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I believe in giving every movie the benefit of the doubt. I walked into "The Waterboy," sat down, took a sip of my delicious medium roast coffee and felt at peace with the world. How nice it would be, I thought, to give Adam Sandler a good review for a change. Goodwill and caffeine suffused my being, and as the lights went down I all but beamed at the screen.

Then Adam Sandler spoke, and all was lost. His character's voice is made of a lisp, a whine, a nasal grating and an accent that nobody in Louisiana actually has, although the movies pretend that they do. His character is a 31-year-old man who, soon after the film opens, is fired as the waterboy of a championship football team. Then he talks himself into a job with a team of losers, led by the insecure Coach Kline ( Henry Winkler ).

Bobby Boucher, the waterboy, is one of those people who is so insufferable, in a passive-aggressive way, that you have to believe they know what they're doing. No one could be that annoying by accident. I am occasionally buttonholed by such specimens. They stand too close, they talk too loudly, they are not looking at me but at an invisible Teleprompter somewhere over my shoulder. If I were a man of action, I would head-butt them and take my chances with the courts.

"The Waterboy" tries to force this character into the ancient movie mold of the misunderstood simple little guy with a heart of gold. By the end of the movie we are supposed to like him, I think, especially as the whole school turns up in a candlelight vigil outside the hospital where he waits at the bedside of his (not) dying mother. There is only one way I can see myself liking this character. That would be if "The Waterboy," like " That Obscure Object of Desire " and " Lost Highway ," had two different actors play the same character, so that by the end Bobby Boucher was being portrayed by Tom Hanks .

Kathy Bates has the best scenes in the movie, as Bobby's mother, a possessive and manipulative creature who has kept her son tied to her apron strings in their bayou cabin, which looks like it was furnished by the same artist who draws How Many Mistakes Can You Find in This Picture? Mama Boucher and Bobby share space with large animals and junk shop treasures, and she serves giant swamp snakes, coiled in a tasty brew of herbs and spices. Bates makes her character work as a comic creation, and knows the line between parody and wretched excess.

Henry Winkler is luckless as Coach Klein, because he is given little to do other than be a creature of the plot. And the plot is that exhausted wheeze of a sports movie formula, in which the hero is scorned by everyone until he comes off the bench, shows remarkable talent, and (a) wins or (b) loses the big game. (I do not want to reveal the ending, so you will have to guess for yourself which it is. If you voted for [b], you are reading the wrong movie critic.) Do I have something visceral against Adam Sandler? I hope not. I try to keep an open mind and approach every movie with high hopes. It would give me enormous satisfaction (and relief) to like him in a movie. But I suggest he is making a tactical error when he creates a character whose manner and voice has the effect of fingernails on a blackboard, and then expects us to hang in there for a whole movie.

Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert was the film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times from 1967 until his death in 2013. In 1975, he won the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished criticism.

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Film credits.

The Waterboy movie poster

The Waterboy (1998)

Rated PG-13 For Language and Some Crude Sexual Humor

Fairuza Balk as Vicki Vallencourt

Henry Winkler as Coach Klein

Jerry Reed as Red Beaulieu

Kathy Bates as Mama Boucher

Adam Sandler as Bobby Boucher

  • Adam Sandler
  • Tim Herlihy

Directed by

  • Frank Coraci

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The Untold Truth Of The Waterboy

Adam Sandler in a football jersey

Today, Adam Sandler is known as one of the biggest comedy movie actors of all time. Before climbing Hollywood's ladder to the A-list, Sandler was a cast member on television's most famous sketch comedy show, "Saturday Night Live." In the mid-1990s, Sandler started making a name for himself in movies , notably "Billy Madison" in 1995 and "Happy Gilmore" in 1996, which made healthy profits at the box office .

It was 1998's "The Waterboy" that finally launched Sandler's career into the stratosphere. Filled with many notable actors in the supporting cast, including Kathy Bates, Henry Winkler, and Fairuza Balk, "The Waterboy" told the story of Robert "Bobby" Boucher Jr., played by Sandler. Bobby is a well-meaning but slow-witted youth whose dreams of serving water, playing football, and finding romance are held back due to his love for his domineering mother (Bates).

"The Waterboy" became the first film in Sandler's career to make more than $100 million  domestically. It turned the actor into a comedy superstar alongside the likes of Jim Carrey and Steve Martin . In the decades since its release, the movie has come to be regarded as a classic. The history behind the making of "The Waterboy" is a fascinating one. Let us take a look at some of the surprising events that led up to the creation of the beloved comedy.

It was inspired by an SNL sketch

Adam Sandler started his Hollywood career as a standup comic and sketch comedy artist. Many of the ideas that Sandler would use later in his movie career were inspired by his time working on "Saturday Night Live."  The iconic sketch show was also responsible for the idea that eventually evolved into "The Waterboy."

On "SNL," Sandler made a name for himself singing parodies on his guitar and playing offbeat characters with interesting quirks. Like "Canteen Boy," an assistant scoutmaster who behaves in a childlike manner, pays great attention to detail, and is always seen wearing a water canteen around his neck. If that description sounds very similar to Bobby Boucher, it's no coincidence.

"You could compare [Bobby] to 'Canteen Boy,'" Sandler told CNN in an interview. "Whereas he does love water and they both get picked on a lot." While Canteen Boy inspired "The Waterboy," Bobby Boucher is a better-developed character whose most noticeable quality, Sandler said, is that "he is a genuine, good person." It was this goodness that made Bobby Boucher into something deeper than a character in a sketch, someone whose journey audiences would want to follow over the length of an entire film. 

Everyone loves Bobby Boucher

Right from the start of his career in films, Adam Sandler made a name for himself playing emotionally stunted man-children with anger issues. The anger issues toned down a bit by the later stages of his career, but at the time of "The Waterboy," Sandler was still best known for playing guys who did not always behave in the nicest manner. This was a formula that "The Waterboy" inverted. Instead of having Sandler play an over-the-top zany character in a regular world, screenwriter Tim Herlihy told SB Nation  that this movie changed things up by having Sandler's Bobby Boucher be the nice, relatively sane guy surrounded by whacky characters who accentuated how nice and well-meaning Bobby himself was.

Playing Bobby proved a nice change of pace for Sandler. When he was asked during an interview with The Harvard Crimson  which of Sandler's characters he would want to be stuck on a marooned island with, the actor picked Bobby as his companion of choice (next to Billy Madison), adding that he would "let Bobby [rest] his head on [his] lap and sleep." Also, who better to help you survive on a desert island than a guy who has spent his life learning to collect and ration drinking water?

Kathy Bates tossed the script in the trash

One of the biggest surprises in "The Waterboy" when it first came out was seeing veteran dramatic actress Kathy Bates hamming it up to glory in the role of Bobby's domineering mother desperate to keep her son at her side forever by telling him everything outside their home was a sinful trap set by the devil. 

No one thought Bates would ever want to do such an over-the-top role, not even the makers of "The Waterboy." And they were right. When Bates first got the script for the movie, she saw that it was about football. Having no interest in the sport and not having the faintest idea who the lead actor was, Bates threw the script in the trash. There, it was spotted by Bates' niece, who realized "The Waterboy" was an Adam Sandler movie. 

"[My niece] pulled it out, and she said, 'Adam Sandler! You don't know the Hanukkah song [from 'SNL']?" Bates told Snoop Dogg in an interview . "[My niece told me] 'You have to do this movie!' And she was right. We had so much fun. Unbelievable." Thanks to that bit of prodding, Bates accepted the unusual role of Bobby's mom, Helen, which ended up becoming one of the best-remembered roles of the actress' illustrious career.

The film is related to Hubie Halloween

"The Waterboy" had Adam Sandler playing one of the most vulnerable characters of his entire career. Bobby Boucher was the town outcast who was bullied by everyone around him but maintained a dogged determination to be kind and helpful to others because of his strong love for his mother that extended to the rest of humanity. Echoes of these character traits can be found in Hubie Dubois, Sandler's hero from 2020's "Hubie Halloween." Much like Bobby, Hubie is his town's walking punchline, has an awkward way of talking, and cares far more for his neighbors than they do for him. These similarities were not a coincidence. In fact, Sandler told Yahoo Entertainment that Hubie's full name is a reference to Bobby Boucher since the two characters are so similar.

