Want personalized picks that fit your family?

Set preferences to see our top age-appropriate picks for your kids.

Get age-based picks

The Waterboy

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
The Waterboy Movie Poster Image
Crude, dumb, predictable Adam Sandler comedy.
  • PG-13
  • 1998
  • 90 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 34 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Too goofy and silly to have much in the way of positive messages. Regional stereotypes.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The waterboy and all the other characters are too goofy and one-dimensional to be viewed as positive role models. 


Football violence, over-the-top tackling in some instances for the sake of comedy. 


Brief shot of naked male buttocks. Talk of sex between the waterboy and his girlfriend. In one scene, his girlfriend removes her blouse. A  woman at a college party asks the waterboy if he has "ever been in a threesome." A man puts his hand on a woman's breasts. Jokes about the waterboy still being a virgin.  


Frequent profanity. "F--k," "a--hole." The waterboy is verbally bullied by football players: He's called a "retard," "needled--k," and "s--thead." He receives a note telling him to "eat s--t."  


To rile him up, the head coach of the football team tells the waterboy that "Gatorade is better than water"; this is repeated several times in a row. At a football game, a large banner advertises Ozarka Spring Water. Other banners advertise Casio, McDonald's, and ACDelco. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinking at a party. In a recurring joke, cheerleaders and the mascot of a terrible college football team are shown getting drunk on whiskey while on the field. College students drink alcohol in the bleachers. The title football game is called the Bourbon Bowl. After witnessing the strange behavior of the waterboy at a football camp for kids, the camp leader advises the kids, "Don't smoke crack." 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Waterboy is a 1997 movie starring Adam Sandler as a bumbling waterboy from Louisiana who learns to channel his rage at being picked on his whole life into becoming a champion college football player. He endures physical bullying as well as verbal; he's called a "retard," "needled--k," and "s--thead," among other things. There is frequent profanity throughout, including "f--k." There's also drinking shown at a college party, and, in a recurring joke, the cheerleaders and mascot of the team are shown drowning their sorrows with whiskey while appearing almost passed out on the football field. There are some references to sex, including threesomes, and jokes are made at the waterboy's expense about him being a virgin. Brief shot of naked male buttocks. Talk of sex between the waterboy and his girlfriend. In one scene, his girlfriend removes her blouse. Overall, though The Waterboy can be just as crude (and formulaic in terms of story) as other Adam Sandler movies from the 1990s, this one isn't quite as funny, goofy, or silly as Billy Madison or Happy Gilmore

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 10 and 11 year old Written byBleep bleep August 18, 2014

It was ok

This comedy is fine for 10 and up. Had some good laughs that my kids enjoyed. There was some swearing and name calling that some parents might not like.
Adult Written byAndrew V. January 21, 2018

Good meaning and comedy

I dont get why people are hating on this movie, it has a good meaning and good comedy, the only thing i would agree on is there is too much profanity.
Teen, 16 years old Written byJoeyd219 December 1, 2012

Typical Sandler movie

It is a bad movie, plain and simple, but most adolescents will enjoy Sandler's typical stupid humor. The language is moderate, but I honestly wouldn't... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old August 16, 2015

Mama said

There's one use of f--k two uses of s--t multiple uses of needled--k. Vicci shows bobby her hooters one girl asks bobby if his had a threesome. There'... Continue reading

What's the story?

THE WATERBOY stars Adam Sandler as Bobby Boucher, a 31-year-old man who lives with his mother and cares only about providing the freshest, most delicious water for the football team. Fired by the coach (Jerry Reed), he volunteers to be the unpaid waterboy for a team that hasn't won a game in four years. Although his mother has raised him to avoid all relationships and he hates confrontation, it turns out that when he gets angry he can tackle a Mack truck. So, he becomes a football star, gets the girl (Fairuza Balk as a tattooed, lovable felon), and teaches his mother and himself that he can be more independent.

Is it any good?

There's not much to recommend here, but many adolescents will enjoy it, if only to be able to trade the punchlines with their friends. If you want to see this movie, you're probably between the ages of 12 and 16. It's hard to imagine anyone else sitting through it. Sandler uses an especially annoying voice throughout, and there isn't much energy in the script or performances.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what makes Sandler's type of humor so popular.

  • How is bullying shown in this movie? How does it make the waterboy a sympathetic character, one audiences would want to root for? 

  • What are some of the ways in which regional accents are used to humorous effect? What would have been lost if the movie had been set in a place with a less distinctive culture than rural Louisiana? 

Movie details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love to laugh

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate