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Waterboy, The (1998) Print E-mail
Tuesday, 28 July 2009
Image"The Waterboy" is one of Adam Sandler's many comedy triumphs.  The film is usually not the favorite of the bunch for Sandler fans, but it certainly stands tall in the middle.  The film offers some southern-style comedy and several cameos by Sandler's fellow comedic pals.  "The Waterboy" grossed a whopping $160 million at the box office, resulting in a tidy profit considering the film cost about $23 million to make.

In "The Waterboy," Sandler stars as Bobby Boucher, a southern boy that isn't the brightest bulb in the pack.  He lives at home with his mother (Kathy Bates).  At 30 plus years old, Boucher works as the waterboy boy for a Louisiana University.  The football players constantly pick on Bobby.  When the players start a fight, with the waterboy crammed in the middle, the coach blames it on Boucher and fires him.

Bobby's mother is ecstatic that he lost his job and that he can stay home with her all day long.  Bobby's mother is overly protective of her son, fearing that he will leave her like his father did.  She calls everything "the devil" that does not fight in with her plan to keep Bobby at home.  Bobby is not deterred by his pink slip and hunts for another waterboy job.  After being rejected by his hero, Captain Insano, Bobby finds his way to South Central Louisiana State University.  It is there that he makes Coach Klein (Henry Winkler) take his services as a waterboy, even without pay.

Klein coaches a team that loses years straight.  However, when Bobby demonstrates some powerful tackling abilities Klein becomes inspired.  He persuades Bobby to join the team.  Bobby has to do this behind his mother's back, as mama believes football to be the devil.  After a rough beginning, Bobby finally understands the game and helps the Muddogs become victorious.  After enough wins, the Muddogs are slated to play in the Bourbon Bowl with the Waterboy's ex-team.  It just so happens that their coach stole all the plays and coaching job from coach Klein.  Klein now fears Coach Red above all else.

When Bobby's mother finds out that he has been playing football she falls into a mysterious illness, or lack thereof.  At the same time Bobby is banned from football as somehow forged his lack of a high school transcript.  The town and the team turn against Bobby, so Bobby remains by his mother's side.  Even after the town apologizes, Bobby remains with his mother.  It isn't until his mother hears the town's cries for her son that she realizes that she can no longer hold onto her son.

Bobby's releases her grasped upon Bobby, allowing him to attend the Bourbon Bowl game and even be with his sweetheart, Vicki Vallencourt (Fariuza Balk).

The film is directed by Frank Coraci, who also directed Sandler's "The Wedding Singer," released earlier the same year.  Coraci also returned in 2006 to direct Sandler's "Click."  "The Waterboy" is probably the lamest of the three, but it is still good comedy fun. The video transfer of this film is above average on Blu-ray.  The transfer has its inconsistencies, but on the whole it translates very well.  The film is framed at 1.85:1 and has an MPEG-4 AVC encode.  The black levels are more than adequate, as is shadow delineation.  The contrast level is overblown, as the colors are way too vibrant.  The saturation of the colors leaves a nice pop to the image, but the orange uniforms glow like radiation hit them.  This is one of the only films that I can remember in recent days that has some artifacting, including some banding issues.  It only occurs a couple of times and is barely noticeable on anything by a projection screen.  Details are not as good as I would have hoped for.  Some scenes contain excellent details, but then they practically disappear.  Long distance shots have no edge definition.  Fleshtones also contain some inconsistency.  Overall, this is a tremendous upgrade from the horrible standard DVD transfer.

The audio is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1.  This is a fairly standard audio track.  The dialogue remains in the center channel.  It is clear and audible throughout.  The track lacks any type of enveloping.  There is virtually no ambience in the surround channels.  The swamp home of Bobby contains a few distinct bugs here and there, but it is never totally immersive.  The LFE channel is average for such a film.  However, it is definitely not up to par during the rough tackling of the football sequences.  The dynamics are fairly consistent.  Once again, this is a great upgrade from the standard Dolby track, but still doesn't offer anything more than just that, an upgrade.

Shockingly, there are absolutely zero special features on this disc.  There are no previews before the movie loads and the disc is not BD-Live enabled.  What a bummer.

"The Waterboy" is not the best Adam Sandler film, but it is certainly good for several laughs.  Boucher's stuttering is quite hilarious.  The video and audio qualities are above average on the whole, however they are bogged down by inconsistencies.

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