With "Hubie Halloween"  chock-full of references to many of Sandler's past movies, the actor went a step further in the same interview and entertained that all his movies take place within a collective "Sandlerverse," which might one day lead to an epic crossover among the various characters Sandler has played over the years. So fingers crossed for the day we might get to see Hubie and Bobby save the day together.

The Phantom Menace helped The Waterboy

The biggest movie news around the time of the release of "The Waterboy" was that "Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace" was going to be released soon after. Fans were agog to see the next part in George Lucas' iconic sci-fi series. The original "Star Wars" trilogy had ended, and CGI had advanced far enough to expand the world of the franchise in a compelling manner. Thus "The Phantom Menace" was primed to generate a large amount of hype as the starting point for a new "Star Wars" trilogy. This actually ended up helping "The Waterboy."

According to a report by The New York Times from that era, the fact that "The Phantom Menace" trailer was attached to "The Waterboy" and a few other lesser-known movies meant that "Star Wars" fans would buy tickets for the smaller movies purely so they could watch the two-minute trailer at the start of the show and leave. This helped bump up the ticket sales for "The Waterboy" and gave it longer legs at the box office. 

You can do it! was always going to be big

In many ways, "The Waterboy" laid the groundwork for the way Adam Sandler would make his movies for the rest of his career. A feel-good story, a likable lead, and a bunch of comedians who all happen to be close friends with Sandler in real life. One such comedian was Rob Schneider, who knew Sandler from their days on "SNL" together, Schneider said in an interview with  Us Weekly .

One of the highlights of "The Waterboy" was Schneider's supporting role as the Townie, who delivers the famous line, "You can do it!" The line became an internet meme before internet memes were a thing. It became a running gag to have Schneider say the line in other Sandler movies, and Sandler returned the favor when he guest-starred in Schneider's movie "The Animal." The fact that the line would be such a hit was already known to Sandler before "The Waterboy" ever released.

"[Adam] called me two weeks before the movie came out," Schneider said. "[He said,] 'In two weeks, 'The Waterboy' is going to come out and you're not going to be able to go anywhere without hearing, 'You can do it!'"

Henry Winkler randomly landed his role

As perfect as Henry Winkler was in the role of the hapless Coach Klein in "The Waterboy," that bit of casting was highly unusual at the time. Back then, Winkler was still known as the epitome of cool.  Arthur "The Fonz" Fonzarelli from the classic TV show "Happy Days" was the last guy you could imagine playing Coach Klein.

After "Happy Days" ended, Winkler found himself cursed with the same problem of typecasting that applied to most actors known for a highly specific breakout television character. Despite being a character actor at heart, Winkler found few opportunities to showcase his range until "The Waterboy" came along.

While Adam Sandler was on "SNL," he sang "The Chanukah Song," which name-dropped Winkler. The actor called Sandler to thank him for the shout-out, and the two ended up becoming friends. That in turn led to Sandler casting Winkler as Coach Klein in a role that was the polar opposite of how the actor was perceived at the time. Thanks to the success of "The Waterboy," Winkler received a fresh boost to his career that allowed him to finally put "The Fonz" behind him and establish a new reputation as a character actor.

A very different original plot

What makes "The Waterboy" work for both football fans and non-football fans is that the movie is not really about the sport itself. Rather, "The Waterboy" is a heartfelt satire of small-town life where the pride of the residents becomes intricately linked with their home team and small-town folks dream of doing something bigger with their life.

While the character of Bobby Boucher was already decided upon as a continuation of Canteen Boy from "SNL," the backdrop for the character's story almost had a completely different New England setting. That was an idea that was explored early on by the film's writer, Tim Herlihy. "At one point, we talked about doing it in black and white and set in the '50s," Herlihy told SB Nation . He added that if they had pursued that idea, "It would've been a very different movie," while also admitting he did not know enough about the New England college football scene to make the premise work. In the end, the team behind "The Waterboy" decided to place the story in Louisiana after a Mardi Gras trip they took inspired them to make a satire of what audiences think people in the South sound and act like.

The giant-sized cameo

Before finding his calling as a linebacker, Bobby Boucher leads an incredibly repressed life. He finds a passive outlet for his aggression by avidly following professional wrestling. Bobby's favorite wrestler is a giant man called "Captain Insano," whom Bobby dreams of working for as a water boy.

Wrestling fans will notice that the role of Captain Insano is played by Paul Wight, better known in wrestling circles as "The Big Show." The 7-foot giant has long been a star in the world of professional wrestling and made several forays into movies. Despite his brief screen time, Captain Insano proved a big hit with audiences, so much so that Wight claims he has bought the rights to the character from the studio that owns "The Waterboy." The wrestler intends to bring the fictional wrestler into the real world as a fresh new in-ring persona for AEW (All Elite Wrestling). The biggest difference according to Wight will be that the new version of Insano will not be rocking his luxurious locks from the movie.

Ariana Grande once played Bobby Boucher

2020 was a tough year for everyone everywhere. The pandemic was raging, and all you could do was hunker down within your home and try to keep your mind off the bad stuff by rewatching old shows and movies. Many classics received a boost in popularity during that time period, including "The Waterboy," thanks to Ariana Grande.

The famous pop star took to social media to post a clip of herself  embracing her inner Adam Sandler  acting as Bobby Boucher in a scene from the movie. Grande went the extra mile by dressing up like Bobby and wearing appropriate makeup to present the appearance of a black eye. The role of Bobby's mom was played by Grande's own mother. Finally, the pop sensation's former castmate Elizabeth Gillies played Bobby's love interest, Vicki Vallencourt.

The clip rapidly went viral on various social media outlets. Grande's attention to detail while portraying Bobby's awkward mannerisms received particular praise. The trending clip caught Sandler's attention, and the actor gave his blessings to Grande's efforts by tweeting, "Bobby Boucher approves of this message."

The real Bobby Boucher?

Even though Bobby Boucher was based on a previous character, "Canteen Boy," playing the role of a star linebacker was a novel experience for Adam Sandler. The actor knew that he had to take care not just of his acting, but also the physical aspects of playing Bobby and looking like he actually belonged on the football field with other players. To that end, Sandler prepared for his role by watching real-life linebackers go about their work during football games. One player whom the actor paid special attention to was former All-Pro NFL linebacker LaVar Arrington. In fact, Arrington even goes so far as to declare himself the real-life Bobby Boucher who directly inspired Sandler's take on the iconic character. "A lot of people don't realize that I'm the 'Waterboy,'" Arrington told Fox Sports Radio . 

"[Sandler is] a big Penn State fan," he continued, "and came to Penn State to watch the linebackers of 'Linebacker U,' and more specifically, LaVar Arrington." The former pro linebacker also pointed out that the "Number 9" shirt Bobby wears in the movie is Arrington's high school number and that Sandler's movements on the football field closely resemble Arrington's "reckless abandon" from his college playing days.

Henry Winkler still has part of his movie tattoo

At one point in "The Waterboy," Coach Klein arrives at Bobby's house to offer him a football scholarship for college. While Bobby is thrilled, his mother nixes the idea with great firmness. Cowed by his mother, Bobby regretfully says no to Klein. Before leaving, Klein reveals the "Roy Orbison" tattoo on his butt that he got without his mother's permission as a way to encourage Bobby to continue playing college football in secret. 

The tattoo is one of the most unexpected moments in the movie, and you are never quite sure whether that was really Henry Winkler with the giant tattoo on his posterior or a body double. As it turns out, not only did Winkler get the tattoo for the movie, but he still has part of it on his body as a way to honor his character in "The Waterboy."

Winkler told WGN-TV (via Outsider) that he "had [the tattoo] removed by laser" before going on to reveal that he kept the "Roy Orbison's glasses" part of the tattoo. A strange but rather sweet way to commemorate the strange but sweet movie that turned Winkler's career around.

