A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
Parents and caregivers: Set limits for violence and more with Plus
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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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?
- In theaters: November 6, 1998
- On DVD or streaming: March 16, 1999
- Cast: Adam Sandler, Fairuza Balk, Kathy Bates
- Director: Frank Coraci
- Studio: Touchstone Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: language and some crude sexual humor
- Last updated: March 14, 2020
Our editors recommend
For kids who love to laugh
Themes & Topics
Browse titles with similar subject matter.
Top advice and articles
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.
Streaming options powered by JustWatch