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 and starring Adam Sandler, Kathy Bates, Fairuza Balk, Henry Winkler, Jerry Reed, Larry Gilliard, Jr., Blake Clark, Peter Dante and Jonathan Loughran. It was 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 film was extremely profitable, earning $161.5 million in North America alone.
Robert "Bobby" Boucher, Jr. (Adam Sandler) is a socially inept, stuttering 31-year-old water boy of the University of Louisiana 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 back in the late 1960s.
As the players constantly bully Boucher, the Cougars' head coach, Red Beaulieu (Jerry Reed), fires Boucher, claiming that he has been disruptive during the 18 years of his employment. 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. Remembering all the bullying he has put up with over the years, Bobby tackles the team's quarterback, knocking him out. 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, seeing that Bobby is eager to attend college. 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 (and basically everything else in pop culture) are "the devil".
The team's success earns it a trip to the annual Bourbon Bowl on New Year's Day to face the Cougars and Coach Beaulieu. However, 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, believing him to be a liar and cheater.
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. Back in 1978 (20 years prior), Klein and Beaulieu used to be assistant coaches at the University of Louisiana. Beaulieu bullied Klein out of his playbook, took credit for his ideas, got promoted to head coach, and then 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 finally stand up against her once and for all. He angrily reveals to her that he has been playing football, going to college, and seeing Vicki, and intends to continue 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 four months pregnant with Bobby to have an affair with a voodoo priestess in New Orleans. 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 to save his and the team's honor. 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, 30-27. Bobby is named the MVP, all to the devastation of Beaulieu and the Cougars.
Some time later, Bobby and Vicki get married. Bobby's father Robert Sr., who has since changed his name to 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 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 2000 film Little Nicky, 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
- Robert Kokol as The Professor
- 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 Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida. The Camping World Stadium 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 |
|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|
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 "[a]nother film about . . . a cretinous, grating loser."
Manohla Dargis of LA 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 wrote 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 wrote 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, writing that it was "A mildly amusing bayou farce with plenty of 'foosball' action to liven the sometimes plodding proceedings."
Awards and nominations
- "Box Office Mojo".
- "Movie/TV helmets". Mghelmets.com. Archived from the original on July 14, 2011. Retrieved 2012-10-04.
- "The Waterboy - Original Soundtrack - Songs, Reviews, Credits - AllMusic". AllMusic.
- "The Waterboy Review". Retrieved 5 June 2014.
- "The Waterboy". metacritic.com. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
- Ebert, Roger. "THE WATERBOY". rogerebert.com. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
- Alspector, Lisa. "The Waterboy Review". Retrieved 5 June 2014.
- O'Sullivan, Michael. "The Waterboy". washingtonpost.com. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
- Dargins, Manhola. "The Waterboy Review". Archived from the original on 2008-01-15.
- Lovell, Glen. "Waterboy Review". Variety. Archived from the original on April 18, 2015. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
- Nusair, David. "The Waterboy (July 10/10)". Retrieved 5 June 2014.
- Maslin, Janet. "The Waterboy (1998) FILM REVIEW; Md Dogs! Mud Dogs! Rah Rah Rah!". Retrieved 5 June 2014.
- Savlov, Mark. "The Waterboy". austinchronicle.com. Austin Chronicle Corp. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
- "The Waterboy". IMDb. IMDb. Retrieved 2012-12-05.
- "UK Weekend Box Office 30th April 1999 - 2nd May 1999". www.25thframe.co.uk. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
- "1998 Golden Raspberry Award". Awards & Winners. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
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