The film had a highly mixed reaction

Adam Sandler might just be one of the most controversial stars in the history of Hollywood. Not because of his personal life, but because of how deeply his movies appear to divide critics and general audiences. Influential reviewers frequently lambast Sandler's comedy movies as simplistic, formulaic, and cheap, but that doesn't stop audiences from turning out to see them in droves.

This deepening schism started appearing right from the time of "The Waterboy." The film became Sandler's first bonafide blockbuster, grossing more than $100 million at the international box office. The movie was also torn apart by critics . Sandler was nominated for the Golden Raspberry  award for worst actor, but ironically he  also won the Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Actor — Comedy for the same movie.

"It's never been my drive, and it's never been Sandler's drive [to please critics]," "The Waterboy" director Frank Coraci told SB Nation with regards to the movie's mixed reception. "We just really wanna make movies that we believe in, that are funny, that make you feel some good things and have a positive message and that are entertaining." Beyond critics reviews and box office numbers, the biggest testament to the success of "The Waterboy" in the long run is the fact that the movie is still so fondly remembered decades after its initial release.

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the water boy movie review

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The Waterboy

  • Comedy , Sports

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the water boy movie review

In Theaters

  • Adam Sandler, Kathy Bates, Henry Winkler, Fairuza Balk, Jerry Reed

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  • Frank Coraci


  • Touchstone Pictures

Movie Review

Gunga Din he’s not . In The Waterboy , Adam Sandler plays a dim-witted, Cajun mama’s-boy dedicated to serving college football players “quality H2O.” He’s a human tackling dummy. Then, after years of public humiliation, Bobby Boucher becomes a hero by releasing that pent-up hostility on opposing ball carriers and turning his team into a winner.

Critics panned Waterboy , but teens flocked to see Sandler’s crude antics, making the movie a $160 million theatrical hit. Now on video, this comedy’s profane language, sexual innuendo, and mockery of virginity and Christian faith are overshadowed only by its twisted path to vindication. While it’s easy to root for the pathetic aqua toter to overcome his social handicaps and earn respect, what message is Sandler sending young fans by having his character achieve success by going ballistic and leveling people who’ve wronged him—including an old man? Brutal.

Adam Sandler has developed a huge following based on some very mean-spirited, vulgar, sexually explicit material. R-rated films. Salacious comedy albums. While The Waterboy doesn’t quite compare to his worst offenses, this watered-down version of Sandler’s shtick relies on entirely too much crass, kinky humor for discerning families.

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Why is The Waterboy rated PG-13? The MPAA rated The Waterboy PG-13

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The guide to our grades, parent movie review by rod gustafson.

Saying this is the best Adam Sandler movie I’ve ever seen reminds me of the time my mother baked our weekly liver dinner instead of pan-frying it. It was the best liver I ever had, and I’m happy to say I haven’t eaten liver again in almost thirty years…

Sandler plays Bobby Boucher, a 31 year old simpleton from Louisiana who has an obsession for water after being told from childhood that his “daddy” perished in the Sahara. Working as a waterboy, Boucher strives to give the state football team the best water he can. Instead the team sees his childish personality and water purification equipment as a sideline target for their ridicule, which leads to Boucher being fired for distracting the players.

Co-written by Sandler, this script offers few realistic examples for teens who are mocked and trying to regain self esteem. Certainly if most of us tackled a football thug we’d have good reason to consider health insurance. More amazing yet, he gets 97% on his high school equivalency test, even though he’s never gone to school (his momma kept him home).

The movie does include a handful of positive elements, like when Boucher turns down advances from Vicki (Fairuza Balk), a girl who will try anything to get his attention—even removing her shirt (we only see Boucher’s reaction). Also, Boucher is eventually accepted by the community and his mother as he asserts his independence and furthers his education.

But no matter how you cook it, this movie is peppered with profanities and sexual innuendo, and is still a tough choice to recommend to your teens

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Why is The Waterboy rated PG-13? The Waterboy is rated PG-13 by the MPAA

Page last updated February 13, 2012

The Waterboy Review

06 Nov 1998

The Waterboy

How you feel about The WaterBoy is going to depend largely on your opinion of Adam Sandler. Indeed, those whose experience of the man begins and ends with the crowd-pleasing commerciality of The Wedding Singer may well be a little perturbed by his latest, as it marks a return to the brand of acquired taste Sandler humour which delights and annoys in equal measures (but has nonetheless catapulted him into the $20 million-a-picture brigade). Folks familiar with the likes of Happy Gilmore and Billy Madison will know exactly what to expect.

Sandler (talking in a voice that makes him sound like a deranged cousin of Donald Duck) is Bobby Boucher, a mollycoddled, virginal 31-year-old whose experience of life outside of his remote Louisiana bayou home has been restricted by his overbearing mom (Bates). His only escape is his long time job dispensing "fine quality H20" to a local football team, something he prides himself on despite being constantly tormented by both coach and players. When he is fired, he takes up the same job at a collegiate team on a major losing streak.

There, his previously untapped tackling skills (which involve mowing down players four times his size) are discovered by Coach Klein (Winkler) and he is promoted to the squad. And he might just enjoy all the attention - particularly from jailbird Vicki Vallencourt (Balk) - provided his mum doesn't find out he's actually playing.

The WaterBoy netted over $160 million in the US, and it's hard to fathom whether it's the appeal of Sandler (who still displays a certain degree of charm despite the irritating vocal tics), the appeal of American football, or the current cinematic fascination with dumb comedy. For its almost total absence of anything resembling a substantial plot, The WaterBoy performs generously in all the above departments, and coughs up far more decent jokes than you'd expect, by far the best involving another team's attempt to field a rival WaterBoy. And at just 90 minutes long, it doesn't run long enough to outstay its welcome.

It's a slight film, though, and despite Bates' frantically OTT mugging and Winkler's thoroughly likeable turn, the promisingly edgy comedy of the first act soon gives way to reams of pop video choreographed football footage, and a final reel which falls total victim to pat-happy Hollywood conformity. All of which makes for perfectly watchable, undemanding fun, but you can't help thinking that a slightly darker tone would have gone a very long way.

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The Waterboy

By Peter Travers

Peter Travers

Have you noticed that you take less heat these days for saying you like Adam Sandler? The Wedding Singer , in which the former SNL comic teamed romantically with Drew Barrymore, was a crossover hit earlier this year. Even those who dis Sandler as a jerk kind of warmed to it. The rest of us, hooked on the jerk joys of Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore , spark more when Sandler tries less to win a wider audience and simply, crassly, rudely runs amok.

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Which brings us to The Waterboy , a Sandler vehicle that offers dumb fun without apology. Sandler plays Bobby Boucher, an unschooled, unscrewed Louisiana mama’s boy who ladles out “quality H2O” to a college football team that kicks his ass and spits in his cooler. When Coach Klein (a very welcome Henry Winkler) discovers that a demon pops out in sweet Bobby any time some fool insults his mama (Oscar winner Kathy Bates is a hoot), the Waterboy becomes the team’s star tackler and a target for de-virginizing by Vicki Vallencourt, played with droll, red-lipped sluttiness by Fairuza Balk.

Sandler and his college buds – director Frank Coraci, co-writer Tim Herlihy, co-producer Jack Giarraputo – may have been to the well once too often with the story of an endearing, maternally obsessed simpleton who finds success and sex through anger. But Sandler makes the laughs go down easy, even if The Waterboy isn’t exactly quality H2O.

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The Waterboy Reviews

the water boy movie review

This juvenile, unnecessary, and utterly pathetic madness can barely be considered a comedy; the jokes are so immature and flat that it more closely resembles a tragedy.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/10 | Sep 25, 2020

the water boy movie review

A witless and utterly predictable comic fantasy about a misfit turned hero.

Full Review | Jun 18, 2012

the water boy movie review

Really dumb, but many teens love it anyway.

