I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, critics don’t seem to get comedy. Unless humor is sophisticated or serious, they despise comedies, deeming them juvenile or inconsequential. I for one adore comedies, especially all these Saturday Night Live-type ’90s movies. I just love Mike Myers, Norm McDonald, Chris Farley, Adam Sandler and all these guys, and watching movies like “Wayne’s World”, “Tommy Boy” or “Billy Madison” is a great pleasure for me. Hence, I was real happy when “The Waterboy” was released. Don’t assume that it’s a stupid, pointless film. Actually, it’s kind of a cross between the simple-man-succeeding-against-all-odds good spirit of “Forrest Gump” (with many more elements inspired from Robert Zemeckis’ masterpiece: the screwy girl next door -played by the funny and incredibly sexy goth chick Fairuza Balk-, the motherly advice, the football…) and the overmothered-child-who-releases-his-fury aspect of De Palma’s “Carrie”.
The movie’s set in the Louisiana, and Sandler (who also co-wrote the film) has a lot of fun exaggerating the bayou clichés. He plays Bobby Boucher, an innocent young guy who lives in a cabin in the swamp with his overprotective, over-religious Mama (Kathy Bates, one of the most enjoyable supporting players lately) and their donkey Steve. They’re surrounded by countless hillbillies; most of them are played by unknowns, but there’s also cameos from cult actor Clint Howard and SNL’s Rob Schneider. Boucher’s a 31 year old waterboy for a football team who’s brilliant at his job but is still constantly harassed and ridiculed by players. Early in the film, he gets fired and goes to work for a much lesser scale college team, coached by the always cool Henry “The Fonz” Winkler. Inadvertently, Bobby finally loses his cool when a player teases him and he tackles him like there’s no tomorrow. The coach convinces him to be on the team and tells him to use his frustration of being made fun of all his life as tackling fuel. And then we’re on for a predictable yet pleasant sport comedy, as the team tries to win the Bourbon Bowl.
“The Waterboy” is the second collaboration this year between Adam Sandler and director Frank Coraci, after their delirious ’80s romantic comedy “The Wedding Singer”. Coraci ain’t Scorsese or anything but his movies are packed with energy, fun and cool music. As for Sandler, he’s as good as always as the stuttering, childish Bobby Boucher. Like all his movies, it ain’t really thought provoking, but you can’t deny it’s terrific entertainment.