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After THE WEDDING SINGER, I thought that comedian Adam Sandler was looking to offer his fans somewhat more sophistication films. Sandler's follow-up, THE WATERBOY ($30) certainly proved me wrong. THE WATERBOY is about as unsophisticated and stupid as any comedy could possibly be; yet to my shame, the low humor had me laughing out loud. In THE WATERBOY, Adam Sandler portrays Bobby Boucher, a backwater mama's boy from the Louisiana bayous who, just isn't quite right in the head. Bobby may be 31 years old, but he has naivete of a child. Bobby is also a "professional" waterboy for the local college football team- a position he has held for about twenty years. In addition to providing water, Bobby has also become an object of ridicule for the team. Not wanting to let Bobby distract the team from the game, Coach Beaulieu (Jerry Reed) fires Bobby from his longtime position.

Distraught, Bobby applies for a job as waterboy with the only other local football team- a team that just happens to have the worst record in collegiate sports. Coach Klein (Henry Winkler) gives Bobby a job as "water distribution engineer" and encourages him to stand up for himself when the team members begin tormenting him. The emotionally retarded Bobby takes the coach’s advice, and by focusing all of his pent-up rage he turns into a one man wrecking crew. Amazed by the hard-hitting force he has unleashed; Coach Klein transforms Bobby from timid waterboy into the weapon that finally gets his team out of the toilet. Academy Award winner Kathy Bates may be slumming for a paycheck, but she is hilarious as Bobby's ultra-protective Bayou Mama. Fairuza Balk brings the right combination of sex appeal and humor to the role of Vicki Vallencourt, the "Bad Girl" who takes an interest in the simple waterboy who turns into a college football phenomenon. Blake Clark gives an incompressible performance as Farmer Fran and he gets plenty of cheap laughs for his trouble.

Touchstone Home Video brings THE WATERBOY to DVD in a Letterboxed presentation that unfortunately lacks the 16:9 anamorphic enhancement for wide screen televisions. Despite the lack of the 16:9 component, THE WATERBOY has been given a great looking transfer that restores the film's 1.85:1 theatrical framing. THE WATERBOY has crisp and detailed image, plus vibrant colors that reproduce without any noise or distortion. Digital compression artifacts never made their presence known on the DVD.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack isn't demonstration quality, but then again, comedies almost never have showy mixes. Instead, the pleasant sounding mix provides atmosphere, some directional effects, plus clean, crisp dialogue reproduction. Hey, what kind of comedy would it be, if one couldn't hear all the jokes? A French language track has also been provided on the DVD, as have English captions.

The interactive menus are fairly simple, but provide access to the standard scene and language selection features, plus a theatrical trailer and a short production featurette.




DVD reviews are Copyright 1999 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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