Full Review | Original Score: 1/5 | Dec 29, 2010

the water boy movie review

An agreeable yet forgettable comedy...

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4 | Jul 10, 2010

the water boy movie review

There's an innocence to The Waterboy that makes the picture part slapstick and part fairy tale...The only problem with letting kids see this Adam Sandler movie? They might want to see another one. [Blu-ray]

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4 | Aug 12, 2009

the water boy movie review

A predictable, formulaic, dumb comedy that has about as much depth as Bobby . . . unless you think of it in Forrest Gump terms, and then it begins to get a little less offensive and a little funnier.

Full Review | Original Score: 5/10 | Jul 24, 2009

the water boy movie review

Though unabashedly goofy, this comedy also boasts some subtly ingenious moments of mirth.

Full Review | Oct 18, 2008

the water boy movie review

The formulaic mix of mirth and mayhem is aimed way down the MTV food chain...

Full Review | Jun 2, 2008

the water boy movie review

Scrappy and funny and achieves its modest aim, which is to make us laugh like grade-schoolers. The doofus boy triumphs again.

Full Review | Original Score: B | Jul 23, 2007

No stretching involved, but he delivers. It's a safe date film.

Full Review | Original Score: 1/5 | Dec 6, 2005

the water boy movie review

The film is amiably goofy.

Full Review | Jul 21, 2005

the water boy movie review

It's a piece of comic fluff that has lots of laughs and appeals to the kid in us all.

Full Review | Original Score: B | Apr 9, 2005

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5 | Apr 2, 2005

The Waterboy is a disappointment, even by standards associated with Adam Sandler's work.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/10 | Feb 28, 2005

the water boy movie review

Adam Sandler movies are like kumquats -- you either like them or you don't.

Full Review | Original Score: C+ | Jan 29, 2005

God knows, it tries, but most of the jokes fall flat, and the movie never gets off the ground.

Full Review | Original Score: D | May 22, 2003

The Waterboy should have been sacked long before it reached the theater.

Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4 | May 20, 2003

Sandler proved last year that he can be believable as a real person, but if he insists on playing overblown caricatures, he may not get many more chances.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5 | Feb 8, 2003

the water boy movie review

Not only can one see the film's "twists" coming a mile away, the jokes along the way are extraordinarily flat as well.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/5 | Nov 7, 2002

As a satire on the only true religion of the American South -- football -- The Waterboy is delightful.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4 | Jul 12, 2002

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Please Note: Reader Reviews are submitted by the readers of The BigScreen Cinema Guide and represent their own personal opinions regarding this movie, and do not represent the views of The BigScreen Cinema Guide, or any of its associated entities.

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the water boy movie review

Film Review – The Waterboy (1998)

The Waterboy

By now you know that I end every article by asking, “what movie topic should I discuss next?”  Then, I exclaim, “whether it be old or new, the choice is up to you!”  However, it dawns on me that I haven’t been living up to this statement.  So, from now on, every Tuesday a reader requested review will be posted.  If you want a certain filmed reviewed, be sure to comment down below or reach out on Twitter!  Today’s review is The Waterboy and comes from @MadAsAHatter9 .

Before Adam Sandler went off the deep end, he made some pretty ridiculous comedies.  The following review will be spoiler free.

The Waterboy  is directed by Frank Coraci and stars Adam Sandler, Kathy Bates , and Henry Winkler.

We follow a 31-year-old named Bobby Boucher (Sandler) that lives in a local backcountry swamp in Louisiana.  As the title suggests, Boucher is a waterboy for a local college football team.  But when his anger causes him to lose his job, he picks up another gig at a consistent losing college in Louisiana where he quickly learns that he is capable of becoming a dominant football player when he utilizes his rage.  In order to turn the fortunes of the team around, Coach Klein (Winkler) gets Boucher on the team with aspirations of returning to glory as a coach.

the waterboy

image via Examining Life

Suprisingly,  The Waterboy  had an Oscar-friendly release date of November 3rd, 1998.  While the film isn’t exactly Oscar material, it was actually nominated for AFI’s list of 100 Years…100 Laughs which notes the funniest films of all-time.  However, Adam Sandler was also nominated for a Razzie Award for worst actor.

Luckily, it appears that  The Waterboy  was a massive hit with fans, becoming Adam Sandler’s second film to eclipse $120 million worldwide by grossing a total of approximately $186 million .  Considering the film had a mere $23 million budget,  The Waterboy  was a bonafide hit.

Most turn to this film along with others as the height of Adam Sandler’s powers as an actor before he began to phone it in by many people’s standards.  Although he continues to make films on Netflix such as April’s Sandy Wexler , many agree he just isn’t quite the same.

the waterboy

image via VICE Sports

What I Liked

The Waterboy  is stupid, and I mean that in the best way possible.

Straddling the line between stupid humor and annoyance is an incredibly tough feat to pull off.  In fact,  The Waterboy  is most certainly very annoying to a lot of people.  However, the difference between  The Waterboy  and other stupid films is that it has a fun concept in which it then lampoons on a consistent basis.  Having the waterboy take the team to prominence is a fun switcheroo of typical sports movie cliches.

Lesser sports comedies like  Rebound   or the remake of  Bad News Bears always look to add inticing, skilled players that look the part and fit into the band of misfits on the team.  The fun part of  The Waterboy is that it adds the dumbest character of them all to the formula and the team somehow improves.  Although the film becomes more generic after this initial idea (more on that below), it’s a nice little quirk that allows Sandler to go bonkers.

the waterboy

image via Orlando Weekly

Sandler’s performance is where most viewers draw the line.  You’ll either hate the film because of him or love it for the same reason.   His awkward, grating Southern drawls are the source of a lot of dumb laughs if you’re in the right frame of mind.  On the other hand, you might check out within the first five minutes if you can’t handle it.  As for this critic, it works solidly for this absurd movie.

What I Liked…Continued

From its absurdity comes a ton of quotable moments.  If you’re in college, you’d be hard-pressed to get through a month without someone channeling their inner Bobby Boucher.  Although it doesn’t necessarily highlight the film as a piece of art, there’s something to be said about a film that creates some type of cultural significance after its release.  It speaks to watching  The Waterboy  for its pure entertainment value.

Many of the film industry’s best critics have lambasted  The Waterboy  for its quality, including Roger Ebert back in the day .  But, if you’re looking for even the slightest bit of meaning in this film, then you’re searching in the wrong place.  There is nothing here for a classic cinephile.

Lighten up, it’s just stupid fun.

the waterboy

image via YTS

What I Didn’t Like

That being said, even from the most casual viewing perspective, there are some glaring issues with  The Waterboy .

Like most sports movies,  The Waterboy follows the most generic of storylines as we see an awful team slowly begin to improve with everything culminating in the big game against the main rival (and villain) of the movie.  Sound familiar?  That’s because just about every sports movie does it.  After  Rocky , rarely do we get a movie that doesn’t follow an underdog coming to prominence.

Sports movies are consistently at a disadvantage, mostly because the ending can only be one of two results: the team wins or loses.  With these conclusions in mind, it forces the journey of the characters to be wholly rewarding in whatever tone the movie set out to accomplish.   The Waterboy  receives serious demerits for this reason.  There are way too many dips in entertainment value to fully recommend this film to everyone.

the waterboy

The film tries to prop up Boucher’s character with relationship moments between his mother and possible girlfriend that detracts from the best parts of the film: the football games.  Are there some occasional funny moments in these instances?  Sure, but the film takes a serious dip in entertainment value when it occasionally tries to become serious in relationship drama that was never intriguing in the first place.  You watch  The Waterboy  for a few reasons: wacky hi-jinks, football, and celebrity cameos.  That’s it!

The Waterboy  is really, really dumb.  When combined with a generic plot, these points would normally kill a movie.  However, this film is unbelievably silly which helps make up for a lot of issues.  It gets a C+ .

If you haven’t seen this movie, I’d advise checking it out on Netflix as soon as possible.  We don’t get too many screwball comedies that work anymore.   The Waterboy  is a nice reminder that Adam Sandler once cared about his films.  I can’t for the life of me give it a great grade, but it’s certainly a guilty pleasure that is worth your time.


