Making the Grades
Saying this is the best Adam Sandler movie I've ever seen reminds me of the time my mother baked our weekly liver dinner instead of pan-frying it. It was the best liver I ever had, and I'm happy to say I haven't eaten liver again in almost thirty years...
Sandler plays Bobby Boucher, a 31 year old simpleton from Louisiana who has an obsession for water after being told from childhood that his "daddy" perished in the Sahara. Working as a waterboy, Boucher strives to give the state football team the best water he can. Instead the team sees his childish personality and water purification equipment as a sideline target for their ridicule, which leads to Boucher being fired for distracting the players.
Boucher's ever-protective mother is more than happy to have him back home, and encourages him to get another waterboy job. Sure 'nuff, the local university's losing football team is willing to take him. When the players start teasing him, Coach Kline (Henry Winkler) tells Boucher to stand up for himself. He does, and tackles the team's quarterback. Voila! The oldest plot in the book: Underdog hero saves underdog team.
Co-written by Sandler, this script offers few realistic examples for teens who are mocked and trying to regain self esteem. Certainly if most of us tackled a football thug we'd have good reason to consider health insurance. More amazing yet, he gets 97% on his high school equivalency test, even though he's never gone to school (his momma kept him home).
The movie does include a handful of positive elements, like when Boucher turns down advances from Vicki (Fairuza Balk), a girl who will try anything to get his attention -- even removing her shirt (we only see Boucher's reaction). Also, Boucher is eventually accepted by the community and his mother as he asserts his independence and furthers his education.
But no matter how you cook it, this movie is peppered with profanities and sexual innuendo, and is still a tough choice to recommend to your teens