The Waterboy


Adam Sandler plays Bobby Boucher (pronounced “Boo-SHAY”), a socially inept (but also intelligent), stuttering, water boy with anger issues due to constant teasing and his mother’s (Kathy Bates) excessive sheltering. He was the water boy for the fictitious University of Louisiana Cougars (a name and mascot bearing a strong resemblance to the Louisiana State University Tigers) for the past 18 years (he joined sometime around the 1980-81 season), but the players tormented him, and the team’s head coach, Coach Red Beaulieu, (Jerry Reed) fired him for disrupting his team’s practices. His attempt to become the new waterboy of his favorite wrestler, Captain Insano (Paul Wight, aka The Big Show), is unsuccessful because he reveals that he is in fact 31 years old. As a result, Captain Insano and the TV presenter laugh and Bobby, offended, hangs up before they answer. He later goes to Coach Klein (Henry Winkler), coach of the fictitious “South Central Louisiana State University Mud Dogs” (a name and mascot strongly resembling the former University of Southwestern Louisiana Bulldogs), and volunteers to work as the team’s water boy for free after seeing the filthy water that the coach provides his players.

During his first few hours of being waterboy for the Mud Dogs, one of the players spits into the water can. A flashback is then seen when the waterboy was a young kid working for the Cougars. Coach Beaulieu refuses the right for the waterboy to retaliate against one of his players for spitting in the cooler. Coach Klein notices his anger problem and encourages Bobby to stand up for himself instead of letting the players walk all over him. After Gee Grenouille (Peter Dante), the team’s captain taunts him, Bobby then sees flashbacks of the people that also made his life a living hell (to name a few: Greg Meaney, Coach Red Beaulieu, Captain Insano and the TV host, Jim Simmonds). Bobby utters the phrase “Stop makin’ fun of me!” signaling that enough is enough.

Bobby then effortlessly runs onto the field, grunting and growling in sheer anger and tackles Grenouille, shocking the whole team and prompting Coach Klein to put him on the field, with positive results. Despite his overprotective mother’s disapproval, he secretly continues to play football, and also secretly goes to school. He uses his anger (also known as “The Tackling Fuel”) to tackle the opposing players by pretending they’re the people who made fun of him throughout his life (Coach Beaulieu, his mom, a player who called him “needle dick”, etc.). He quickly becomes one of the most feared linebackers in college football and love interest of Vicki Vallencourt (Fairuza Balk). They play so well with Bobby on the team that they make it to the Bourbon Bowl against the Cougars.

But during their victory bonfire and celebration, Coach Beaulieu and his team drop a bomb by showing Bobby’s high school transcript, which turns out to be fake. Coach Klein tells Bobby that he can continue to play on the team, if he takes and passes a GED exam and admits it was him that forged Bobby’s transcript so that he could play. He then tells Bobby of how twenty years ago (around 1978), when the two were assistant coaches at UL, Beaulieu bullied him out of his green notebook in which he wrote down all his foolproof play ideas, enabling Beaulieu to get the job as coach for the Cougars over Klein. This inspires Bobby to study for the exam to show that he isn’t a dummy and to help get Coach Klein’s manhood back which was also (figuratively) taken along with the playbook.

When his mom sees him studying for the exam, she is shocked when she finds out that he has been playing football and going to school behind her back, and goes as far as to say Bobby will fail at what he does. However, Bobby finally has had enough of her sheltering and goes off on her, saying that he likes school and football (and Vicki’s “boobies”). On the day of the exam, Bobby passes the exam with flying colors. However, shortly after the Parish Sheriff arrives and tells Bobby that his mother is in the hospital after falling sick.

When Bobby arrives at the hospital, the doctors tell him they don’t know what’s wrong with her. What Bobby (and the rest of the people in town) doesn’t know is that Mama is actually faking her illness to keep Bobby from leaving her. While in the hospital, she finally shows Bobby why she’s been so determined to keep him inside of her house. Originally she had told her son that her husband Robert had left them to join the Peace Corps (as well as telling other people) and had died of dehydration in the Sahara Desert (which is cited as part of Bobby’s reasoning for wanting to become a professional waterboy). However, she reveals to Bobby what really happened: his father went off to New Orleans to find work, fell in love with an attractive “voodoo woman” named Phyllis, changed his name to Roberto, and ran off with her. She says that’s the reason why she wanted to keep Bobby close as she was afraid he’d leave her too. However, she realizes her mistake and wants to go to the game with Bobby just to see what football is like.

Bobby and Mama do not reach the stadium until halftime, by which point the Cougars have built a fairly large lead on the Mud Dogs. Bobby walks into the locker room unexpected and inspires the team to make a second half comeback, finally gaining the acceptance of his teammates. To counter the shot the Mud Dogs have received from Bobby’s return, Coach Beaulieu adopts a scorched earth tactic, kneeling on the ball three times each series of downs and punting away to the Mud Dogs, neutralizing Bobby’s tackling ability and forcing the Mud Dogs’ offense to win the game for them. Bobby is able to help Coach Klein overcome his fear of Coach Beaulieu by “pretend[ing] that Red Beaulieu is somebody [he’s] not afraid of,” and design brilliant new plays that Beaulieu is unable to counter, since he has never seen them before.

With Coach Klein’s newfound confidence in himself and his creativity the Mud Dogs rally to within a touchdown late in the game. Coach Klein decides to use Bobby late in the game as more of a two way threat, first using him for an onside kick (which he recovers) and then calling a halfback option pass play for Bobby, who throws a touchdown pass to give the Mud Dogs the win.

The movie ends with Bobby and Vicki getting married. On their way out Bobby’s father makes an unexpected appearance (where we see that Bobby has apparently inherited his slow with from his father). He tries to convince Bobby to leave school to go to the NFL, but Mama comes charging at him and tackles him (which apparently shows that Bobby’s tackling instinct is inherited as well) and Bobby and Vicki leave.


Of all Adama Sandler’s films, this is my favorite. Part of it may be because of the hilarious way he portrays cajuns and the over the top way that Bobby Boucher ends up winning games for his team.

Adam Sandler’s Bobby Boucher seems to be a mix of his Canteen Boy character from Saturday Night Liveand some of his other acts from various comedy recordings. The simplicity of Bobby mixed with the complexity of some of the things he goes through as the film progresses really makes for an interesting character.

Kathy Bates is perfect as Mama Boucher. The only thing that was missing from her performance was some sort of voodoo magic.

If I’m not mistaken, this is the first major role Henry Winkler had since Happy Days, and what a character he plays. Who would have ever thought that the Fonz would be a mentally unstable college football coach?

Fairuza Balk fits seamlessly into the land of cajuns.

As a Louisiana resident, I should be offended by this, but the fact is, this is too hilarious to get offended over, unlike some people. Of course, it would have been nice if they could have actually filmed it in Louisiana , rather than Florida. That really is my only complaint abut this utterly hilarious film. So, what are you waiting for, go watch it!

5 out of 5 stars

4 Responses to “The Waterboy”

  1. […] wish for them to come back. In my case, Big Daddy is one of my top Sandler films, second only to The Waterboy (of those that I’ve […]

  2. […] it just seems out of place to be playing a bunch of fake schools and then one big school. At least The Waterboy mixed them up a little […]

  3. […] fart jokes, something to do with his being Jewish, and the 80s. A few films escape this formula, The Waterboy, for instance, but most of them use the same thing, and it is starting to wear thin on even […]

  4. […] worked…back then. The Waterboy is perhaps my favorite Adam Sandler movie but, I got to thinking the other day, if it were made […]

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