Thanks for reading!  What are your thoughts on The Waterboy?  Do you want a specific movie reviewed?  Comment down below!

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to MovieBabble via email to stay up to date on the latest content.

And, as always, what movie topic should I discuss next?  Whether it be old or new, the choice is up to you!

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A current young professional in the Richmond, Virginia area, Nick founded MovieBabble in October of 2016 when he was a bored college student with nothing else to do. (And he kicks himself every day that his story isn't better.) Nick is also a member of the Online Film Critics Society, the Internet Film Critics Society and the Washington, D.C. Area Film Critics Association. You can follow him on Twitter @nkush42

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I miss the Adam Sandler of the early 90s (was it 80s maybe?) where he made those stupid audio skits and whatnot. His films have never approached the level of creativity and humor of some of his better skits.

Very true! Maybe he should try to go a little dramatic, he’s been good in those types of roles in the past.

Listening to his The Goat now for nostalgia. Hilarious stuff

Lol you got that right! That looney style doesn’t seem to fit with today’s audiences anymore. It’s a shame…

' src=

I loved Kathy Bates in this movie.


' src=

Nothing wrong with a little silliness, now and again. Sometimes it’s just what’s needed! (I’ll take silly over pretentious any day of the week.)

You’re totally right! Something could be completely absurd and nonsensical but if you’re having fun then screw it! Lol

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Water sucks, it really really sucks!

' src=

Great post! I also love Sandler when he’s “good stupid” (“Billy Madison,” “Happy Gilmore”), not just “stupid stupid” (the “Grown Ups” movies).

Completely with you there! I just wish he would find that creative touch again…

Me too! Remember when the Happy Madison banner was a sign of quality comedy? Sigh.

Sigh, indeed

' src=

Nice review. Even I agree that back in the ’90s, Adam Sandler was (at the very least) tolerable in his films and this is one that’s just not meant for hardcore film critics. Anyway, I’ve got a request for you. He’s celebrating his 30th Birthday this year, so how about you take a stab at all four RoboCop film, or at least the first one?

You got it! Those will be fun!

“Thank you for your cooperation”.

' src=

I find Adam Sandler movies, like you said, straddle that line between stupid and annoying. I had to watch this a few times before I really ‘got it’.

A lot of his films are pretty irredeemable but this one is good fun if you don’t take it so seriously!

' src=

I’m not fond of Adam Sandler but someone told me last year that I would enjoy it and your review has confirmed that so thank you!

Glad I could help!!

' src=

Hi Nick, I remember Waterboy as one of the few comedies I haven’t been able to see to the end. I first tried to see it on a bus in Mexico and ended up thinking about something else in the dark airconned bus.

Your posts tend to treat the glossy and very Hollywood, I think, and there’s a lot more to movies (not to offend you, just saying). Since you ask for suggestions, I have some.

Kristin Scott-Thomas, have a look at the movies she’s been in. Tell us what you think of Cate Blanchett . (You had a list of greatest female actors that I didn’t understand).

I don’t appreciate your critique since a lot of thought goes into them but I’ll look into your recommendation regarding KST.

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The Waterboy review

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Adam Sandler is, like certain vegetables and sexual practices, an acquired taste. However, if proof were needed that America has most definitely clutched this winsome clown to her capacious bosom, then The Waterboy is it. A slight sports comedy that could easily have headed straight for the bottom video shelf instead made straight for the top of the theatrical pile, where it raked in $150 million. That's one-five-zero million.

So where did it all go right? Well, for starters, Sandler and long-time conspirator Herlihy have been here before: this is the team that brought you The Wedding Singer and Happy Gilmore, no less. Not that Bobby is a sharp, street kid like Happy, but the writers who appreciated what comedy violence could bring to the genteel world of golf are well equipped to give American football plenty of slap and loads of stick.

Bobby's hidden talent for havoc is The Waterboy's trump card; quite simply, each time he puts in a thumping tackle (accompanied by stomach-churning sound effects) is a moment of pure comedy gold. And just when the story is flagging... BOOM! There goes another one.

As far as plot goes, director Coraci may have a lot of fun with the Louisiana setting (The Waterboy's slender charm would not have survived a transfer to California) but no amount of backwoods jokes can disguise that we've been here plenty of times before. Indeed, the ending is so predictable that any bookie worth his salt would immediately know the fix he was in. (How many sequels to The Mighty Ducks do we really need?) Despite such old pros as Kathy Bates and Henry Winkler hamming it up in support, and Fairuza Balk effortlessly engaging as the vampish Veronica, none of them see enough of the ball to make any real impact.

Which inevitably brings us back round to Sandler. Sadly, our Ad seems unwilling to go what Burt Reynolds once called "the longest yard". He may invest Bobby with an annoying accent (think Cajun Rain Man) but strangely Sandler seems anxious to make Boucher more likable that laughable. It's a fair bet that an actor like Jim Carrey would have pushed Bobby to the extreme: real humiliation in the quest for laughs. And the irony is, whenever The Waterboy is silly it's pretty darn lovable, but as soon as it tries to be lovable it ends up looking... well, silly.

But then Bobby - ouch! - goes and breaks some more bones and - blam! - you find yourself laughing so hard that - booyah! - you figure you might just watch this one joke forever.

The Waterboy could've been a riot if Jim Carrey was on the ball, or the Farrelly brothers were calling the plays. As it is, Sandler's charm offensive, matched with a bruising defence, has just enough mayhem to keep you cheering for the home team.

The Total Film team are made up of the finest minds in all of film journalism. They are: Editor Jane Crowther, Deputy Editor Matt Maytum, Reviews Ed Matthew Leyland, News Editor Jordan Farley, and Online Editor Emily Murray. Expect exclusive news, reviews, features, and more from the team behind the smarter movie magazine. 

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The age of adaline – movie review, m.s. dhoni: the untold story review – the “untold” remains untold in this supposedly biopic, pink movie review.


Reviewed By: Absar Ahmad

The Waterboy (1998) is a classic American comedy film directed by Frank Coraci and starring the iconic Adam Sandler. The film tells the story of Bobby Boucher ( Adam Sandler ), a 31-year-old man with a waterboy job for a college football team. Despite being a dimwit, Bobby has a unique talent for tackling people. When the team’s coach is fired and replaced by the sadistic Coach Klein (Henry Winkler), Bobby is discovered to have a natural talent for football. Coach Klein transforms a nobody into a star player, and the team goes on to win the championship. This is a heartwarming and hilarious piece of cinema that celebrates the underdog. It is also a film about family, friendship, and the power of perseverance.

Henry Winkler as the coach of Adam Sandler is very impressive

The Waterboy is a classic comedy film that has stood the test of time. In fact, it is one of those movies that have garnered a cult following after many years of release.

The film’s plot is relatively simple, but it is executed very well. Bobby Boucher is a lovable and relatable character, and his journey from waterboy to star player is genuinely inspiring. The film also features some other memorable characters, such as Coach Klein (Henry Winkler), Bobby’s mother (Kathy Bates), and his best friend, Vic (Jerry Reed).

Adam Sandler has played the role to perfection and is ably supported by talented actors. The movie is full of memorable one-liners and quotable scenes. However, The Waterboy is more than just a comedy film. It is also a film about family, friendship, and the power of perseverance. Bobby Boucher is a character who has faced a lot of adversity and neglect in his life, but he never gives up on his dreams. He inspires everyone looking to get their chance to shine in life.

My most memorable scenes from The Waterboy are:

The Waterboy Tackle : In this iconic scene, our main protagonist tackles the opposing team’s quarterback with such force that he sends him flying through the air. The tackle is so powerful that it actually creates a sonic boom. Hilariously Adam Sandler!

The Gatorade Bath : After the team wins the championship game, his teammates give Bobby Boucher a Gatorade bath. He is so happy and excited that he starts dancing in the Gatorade. The scene is both funny and heartwarming, showing how much the team respects and loves their newfound star.

