Touchstone Pictures // 1998 // 90 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge Eric Profancik (Retired) // August 4th, 2009
But is it high-quality Blu-ray?
Bobby Bucher (Adam Sandler, Funny People) is 31, a bit slow, lives with his Mama (Kathy Bates, Fried Green Tomatoes), loves wrestling, and worships water. His adoration of water runs so deep that he's turned it into a job -- one he doesn't get paid for -- as the unappreciated waterboy for the University of Louisiana. But Coach Red Beaulieu (Jerry Reed, Smokey and the Bandit) has had enough of the nitwit interfering with his practices and fires Bobby. Being down but not out, Bobby finds new employment with Coach Klein (Henry Winkler, Happy Days) at South Central Louisiana State University. But within moments the players are soon harassing Bobby. This time, Coach Klein encourages Bobby to stand up for himself; and faster than you can say crawfish dinner, Bobby has wowed everyone with his powerful tackles. Soon Bobby is on the team, without his Mama's permission, and is turning the woeful team into potential Bourbon Bowl contenders. Can Bobby maintain his secret from his Mama, lead the team to victory, and continue serving high-quality H2O?
We're all aware that Adam Sandler pretty much plays the same character in most of his movies. It's some variation on a passive-aggressive manboy who goes from zero to hero in the course of 90 minutes. Bobby Bucher and The Waterboy are no different, yet this is my favorite Sandler movie. I'm a man who finds the dumbest things in life amusing. I've been known to laugh so hard as to cry over a quality flatulence joke, so it's no wonder that the incessant smackdowns leveled by Bobby work very well for me.
The Waterboy is the classic underdog hero tale, but this time around I didn't find the age-old tale dull or tiresome. In fact, 11 years later, I still find it to be a humorous movie that is a brisk and easy watch. Is it the underdog tale? Not really. Is it all the tackling? Oh that surely plays a big part in my appreciation, but what else is there? It's the characters. Bobby, his Mama, and Coach Klein are a sheer joy to watch on the screen. Bobby's bayou background gives him a different, enjoyable appeal from the average loser. (That's why I found the short-lived television show K-Ville enjoyable as well.) There's actually an attempt to make him different from your run-of-the-mill dork. Add to that Mama's overly protective smothering ladled with ridiculous Cajun seasoning (squirrel for dessert, really?) and you have a very interesting and fun family dynamic. While the two of them -- not to mention the rest of the cast -- are fun to watch, clearly my favorite performance comes from Henry Winkler as Coach Klein. There's something utterly charming and captivating about his performance. Yes, it's just a silly little role, but he brings such charm, warmth, and believability to it. He's the heart and soul of the movie, yet he also brings even more humor to his scenes. And even though he's a loser in his own right, you'd be delighted if he were to coach your team.
As much as I enjoy the movie -- and I've owned the DVD for many a year -- I have to admit that this new Blu-ray release does little to add to the overall viewing experience. On the plus side, both the audio and video transfers look noticeably better than its plattered predecessor. The 1.85:1, 1080p video gives a new level of clarity to the presentation with richer, bolder colors, truer blacks, and overall better details. However, it never feels feels like you're watching Blu; and there's no "wow" moment. It all looks good, but not that good. The same thing goes for the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix. While everything sounds clearer, cleaner, and richer, it's nothing spectacular. Granted, this is a simple comedy from a decade ago that's dialogue-intensive, but it still never makes the most of what is has. With all those power tackles by Bobby one would expect a good thump to go with them.; nope, it's more of a dull thud. It's a decent audio track but nothing that screams Blu.
Now here's the big kick in the pants: The Blu-ray doesn't come with any bonus material. Nothing. Not even a lame preview trailer. Even the previous DVD had a trailer and a quick featurette.
Anyone else get annoyed with Mama's manipulation of Bobby in the hospital? That just seems way to close-minded and mean-spirited even for her. I always find myself fast forwarding through that part of the movie.
I like this movie. I find the characters and their situations quite entertaining, and it has stood up nicely for the past 10 years. But now that we're in the realm of Blu, what does this disc have to offer? Yes, the audio and video are better but not all that great. But there's nothing else on the disc. So with an average upgrade in transfers, no bonus materials, and a hefty price tag, I most certainly cannot recommend this disc for purchase. It's a half-hearted, obvious grab by the studio to take your money with little to no effort on their part. Like with Bobby, some things in life make you angry. This type of behavior makes me angry, and I'm going to store it up and use it as tackling fuel. Let's hope I never meet any studio executives...
The Waterboy is hereby found guilty of being a shameful and lazy Blu-ray release. This is definitely not high-quality Blu for you.
Review content copyright © 2009 Eric Profancik; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Touchstone Pictures
* 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Spanish)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 1998
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13