Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Movie and DVD Reviews: The best and not-so-best movies available on DVD, and whatever else catches my eye.

Mimsy Review: The Waterboy

Reviewed by Jerry Stratton, July 23, 1999

That’s high-quality H2O!

Special features


Adam Sandler’s Rags to Riches on the foosball field, with a very sexy down-home Fairuza Balk showing off her boobies. But only to Adam, not to the audience: this is a PG-13 flick. Violence only is allowed.

RecommendationPossible Rental
DirectorFrank Coraci
WritersTim Herlihy, Adam Sandler
Movie Rating5
Transfer Quality6
Overall Rating3
  • Letterbox

Adam Sandler plays Bobby Boucher, the waterboy for the University of Louisiana since he was 13. Not waterboy: water distribution engineer. He takes his H2O seriously. Ridiculed and finally fired at 31 from his “job” at Louisiana, he ends up at South Central Louisiana State, down home in Jackson’s Bayou with the Mud Dogs, coached by Henry Winkler and supplied with water that’s crawling in dead (or perhaps just lazy) cockroaches. Bobby quickly turns their water supply around but suffers the same humiliation as his previous job. This time, Coach Klein (Henry Winkler) advises him to stand up for himself. When he sees how well Bobby can “stand up” for himself, the Coach gets him in college and gets him on the team.

Kathy Bates plays Bobby’s crazed mother, and Fairuza Balk plays his childhood girlfriend, Vicki Vallencourt. Jerry Reed puts in a demented performance as Louisiana coach Red Beaulieu. In fact, everyone puts in demented performances. The entire cast is made up like the cast-offs from “Deliverance”. Blake Clark plays “Farmer Fran”, Coach Klein’s tongueless, nipple-pinching assistant coach.

Living deep in the swamp, Bobby and Mama eat what appear to be fried baby alligators, some Louisiana frog cakes (complete with frogs), and a huge snake coiled up with an apple in its mouth. Coach Klein asks “What part do you think I’m about to eat?” “Basically, a snake don’t have ‘parts’, but if I had to call it anything, I would say its his knee.”

There is one point in the movie that might be an homage to Peter Sellers in “Being There”. (“I like to watch.”) But I’m not sure they thought that far ahead in the making of the movie. This just isn’t that kind of show.

Some of the best parts are the “flashbacks” to Adam’s childhood and the two coaches’ college lives—complete with big hair on both Henry Winkler and Jerry Reed.

There is a very nice soundtrack on this movie. Off-hand, I can recall hearing John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom”, the fiddle tune from “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” (very fittingly while Coach Klein was having fillet of snake) and a little Creedence with “Born on the Bayou”. The musical selection isn’t all up to snuff, but it’s got enough bite to keep you down in the swamps.

The picture is generally quite sharp, and the colors bright. In many parts of the movie, especially Bobby’s home and the swamp around it, the colors are an almost cartoon-like brightness. Very good job both in filming and in the transfer to DVD. It really adds to the enjoyability of the film.

The extras are better than some disks, but still not that great. You get one “featurette”, sort of a long trailer with a few interjections from the actors. The theatrical trailer is also included. I thought that there was a set of trailers from “related features” and spend about a minute trying to figure out how to get them to play before I realized that they weren’t part of the menu, they’re just pictures of the DVD boxes for those movies, no trailer included. How lame.

A funny movie, nothing special about it, mostly mindless—but that’s what I wanted when I rented it, and it came through. I don’t see any need to own this disk, but it is probably worth a rental some time when you aren’t up to watching “The Bicycle Thief”.

Recommendation: Possible Rental

DirectorFrank Coraci
WritersTim Herlihy, Adam Sandler
ActorsAdam Sandler, Kathy Bates, Fairuza Balk, Henry Winkler, Jerry Reed
Spoken languagesEnglish, French
Special FeaturesFeaturette, Trailer
More links

If you enjoyed The Waterboy…

If you enjoy Fairuza Balk, you might also be interested in Almost Famous.

If you enjoy football, you might also be interested in North Dallas Forty.