The Speech : After the championship final game, Bobby Boucher gives a speech to his teammates and fans. He thanks his teammates for believing in him and helping him achieve his dreams. He also thanks his mother for her love and support. The speech is emotional, inspiring, and touching.

Kathy Bates plays the cute mama of Bobby Boucher

My thoughts on the movie

After its release, the movie was literally thrashed by the critics everywhere. However, it ranked as the number 1 movie in the US box office during its first week. The Waterboy surpassed Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls in its first weekend. This is no mean feat, given the presence of legendary Jim Carrey in the latter. As of 2023, the film is one of the highest-grossing movies in the sports comedy genre across the world. Made on a budget of USD 20 million, the film amassed USD 190 million worldwide , making it a highly profitable venture for the makers.

The Waterboy is a typical Adam Sandler classic American comedy film that will please audiences of all ages. It is a film that is both funny and heartwarming, and it features an outstanding performance by Adam Sandler. If you have never watched it, I recommend checking it out now!

The Waterboy movie is available on Disney+Hotstar OTT and Amazon Prime for rent !

The World of Movies Rating: 10/10

Note : “The images used in this article are screenshots taken from YouTube and have been converted into images for the purpose of this article only. The World of Movies acknowledges that it does not hold any proprietary rights over the images and that their use is solely for the purpose of this article.”

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The language is unnecessary with 1 "f" word used by a hick who screams for Boucher's girlfriend to kill someone who is threatening Boucher. There are many uses of the "a" word, and characters are constantly making fun of Bobby.

The sexual innuendo is mild but it exists. A couple references are made to homo & bisexuality. None which really come out and support it, but it's used in a comedic style. Themes can be questioned throughout the film. Bobby's mother is hinted at being a crazy Christian calling everything "the devil," while Bobby's girlfriend, Vicki, is an criminal & astrologer, who comes across as being a sort of "hero" for Bobby. Again, this may be a theme you'll have to interpret for yourself.

Overall, the movie is pretty good, however, due to the sexual innuendo and it's overall stupidity despite it's times of being hilarious, I'm forced to only grant this film somewhere around 2 and a half stars.

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The Waterboy

The Waterboy

  • A waterboy for a college football team discovers he has a unique tackling ability and becomes a member of the team.
  • Bobby Boucher is the lowly waterboy for a college football team, until the coach discovers his amazing talent for tackling people much bigger than him. He signs the Waterboy as the new star player, but Bobby must keep it secret from his overbearing and domineering mother. — Travis Kennedy
  • Bobby Boucher is 31, lives at home with his mother and is the waterboy for the University of Louisiana Cougars. One day he is fired and ends up being the waterboy for a down-and-out college team, the South Central Louisiana State University Mud Dogs. During an incident in training, Bobby demonstrates himself to be a ferocious tackler, and he is picked for the team's defense. Thanks to him, the Mud Dogs' fortunes soar. However, his mother doesn't approve of him playing football. — grantss
  • 31-year-old waterboy Bobby Boucher is constantly tormented by the team he works for until he is fired by the coach. He then finds a new coach to work for. Here he finds a new talent, tackling people by pretending they're making fun of him. Soon, he becomes the best linebacker in college football, but he must keep it secret from his overprotective mother.
  • Bobby Boucher (Adam Sandler) is a 31-year-old, socially inept, stuttering, simpleton water boy living in Louisiana who rides a lawn mower to and from work, and has hidden anger issues due to constant teasing and excessive sheltering by his overbearing and domineering mother, Helen (Kathy Bates). He became the water boy for the (fictional) University of Louisiana Cougars after being told his father died of dehydration in the Sahara while serving in the Peace Corps. However, the players always torment him and the team's head coach, Red Beaulieu (Jerry Reed), eventually fires him for "disrupting" his practices. Bobby then approaches Coach Klein (Henry Winkler) of the South Central Louisiana State University Mud Dogs and asks to work as the team's waterboy. Coach Klein has been coach of SCLSU for years without success, after his brilliant playbook was stolen by Red Beaulieu. Bobby's mother, Helen, (determined to keep him on a tight leash) tells Bobby of the evils of football and forbids him to play. Coach Klein shows Bobby his tattoo of Roy Orbison encouraging him to clandestinely go against his mothers' wishes. After being picked on again by his new team, Coach Klein encourages Bobby to strike back, which leads to him knocking out the team's quarterback. Coach Klein convinces Bobby to enroll as a student at SCLSU and play for the team, which he agrees to do as long as nobody tells his mother. Bobby quickly becomes one of the most feared linebackers in college football, hitting opposing players with injury causing force. The Mud Dogs manage a winning streak and earn a trip to the annual Bourbon Bowl to face the Cougars and Coach Beaulieu. Bobby's newfound fame also allows him to rekindle a relationship with his childhood friend and high school crush Vicki Vallencourt (Fairuza Balk), a local Goth Girl mechanic and "football groupie" who has been in prison multiple times. However, after Bobby invites Vicki to his trailer where he introduces her to his mother at a cookout, Helen forbids Bobby from seeing her again. Coach Beaulieu reveals that Bobby never finished high school, making him ineligible for college and football. However, Bobby manages to pass his GED exam, despite his mother's objections about him going back to college. She then fakes falling ill to keep Bobby from playing, but eventually relents after witnessing the town residents' support for Bobby. The next day, Helen tells Bobby the truth what really happened to his father and why she was faking her illness. Helen explains that Bobby's father changed his name to Roberto and left Helen for a voodoo priestess, while she was pregnant. This damaged Helen so bad that it led her to execessively sheltering Bobby all his life from the outside world. She was afraid Bobby was going to leave her too when he became old enough and tried to keep him all to herself by hiding him from everyone else who depended on him. Helen realises the best thing for her to do is let him go since he's made a lot of wonderful friends and encourages him to play in the Bourbon Bowl. Arriving at halftime of the Bourbon Bowl with Helen and Vicki, Bobby manages to encourage the losing Mud Dogs to make a comeback. The team admits that he has become their heart and soul of the Mud Dogs. Seeing the overwhelming support at the Bourbon Bowl, Helen changes her mind about football being for the devil. With Bobby's help, Coach Klein overcomes his fear of Red Beaulieu by imagining him as something he's not afraid of(i.e. a baby and a cocker spaniel). This helps Klein create spectacular new plays that allow the Mud Dogs to catch up. Helen helps the cheerleaders out by making coffee and it helps keep their energy up as they cheer their fans on to rally, while Vicki is seen giving out water to the Mud Dogs. During the final play, Bobby throws a touchdown pass and the Mud Dogs win the Bourbon Bowl. Bobby is named the MVP of the game. Sometime later, Bobby and Vicki get married and are heading to the riding lawn mower. Although Helen still has some reservation on Vicki, she admits he's got a fine woman who'll take care of him. On their way out Bobby's father, Roberto, makes an unexpected appearance, telling him that he heard from ESPN that he may go to the NFL. Bobby tells him that he's not going to the NFL because he likes to stay in school and graduate. Roberto tries to convince Bobby to leave school and go to the NFL, hoping to personally profit as his father. However, an enraged Helen charges in and tackles him down causing cheers from the attendants. Bobby and Vicki leave to consumate their marriage.

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'Spaceman' sees Adam Sandler shine as a cosmonaut in crisis in Netflix's somber sci-fi film (review)

Netflix's voyage to the edge of our solar system is an extraordinary work of style and substance.

a bearded man's face can be seen through a spacesuit visor. he appears to be standing in a forest

In a stripped-down departure from his comedic roles in films like "Happy Gilmore," "Billy Madison" and "The Waterboy," Adam Sandler stars in " Spaceman ," Netflix's existential odyssey into the mysterious chambers of the human heart to deliver a touching examination of our universal need for companionship and connection.

Directed by Johan Renck and based on Jaroslav Kalfař's 2017 novel "Spaceman of Bohemia ," " Spaceman's " introspective screenplay was written by Colby Day ("In the Blink of an Eye"). 

