Why does every Adam Sandler character seem to be Happy Gilmore? I don’t know if there’s an actor out there, comedian or otherwise, who has made so many movies essentially playing the same character. If it seems at times like I really hate Sandler, believe it or not, I don’t. The guy has a charm and natural ability that can, when he works at it, come off as a very entertaining couple of hours at the movies. Unfortunately, he’s not willing to work at it, and so continues to bombard us with new versions of the same character and story.
You’ve seen it all before. Young guy with some kind of a mental problem or at least simplemindedness ends up overcoming his self esteem issues and becomes a hero. It’s no different here. This time the guy is Bobby Boucher (Sandler) who takes his waterboy duties with the local college football team a little too seriously. Taste testing the water and making sure the serving temperature is just right are just a couple of ways that Bobby looks like an idiot to the team’s players and coaches. He’s picked on, and for good reason. Finally the coach considers him too much of a distraction and fires the kid. Bobby’s thrown into a deep depression and no one seems to understand him. That goes doubly for the moviegoers caught paying out good money for the movie. He ends up getting another, non-paying gig at SCLSU, the losingest school in the state. Once again he’s picked on. This time the frustration builds, and Bobby ends up tackling one of his tormentors on the team. When Coach Klein (Winkler) sees the amazing tackle he decides to give Bobby a shot to make the team. Predictably, Bobby becomes a star, elevating the crappy team into the championship. Of course, just as easy to predict, you know what team they face in the big game. Yes, it’s Bobby’s old team. It just so happens the coaches are old rivals, and so it’s personal all around. The rival coach tries to get Bobby disqualified for the big game, but of course we have to have that moment when Bobby realizes everybody is counting on him and that he’s a hero. Again, the operative word here is predictable.
It’s a bit unfortunate that I had to watch Waterboy at the same time I was also just watching Sling Blade. Unfortunate because Sandler puts in an over the top slam on mental retardation here. I’m surprised that there wasn’t more made of the rather offensive portrayal. Meanwhile I had just watched Billy Bob Thornton deliver a stunning portrayal of a mentally handicapped individual. I understand one is a drama while the other is a comedy, and I didn’t necessarily take any offense to Sandler’s act. But, I’m surprised in this politically correct environment there wasn’t more made of it.
The film might be harmless enough, but there just isn’t anything original here to see. About the funniest scene was watching Lawrence Taylor telling a group of kids about the dangers of drugs. I strongly suggest you pull a Joe Montana move here and just pass.
The Waterboy is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The 1080p image is arrived at with an AVC/Mpeg-4 codec. It’s a very average presentation from a film that doesn’t really cry out for the high definition treatment. Colors are actually pretty good and work best in the football action with the uniforms and nice greens of the field. Detail is high, as you would expect, but the film has little to offer for this level of detail. Black level and contrast are all about average. It looks fine.
The DTS-HD Master Audio provides adequate dialog. There really isn’t much else here for it to do.
This is strictly a cheap catalog release and has little to offer any but the biggest fans of the film. It did quite well at the box office, and considering the modest budget, it seems likely that Sandler will continue to put out these formula films as long as we keep going to see them. I’m not sure that success translates to high definition demand, however. I think your DVD here is just fine. The movie is ultimately missing a lot: originality, high production values, solid cast, and “a highly functioning brain”.