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IN SHORT: Much funnier than Cranky expected.
I will give credit where it's due. After his Adam Sandler's last movie, The Wedding Singer, surprised me with its gentle and very funny humor -- and substantial story as compared to earlier Sandler flicks -- I actually looked forward to whatever came next. To my horror, I heard that it would be a return-to-moronica Happy Gilmore/ Billy Madison flick. So this time I was prepared. This time I brought medication. . .
Unlike my experience with Happy Gilmore, the very restricted pharmaceuticals were unnecessary aids to enjoyment of The Waterboy. Granted, I saw the thing in a 24 seat private room with big leather easy chairs and lots of legroom, so I was pretty comfortable. I would have preferred to see it with a big crowd of "real" citizens in a sticky-floored theater, but I had to see an Oscar® contender last night and missed the sneak.
The contender, the title of which you'll just have to speculate on, stunk. The Waterboy didn't.
I'm not raving here. It's still fratboy humor as Sandler comes up with a character that has enough background to sustain more than a 8 minute Saturday Night Live skit. The story, in which Louisiana bayou inbreeding appears status quo in Louisiana is pretty simple, stupid stuff. You start with a 31 year old "professional" waterboy named Bobby Boucher (Sandler) getting beaten up by the University of Louisiana Cougars football team and humiliated and fired by their coach (Jerry Reed). He's a mama's boy. Drives a lawn mower on the freeway. Never kissed a girl. No friends. Stammers. Not your average, genuine party guy. Dispensing water is his life, so he winds up at grade-Z college S.C.L.S.U. whose football team is maintaining a 40 game losing street. This is a school where the cheerleaders are drunk and unconscious, just the way fratboys like 'em, but Bobby's never had none of that.
His mom (Kathy Bates) sees the Devil everywhere she looks, so when her only son when he brings home his new boss, Coach Klein (Henry Winkler) for a dinner of barbecued roadkill and asks to be allowed to play football, she forbids it. [If you're asking why this loser wants to play football, the answer is he doesn't. He's got a rage issue which, when you see it play out on the screen, will make you laugh]. With a tattoo of Roy Orbison as inspiration -- another good gag -- Bobby deceives his ma and becomes a star.
Did I mention Bobby's affection for a convicted felon Vicki Vallencourt (Fairuza Balk)? Consider it mentioned. The Waterboy is fratboy humor, but it's far funnier than Happy Gilmore. I consider that a good thing.
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to The Waterboy he would have paid . . .
I'm too old to consider this a date flick, so I split the baby between that level and the wait for pay-per-view $4 level.
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