After a U.S. theatrical release on Feb. 23, "Spaceman" lands on Netflix on Mar. 1, 2024 following the premiere at this week's 74th Berlin International Film Festival.  Anyone with the chance to see "Spaceman" in a large theater should catch a screening to experience the full scope of its breathtaking imagery and overall tone.

Related: Everything we know about 'Spaceman'

Here in this remarkably resonant piece of science fiction, Sandler portrays Jakob, a Czech cosmonaut who leaves behind a crumbling marriage six months into a solo mission to rendezvous with a mysterious cosmic cloud. As he nears his destination outside the orbit of Jupiter , the toll of extended space travel begins to affect his mental state. An arachnid alien creature, voice by Paul Dano, makes itself known as a strange stowaway that claims to want to aid Jakob in his apparent emotional distress.  

Renck is a talented cinephile who perfectly captured the historical horrors of nuclear catastrophe in the Emmy Award-winning miniseries, "Chernobyl." Here the Swedish filmmaker digs deep into his apparent affinity for old-school meditative sci-fi fare such as Andrei Tarkovsky's 1972 classic, "Solaris," Danny Boyle's "Sunshine" and even Darren Aronofsky's "The Fountain," to deliver a provocative Euro-style tone poem.

What follows is an evolving relationship whereby this ancient being, supposedly the last of its kind after fleeing an invaded homeworld, psychoanalyzes Sandler's wayward voyager adrift in self-doubt and despair over his untethered marriage.

It's a touching meditation on the nature of isolation, love and loneliness as it relates to astronauts and their natural bonds to Earth . The spidery guest acts as a sort of extraterrestrial Jiminy Cricket in the role of Jakob's bruised conscience and spiritual guide that could possibly be either a real-life alien bonding with a human, or simply a hallucinatory projection of his Jakob's fears, insecurities and mortality.

Shedding his standard comic demeanor that has attracted fans for most of his Hollywood career, Sandler turns in a decidedly somber yet enlightened portrait here as the lone cosmonaut, who is literally and figuratively lost as his spacecraft encroaches upon a cosmic miracle while his marriage deteriorates back home.

As the voice of the multi-eyed monster, Dano injects an extraordinary depth of feeling with his methodical HAL-9000-like delivery and their intimate interactions take on a trippy quality that permeates the odd relationship of self-reflection and discovery.

Surprisingly transcendent and utterly engaging, "Spaceman" sees Sandler eclipsing his best dramatic gigs to date in "Uncut Gems," "Hustle," and "Punch-Drunk Love."

Molding this metaphysical masterpiece into something even greater than its components is imaginative composer Max Richter's affecting ambient score that infuses the film with a melancholy mood and trance-like state similar to arcade video game themes of the '80s and '90s. Fans of the longtime public radio program "Hearts of Space" will be overjoyed by the electronic soundscape Richter contributes.

Sandler puts in the hard work hanging on harness wires to simulate microgravity to capture a troubled soul fearful of the disintegration of his wife's love who remains on Terra Firma carrying their unborn child at a remote sanctuary for single moms. 

Dano, best known for his electrifying preacher role in director Paul Thomas Anderson's "There Will Be Blood" and chilling portrayal of The Riddler in "The Batman," provides the eerie mellifluous voice for this benign being in a rare performance that cannot be understated. Dano brings a haunting compassion to the sentient arachnid beast that Jakob affectionately names Hanuš, after a Czech clockmaster incorrectly believed to have invented the Prague Astronomical Clock.

As the film cuts back and forth between the starship, ground control, and Jakob's pregnant wife, we learn of the cumulative pain his absences caused over the years.

Carey Mulligan ("Maestro," "Drive") is exceptional as Jakob's better half, Lenka, a disillusioned wife retreating into herself while struggling with the inevitability of their breakup. A recorded message for her far away husband announcing her intentions to leave him is held back by Isabella Rossellini's mission control character, Commissioner Tuma, due to Jakob's precarious emotional condition and the importance of his completing this deep space "Chopra Cloud" collection endeavor. 

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Jan Houllevigue ("David Bowie: Blackstar") and his distinguished production design team provide realistic details and authenticity to the spaceship's confining interiors that mirror the complex labyrinth of Jakob's mind. These striking sets are accented with user interface screens and technical readouts that offer an old-fashioned blend of both analog and digital technology that defy a timeline, all beautifully shot by ace cinematographer Jakob Ihre, who collaborated with Renck on HBO's "Chernobyl."

The finale's intermingling of luminous plumes of space dust and swirling stars inside the dreamy purple nebula envelop viewers as Jakob and Hanuš part in ways that allow each to fulfill their fates in a two-tissue farewell amid the far reaches of space.

Fortified with superb performances and a wondrous life affirming storyline, "Spaceman" earns a respected spot in the current resurrection of cerebral sci-fi. 

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Jeff Spry is an award-winning screenwriter and veteran freelance journalist covering TV, movies, video games, books, and comics. His work has appeared at SYFY Wire, Inverse, Collider, Bleeding Cool and elsewhere. Jeff lives in beautiful Bend, Oregon amid the ponderosa pines, classic muscle cars, a crypt of collector horror comics, and two loyal English Setters.

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Drugstore june, common sense media reviewers.

the water boy movie review

Gen-Z comedy gets more scoffs than smiles; pot, language.

Drugstore Movie Poster: A young White woman with a small braid on either side of her face is sticking out her tongue, which is covered in colorful sprinkles

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

The movie's stated message that "the simplest expl

While every character is a punch line, June's moth

Centers on a female character. Like co-writer/star

Robbery at gunpoint, presented as comical and over

Kisses. Brief conversations referencing sex, inclu

Very strong language throughout, including: "ass,"

Brands such as Ruffles and Twix are positively men

While June doesn't do drugs or drink (and makes co

Parents need to know that Drugstore June is an absurdist comedy starring and co-written by stand-up comedian Esther Povitsky. Director/co-writer Nicholaus Goosen is an Adam Sandler protegee, and that influence is felt here: June is an over-the-top, sketch-comedy character like those in Little Nicky …

Positive Messages

The movie's stated message that "the simplest explanation is usually the right one" doesn't make sense with the ending. And because the characters and story are silly, the deeper observation that life's challenges provide the impetus to grow isn't likely to be received. But older teens who recognize June's entitlement and self-absorbed traits might edge back their own similar behavior (even if only temporarily).

Positive Role Models

While every character is a punch line, June's mother looks out for and loves her daughter. And, June's boss seems like a decent guy. On the other hand, their gentle kindness and complacency allow June to walk all over them. June herself is entitled and self-absorbed.

Diverse Representations

Centers on a female character. Like co-writer/star Esther Povitsky, June is half Jewish, but the extent of her faith is mentioning it and referencing the many bar and bat mitzvahs she's attended. Main characters are predominantly White, but June's boss is played by Korean American actor Bobby Lee, and another small business owner is a Black woman. Police detectives are a Latino man and a White woman. A homophobic slur is used ("did you lez out in prison?").

Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.

Violence & Scariness

Robbery at gunpoint, presented as comical and over the top. A kidnapping victim is excited because her captor is cute; she coyly asks whether she's going to be sold into a sex trafficking ring. June stalks her ex-boyfriend, whom she has an unhealthy obsession with.

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.

Sex, Romance & Nudity

Kisses. Brief conversations referencing sex, including "losing virginity." Several references to sexually transmitted diseases. Suggestive jokes, including one about a "fleshlight."

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.

Very strong language throughout, including: "ass," "a--hole," "bitch," "bullsh--t," "crap," "goddamn," "hell," "nipple," "s--t," and repeated use of "f--k." Middle-finger gesture. Insults such as "dumbass," "incel," "loser," "stupid," "troll," "twerp." Homophobic slur ("did you lez out in prison?"). Exclamatory use of "Jesus," "oh my God," and "swear to God."

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.

