Published Sep 01, 2001
In case you needed reminding, there's no guarantee that simply because a film is made outside North America and screened at a film festival, it will be any more high-minded or accomplished than its predictably gauche Hollywood counterparts.
There was reason to expect much more of "The Waterboys." A motley collection of boys drooling over their high school's new swim coach inadvertently sign themselves up as a synchronised swimming team. Synchronised swimming is huge in Japan, but the idea of men's synchronised swimming is as absurd there as it is here. Now, it could be argued that the farcical potential of synchronised swimming was completely exhausted by the classic "Saturday Night Live" sketch featuring Martin Short and Christopher Guest, but the Yaguchi sets in motion the potentially equally comic prospect of a synchro answer to "The Full Monty." Unfortunately, Yaguchi opts for a brand of comedy embarrassingly broad by any standard. The odd flash of wit is drowned out by the unsubtle spectacle of eyes popping, mouths forming exaggerated O's and characters shrieking like Toshiro Mifune in full samurai mode in place of actual jokes and clever sight gags. It's disappointing that Yaguchi took such a low road - the movie's premise still holds the potential of an entertaining trifle, and we certainly aren't faced with such a shortage of dumb teen comedies that we need to import one from Japan.