackled to the ground by an enraged Helen. Bobby and Vicki leave to consummate their marriage.
- Adam Sandler as Robert 'Bobby' Boucher, Jr.
- Kathy Bates as Helen 'Mama' Boucher
- Henry Winkler as Coach Klein
- Fairuza Balk as Vicki Vallencourt
- Jerry Reed as Coach Red Beaulieu
- Peter Dante as Gee Grenouille
- Larry Gilliard, Jr. as Derek Wallace
- Blake Clark as Farmer Fran
- Jonathan Loughran as Lyle Robideaux
- Clint Howard as Paco
- Allen Covert as Walter
- Rob Schneider as The Townie; Schneider reprises this role in Adam Sandler's film Little Nicky (2000), despite being made by New Line Cinema; in turn, Sandler plays the same townie in Schneider's film The Animal.
- Kevin Farley as Jim Simonds
- Frank Coraci as Robert 'Roberto' Boucher, Sr.
- Big Show as Captain Insano
- Soon Hee Newbold as Mud Dog Cheerleader
- Dan Fouts as himself (ABC Sports commentator)
- Brent Musburger as himself (ABC Sports commentator)
- Lynn Swann as himself (ABC Sports commentator)
- Chris Fowler as himself (ESPN commentator)
- Lee Corso as himself (ESPN commentator)
- Trevor Miller as himself
- Moosie The Cocker Spaniel as herself
- Dan Patrick as himself (ESPN SportsCenter commentator)
- Lawrence Taylor as himself (LT's Louisiana Lightning Training Football Camp)
- Bill Cowher as himself (Pittsburgh Steelers coach)
- Jimmy Johnson as himself (Miami Dolphins coach)
- Jennifer Bini Taylor as Rita
Filming and production
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, while the flyover shot at the beginning of the game is of Williams-Brice Stadium at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina.
|The Waterboy: Original Soundtrack|
|Soundtrack album by Various artists|
|Released||November 3, 1998|
|1.||"Born on the Bayou"||Creedence Clearwater Revival||5:15|
|2.||"More Today Than Yesterday"||Goldfinger||3:22|
|3.||"Boom Boom"||Big Head Todd and the Monsters||3:33|
|4.||"Feed It"||The Candyskins||3:35|
|5.||"Peace Frog"||The Doors||2:57|
|6.||"Let's Groove"||Earth, Wind & Fire||5:38|
|7.||"Always on the Run"||Lenny Kravitz||3:53|
|8.||"Doin' My Thang"||Incidents / Lifelong||4:10|
|9.||"Small Town"||John Mellencamp||3:40|
|10.||"New Year's Eve"||Joe Walsh||4:00|
|11.||"No One to Run With"||The Allman Brothers Band||5:58|
The Waterboy received mostly mixed to negative reviews from critics. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, 35% of the reviews were positive, with an average rating of 4.6/10. The site's consensus says "The Waterboy is an insult to its genre with low humor and cheap gags." At Metacritic, the film holds a rating of 41%, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun Times gave the film a negative review, saying "Sandler is making a tactical error when he creates a character whose manner and voice has the effect of fingernails on a blackboard, and then expects us to hang in there for a whole movie." Lisa Alspector of the Chicago Reader also gave the film a negative review, writing "Geek-triumphs-after-all comedies can be charming, but in this one the triumphing begins so early it's hard to feel for the geek." Michael O'Sullivan of the Washington Post described the movie as "Another film about . . . a cretinous, grating loser."
Manohla Dargis of L.A Weekly gave the film a mixed review, writing: "Of course it's dumb, but every 10 minutes or so, it's also pretty funny." Glen Lovell of Variety said of the film, "This yahoos-on-the-bayou farce is neither inventive nor outrageous enough.". David Nusair of Reel Film Reviews also gave the film a mixed review, calling it "an agreeable yet forgettable comedy".
Janet Maslin of The New York Times said the film was "so cheerfully outlandish that it's hard to resist, and so good-hearted that it's genuinely endearing.". Mark Savlov of the Austin Chronicle also gave the film a positive review and said the film was "A mildly amusing bayou farce with plenty of 'foosball' action to liven the sometimes plodding proceedings."
Awards and nominations
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- "1998 Golden Raspberry Award". Awards & Winners. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
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