Products & Purchases

Brands such as Ruffles and Twix are positively mentioned and/or shown with their labels out.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

While June doesn't do drugs or drink (and makes comments that those are undesirable behaviors), other characters do. A long scene takes place inside a cannabis dispensary, where the young owner smokes, blows rings, and talks nonstop about "weed." Other references to cannabis products, too. Criminals and others who engage in illegal activities drink beer. Young characters vape. Middle-aged character dips and spits chewing tobacco.

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Drugstore June is an absurdist comedy starring and co-written by stand-up comedian Esther Povitsky . Director/co-writer Nicholaus Goosen is an Adam Sandler protegee, and that influence is felt here: June is an over-the-top, sketch-comedy character like those in Little Nicky or The Waterboy . She's entitled, self-centered, and shies away from responsibility. It's established that she's over 21, and while she doesn't drink, smoke, or take drugs, characters she would define as "losers" do. Pivotal scenes are set at a bar and a marijuana dispensary, with the owner puffing and blowing smoke like it's an art. And there's plenty of vaping. While June is so ridiculous that it's unlikely anyone would want to emulate her, some of her excessive behavior is especially troubling -- for example, obsessively stalking her ex-boyfriend and crushing on a criminal who kidnaps her at gunpoint. There are references to sex and sexually transmitted diseases, and plenty of salty language throughout ("bitch," "s--t," "f--k," "oh my God," and much more). To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails .

Where to Watch

Videos and photos.

Drugstore June Trailer

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  • Parents say

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What's the Story?

In DRUGSTORE JUNE, live-streamer June ( Esther Povitsky ) works as a cashier at the neighborhood pharmacy. When her workplace is burglarized and her friendly boss, Bill (Bobby Lee), is the main suspect, she starts her own investigation to clear his name.

Is It Any Good?

The filmmakers are using an electric comedy prod to poke Gen Z, but they're the ones in for the shock: Anyone who actually knows Gen Z knows they're not quite ready to laugh at themselves. (Perhaps to gain the trust of the age group they're targeting, June is called a Millennial, which she definitely is not.) Produced by and co-starring gruff comic Bill Burr , older teens seem likely to find a movie about a lazy, self-obsessed, mid-tier Influencer who asserts that everyone else is the problem to be "total cringe"-- and then hate themselves for calling it that. But star/co-writer Povitsky does nail her absurdist portrayal, to the giggling amusement of those who will recognize her traits far too well. June is antiaspirational, entitled, self-centered, a hypochondriac, and too "triggered" to take responsibility. It feels like she was extracted from a one-label prompt: "Gen Z."

While June does grow, her self-discovery lacks any emotional punch. And while the movie has some laughs, it's more an exercise in frustration, because the story isn't well-constructed. Part of the enjoyment of a whodunit is for viewers to try to figure out the mystery, too, but there aren't enough clues given here to play along, nor does it make any sense. But then again, nonsense appears to be what this production is going for.

Talk to Your Kids About ...

Families can talk about the main character of Drugstore June . What makes her a comedic character? What are her traits? Does she grow and change? Why is character development important to viewers?

Are drug use, vaping, and drinking glamorized in this film? Why, or why not? Why does that matter?

Is Drugstore June trying to offer social commentary? If so, what would you say is being said here about June and her generation?

Discuss June's obsession with Davey. Why is it important that stalking isn't depicted as a way to win someone's heart?

Movie Details

  • In theaters : February 23, 2024
  • Cast : Esther Povitsky , Bobby Lee , Bill Burr
  • Director : Nicholaus Goossen
  • Inclusion Information : Female actors, Asian actors
  • Studio : Shout! Studios
  • Genre : Comedy
  • Topics : Brothers and Sisters
  • Run time : 91 minutes
  • MPAA rating : NR
  • Last updated : February 22, 2024

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Suggest an Update

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‘Spaceman’ Review: Adam Sandler Is the Loneliest Man in the Universe in Space Drama That Leaves Him Adrift

Ryan lattanzio, deputy managing editor.

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Adam Sandler has gone pseudo-serious before, from a mentally agitated toilet plunger salesman in Paul Thomas Anderson’s “ Punch-Drunk Love ” to a depressed comic in Judd Apatow’s “Funny People.” But he’s never been so dour as cosmonaut Jakub Prochazka in Johan Renck’s lonely island of a science-fiction drama, “ Spaceman ,” where he’s six months into a solitary research mission investigating spectral cloud activity around the planet Jupiter.

Adapting Jaroslav Kalfař’s 2017 novel “Spaceman in Bohemia,” “Chernobyl” director Renck and screenwriter Day make this “Spaceman” more of a love story across the solar system than a piercing exploration of how deep space can reconfigure one’s emotional makeup. The conceit on its head seems an obvious nod to Andrei Tarkovsky ’s “Solaris,” in which a psychologist is confronted with an extraterrestrial facsimile of his long-dead wife while investigating a telepathic planet. Sandler’s Jakub is similarly the loneliest man in the universe, as news reports on Earth describe him, having been jettisoned to Jupiter by a NASA-type organization that feels more rooted in the Soviet space race aesthetic; Jakub has been sent by a Czech space team, though the movie features no Czech actors and his character is obviously not European, given his unchanged American accent.

Whether an imaginary figment or actual alien contact onboard the spacecraft, Jakub begins to hallucinate an enormous and ancient arachnid creature he dubs Hanuš (voiced by Paul Dano). With hirsute, tarantula-like arms and eyes like amber sacs of roe, Hanuš is an occasionally marvelous anthropomorphic VFX creation, offering Jakub therapeutic advice on how to save his flailing marriage while keeping the astronaut company on his somber galactic sojourn. “Your memories are making me depressed,” Hanuš tells Jakub. It’s hard to believe that this deadpan, soothingly voiced creature isn’t already depressed enough, and Dano’s voice contribution is the best feature in a movie already beset by bugs.

the water boy movie review

For one, Mulligan is entirely wasted as Lenka, who spends a lot of time pensively staring out windows, wondering where it all went wrong. (Whenever a film cuts to a character just staring into the void through a window, you have to wonder how they came to stand there in the first place, as no one actually does this.) Whether in Jakub’s memories or in Renck’s own fantasy of the narrative, Lenka also walks through goldenrod-hued fields, bemoaning her broken relationship. At least Terrence Malick makes the effort to send his contemplating actors twirling through such fields, but Mulligan’s Lenka is inert, suspended in her own marital rut.

Back in space, meanwhile, Sandler’s Jakub is disheveled and grim, coated in a Max Richter score that’s more an ambient soup enveloping the movie than the plangent melodic orchestrations we’ve come to know from something like “On the Nature of Daylight,” used to great effect in a much smarter movie about the cosmos’ capacity to reflect our own existential anguish, “Arrival.”

When Hanuš finally does lead Jakub into the purple extraterrestrial vapors orbiting around Jupiter that seem to be haunting humans from the sky back on Earth, “Spaceman” explodes into a messy spectacle of kitschy special effects that only remind the audience of the four walls of green screen inevitably surrounding Sandler during their making. The idea of glittering space ghost particles offering communication with an Earthling feels ripped from some bad ‘90s sci-fi concept. And the bluntness of the dialogue doesn’t help elevate “Spaceman” beyond anything but the mundane either, as Jakub, faced with the vastness of Jupiter’s atmosphere ahead, tells Hanuš, “I feel fear.” You could’ve shown us that rather than told it.

Seeing Sandler whirl gravity-free throughout the space shuttle isn’t without its pleasures, as it’s certainly not something we’ve seen from the “Uncut Gems” and “Waterboy” actor before. But beyond the physical demands of the role — Sandler was wired up by stuntmen each day on set — “Spaceman” brings no new shade to some of the glummer Sandler personas we’re already familiar with. Renck’s film leaves him quite literally lost in space with nowhere to go, and rather than leave us with new perspectives on space travel or marital discord or an awe-eyed curiosity about either, we leave with a shrug.

“Spaceman” premiered at the Berlin Film Festival. Netflix will open it theatrically on Friday, February 23 before it starts streaming on Friday, March 1.

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