Friday, April 27, 2012

The Waterboy

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The movie I have chosen to analyse is “The Waterboy”. The Waterboy is a story written from a comedy/sports film template and Gridiron is the featured sport. The movie features a talented cast of Adam Sandler, Kathy Bates and Henry Winkler (also known as the fonz).


Bobby Boucher (Adam Sandler) is a socially inept, 1-year-old man who still lives with his overprotective Mama (Kathy Bates) in their Louisiana home. Bobby had been the waterboy for the Cougars, the states best team, for 18 years, where he became fixated on water specifically, on serving the coolest, most refreshing HO available. That was, until their coach, Red Beaulieu, fires him for being stupid and distracting his players by causing them to pick on him.


Dejected, but still proud of his water serving skills, Bobby approaches Coach Klein (Henry Winkler) of the South Central LSU football team and asks to be the teams waterboy. Klein, who suffered a nervous breakdown after Red stole his playbook and credit years earlier, is still a nervous fruit loop, and his team has not won a game in years. Even so, he gives Bobby the job.


Arriving on the field, the lowly football players immediately pick on Bobby, and Klein tells him he should stand up for himself or he will be walked over for the rest of his life. Accordingly, and after another taunting, Bobbys years of taking such abuse finally boil over and he races out onto the field and tackles a player with a bone-jarring hit.


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Klein, immediately sensing Bobbys potential, wants him to play on the team, but must first convince Mama. She, however, wants nothing of the sorts for her son, and refuses to grant her permission. Even so, Bobby decides to try out for the team, enrols in college, and soon becomes a big football star.


As he tries to keep that a secret from his Mama -- while also dealing with her disapproval of his girlfriend, Vicki Vallencourt, whos just been released from jail -- Bobby and Coach Klein prepare for a championship game against Red who will do anything to allow his team to win.


The Waterboy has little to offer in the area of originality and forms the typical underdog, stand-by the appalling sports team that miraculously comes from behind to contend for the championship storyline. Humour is the core element to this film and tends to be primarily driven by comic football violence, the social inadequacies of Bobby Boucher and/or the exaggerated stereotypes of rural Louisiana natives.


Throughout the film, detailed characterizations and plot development appear to become of less significance compared to general stupidity. While it may be an amusing film, there is no intellectual depth, and therefore the film tends to appeal to younger viewers in particular, thus giving a juvenile feel.


While the film is quite humorous, it becomes apparent that the main characters of this film are sketchily developed figures, which lack sophistication and growth. The main character of the film, Bobby Boucher, is the only half-detailed character and represents all that is of some importance in the film and thus helps raise some minor themes and issues.


Loyalty and trustworthiness are two of the issues raised and in some timely scenes; numerous people are shown to be disloyal and untrustworthy towards Bobby.


Bobby is not the most intellectual man and was constantly bullied as a result. Once his rare talent was discovered, he started gaining respect not only as a football superstar but also as a person. During one scene in the film, it is discovered that Bobby did not attend High School and therefore is ineligible to contest the up coming championship game, unless he passes the high school equivalency exam. People are out raged at this and begin doubting the waterboy labelling him a cheat and suggestions of cutting his head off are raised. When bobby aces the test, all is well again, except Bobby realises no one stood up for him during this time and leaves him feeling dejected once again.


Another person that represents the theme of loyalty is that of Bobby’s father, Roberto. Although Roberto fails to appear much throughout the film, he is mentioned on several occasions and becomes this themes ideal representative. As the film progresses, we learn that Roberto abandoned Bobby at a young age, and in an attempt to protect Bobby’s emotional mentality, Mama lies to Bobby, informing him that his father died in the desert as a result of dehydration, hence Bobby’s determination to quench thirst.


From the moment Roberto left, Bobby became the only real object of any importance in mama’s life. Determined to not lose Bobby as well, Mama becomes extremely over-protective, and as a result, disapproves of Bobby partaking in anything social, especially playing football or attending college. In the final scene of the movie, after Bobby has become famous, Roberto appears in an attempt to convince Bobby to play in the NFL.


Another theme developed throughout is the effect sport has on people, whether it is good or bad. Without sport bobby would have remained an outcast, a lonely person, with no aspiring qualities that would appeal to anyone besides his mother. Gridiron gives him an opportunity to develop something more in his life, not only does Bobby make new friends, he fulfils his long life dream of attending college. Bobby always enjoyed sports and Gridiron became his pathway to success. Even though his mother disapproved, Coach Klein convinced Bobby, what your mama don’t know, won’t hurt her”.


Another person deeply affected through the sporting arena was that of Coach Klein. His representation of the mentally disturbed is mainly exploited for the comical possibilities however it still manages to portray the stress of a demanding profession.


Overall, the Waterboy, although lacking in originality and sophistication is quite an intelligent film, while it was not initially shaped to express an in-depth storyline, it depicts some images raised in the sporting arena today, and in doing so creates much comical relief for the viewer.





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