Waterboys (2001)

Some very unlikely synchronized swimmers.

Suzuki’s (Tsumabuki Satoshi) high school swim team has a very pathetic history. When the pretty Mrs. Sakuma (Manabe Kaori) takes over to coach the team, boys eagerly join purely for the chance to ogle her. Little do they realize that Mrs. Sakuma intends to transform the team into one that does synchronized swimming. When the fact gets out, all the boys, except for Suzuki and four others, abandon the team. Things get complicated when Mrs. Sakuma unexpectedly goes on maternity leave with the school sports festival coming up. Will Suzuki and his friends be able to get their act together in time and save face in front of the rest of the school?

Waterboys (ウォーターボーイズ、Wota Boizu) is a Japanese comedy film. It was the breakthrough film for director Yaguchi Shinobu.

Waterboys had a formulaic yet heartwarming story of a team of lovable losers overcoming all odds with the main character winning the girl, in this case the very pretty Hirayama Aya as karate expert Shizuko. Waterboys had a very offbeat style of humor, with mostly every gag coming right out of left field. A memorable scene is an early practice that culminated in one boy losing his swimming trunks and another having his hair catch fire. Besides the somewhat predictable overall plotline, the thing I didn’t really like about Waterboys’ story was the fact that it was somewhat incoherent at times. Particularly for the first half of the movie, many scenes felt like they were simply isolated, loosely-related gags.

Overall, Waterboys works as a feel-good comedy. Much like The Good, The Bad, The Weird, Waterboys works as nice, lighthearted fun that is great to watch with friends and is also a good one to pick up if you want some high school-related nostalgia and feel like you have seen enough of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Score: 3/4

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