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'The Waterboy'

By Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 6, 1998

  Movie Critic

Adam Sandler plays a football waterboy who turns into the team's leading tackler. (Touchstone)

Frank Coraci
Adam Sandler;
Rob Schneider;
Fairuza Balk;
Kathy Bates;
Henry Winkler
Running Time:
1 hour, 42 minutes
For some profanity, a glimpse of tattooed buttocks, comic gridiron violence and sexual innuendos
Adam Sandler's cretinous Canteen Boy and irritating Opera Man characters (regularly featured on "Saturday Night Live") used to give me epileptic seizures.

In his incipient film career, Sandler continued to relish playing grating losers ("Happy Gilmore," "Billy Madison") – that is, until last winter's endearing "The Wedding Singer," which showed him to be a genial actor capable of playing "normal" and still making people laugh. What went wrong? "Wedding Singer" director Frank Coraci, writer Tim Herlihy and star Sandler have teamed up for "The Waterboy," to create yet another film about . . . a cretinous, grating loser.

They must think there's an audience for his mental-defective shtick, and I suppose there is, because I sat in one recently for a screening of the story of Bobby Boucher (Sandler), a dim-witted, 31-year-old college football water boy who becomes the team's leading tackler. The mostly college-age crowd ate up the sophomoric humor with a spoon (actually, I'm not sure many of them know how to use silverware), even applauding at the formulaic, come-from-behind gridiron victories – a reaction I can only attribute to Redskins Withdrawal Syndrome.

Kathy Bates should fire the agent who got her the gig playing Bobby's swamp-trash mama, and Fairuza Balk, typecast as Bobby's girlfriend Vicki Vallencourt, seems to be carving out a nice niche for herself as The Slutty Biker Chick. The rest of the cast is rounded out by such film giants as Rob Schneider and Clint Howard as moronic bumpkins and, as Bobby's beleaguered coach, Henry Winkler looking like a trapped and frightened animal.

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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