The WaterBoy

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Details At A Glance

Category Comedy Theatrical Trailer(s) None
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1998 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time
95:59 minutes
(not 86 as listed on the packaging)
Other Extras None
RSDL/Flipper RSDL (53:40)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 2,4 Director Frank Coraci

Warner Home Video
Starring Adam Sandler
Kathy Bates
Fairuza Balk
Jerry Reed
Henry Winkler
Case Amaray
RRP $34.95 Music Alan Pasqua

Pan & Scan/Full Frame None MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement Yes Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384Kb/s)
Hungarian (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192Kb/s)
German (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
Macrovision ? Smoking Yes
Subtitles German
English for the Hearing Impaired
Annoying Product Placement Yes, but mostly amusing
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    The WaterBoy is an Adam Sandler vehicle. Adam seems to have lost his way a little in recent times - going from his trademark strictly-for-the-bathroom low-brow humour in Happy Gilmore to the far softer approach of The Wedding Singer. It worked in the latter movie, but his attempts to repeat this "comedy with a heart" formula have been less than stellar. Big Daddy in particular springs to mind as a movie that simply didn't work at this level.

    The WaterBoy attempts to straddle the middle ground. There is plenty of trademark low-brow humour, whilst at the same time there is a certain amount of more mainstream sentimentality. The balance is uneasy between the two paths that the movie takes, occasionally dipping into excessive saccharine sweetness, but redeeming this is the fact that a lot of the movie is actually quite funny, poking a lot of fun at American Southerners in particular. A number of the sight gags, whilst cheap and somewhat predictable, still had me in stitches of laughter.

    Bobby Boucher (Adam Sandler) is a man of limited intelligence. His one obsession in life is that of being the waterboy for a college football team. He does this job very well, but is the butt of many a joke from the rest of the team. He eventually gets fired, leaving him lost and with no purpose in life other than to spend more time with his domineering mama (Kathy Bates).

    Bobby manages to find another job as a waterboy with a down-and-out college football team coached by Coach Klein (Henry Winkler), a team cursed with a 40 game losing streak. This team also abuses him until one day he is urged to fight back, which he does. Much to everyone's surprise, he turns out to be an excellent football player. Throw in Fairuza Balk as the vampish Vicki Vallencourt, a gaggle of other oddball characters, and series of very odd main meals and you have a rather funny movie that only sags a little in the middle with excessive sentimentality.

Transfer Quality


    This transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. It is 16x9 enhanced, and falls just short of reference quality.

    This transfer is very sharp and very clear, with only the slightest hint of edge enhancement to mar the image slightly. Shadow detail was excellent, and there was no low level noise.

    The colours were vibrant and consistent throughout. Indeed, if anything, they were on the verge of oversaturation. In particular, some of the reds of the football uniforms bordered on the verge of bleeding, but they never quite got to that extreme stage.

    No MPEG artefacts were seen. No film-to-video artefacts were seen. A very slight vertical skip in the image was a little bothersome at times. It occurred at scene transitions for a single frame and presumably is an artefact of the film editing process. The only other slightly negative aspect of this transfer was the occasional film-to-video artefact, none of which were particularly bad, but there were more of these than I would have expected given the recent vintage of this transfer.

    The subtitles on the packaging omit mention of the German and Portuguese subtitle tracks and mention a non-existent French subtitle track. The subtitles defaulted to on in Dutch on the review DVD player.

    Whilst we are on the topic of packaging errors, the run time of this movie is incorrectly stated on the packaging, which claims a run time of only 86 minutes, not the 96 minutes that it actually is.

    This disc is an RSDL disc, with the layer change coming at 53:40. Only a slight pause is evidence of this transition. It is intriguing to note that this DVD has been placed on an RSDL-formatted DVD considering its running time is only 96 minutes. Certainly this shows up in the quality of the video transfer being exemplary.


    There are three audio tracks on this DVD; English Dolby Digital 5.1, Hungarian Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded and German Dolby Digital 5.1. There is no Czechoslovakian soundtrack as mentioned on the packaging. I listened to the default English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack.

    Dialogue was mostly clear and easy to understand with a number of exceptions, both deliberate and inadvertent. A few of Adam Sandler's lines in particular were hard to make out, but this is frequently a characteristic of his movies.

    There were no audio sync problems with this DVD.

    The score by Alan Pasqua was totally unremarkable and not frequently present. The soundtrack is dominated by contemporary music and a number of Southern-esque standards such as The Devil Went Down To Georgia.

    The surround channels had little use with only a slight spill into the surrounds from vocal effects and music. Fundamentally, this was a very front hemispheric mix. Plenty of use was made of the left and right front speakers for special effects, but these never carried into the rear channels.

    The .1 channel had only limited use to support the music.




    For some inexplicable reason, this disc starts up at the non-16x9 enhanced menu instead of going directly to the movie as previous Buena Vista DVDs have. This is more depressing than anything, rubbing salt into the no-extras wound.

R4 vs R1

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;     The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     The Region 4 version of this DVD is the version of choice because of the 16x9 enhancement.


    The WaterBoy is a rather enjoyable movie, and a disc that is worth adding to your collection.

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is unremarkable.

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Demtschyna
4th March 2000

Review Equipment
DVD Start SD-2001VNK, using S-Video output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Hsu Research TN-1220HO subwoofer