Written by Kristofor Brown & Seth Rogen
Directed by Steven Brill
Running Time: 1:45
for crude sexual references throughout,
strong bullying, language, drug references
and partial nudity.
Drillbit Taylor was kind of a mess of a film with one or two funny moments but not enough to sustain the entire movie.
Wade and Ryan are best friends (and when standing next to each other resemble the number 10) with Wade being tall and extremely skinny, and Ryan being on the chubby side. It's their first day of high school and they are determined to make it the best four years of their lives. Unfortunately they end up wearing the same shirt and that leads to the school bullies, Filkins and Ronnie, picking on them constantly and in brutal ways. The only way Wade and Ryan can survive is to hire a fulltime bodyguard. Enter one Drillbit Taylor, a homeless Army vet who has turned into a petty criminal. Seeing a chance to fleece the boys and their families of some money, Drillbit takes the case, only to slowly develop a liking for the boys (and a certain teacher). In the end will Drillbit save the day? Or steal it?
With a pedigree including Judd Apatow and Seth Rogan, Drillbit Taylor certainly had a reasonable chance at being funny. It wasn't. In fact, the entire movie was very mean spirited. Let's start with the two nerds, Wade and Ryan. I didn't find either of them all that likeable. They had certain aspects of their personalities that made you feel sorry for them, but nothing that made you want to cheer for them. That being said, I certainly didn't want to see them tortured, which they were for the greater part of the movie. The bullying was so extreme and over-the-top it went beyond harmless high school comedy into real hatred. And of course every adult in the film was a complete moron who turned a blind eye to the entire situation. It was one of those films that just made me angry to watch.
The two bullies were decent enough considering what they were working with. Filkins was borderline psychotic, presumably from being emancipated and having to live alone. Ronnie was slightly nicer, but he was played by the kid who plays Josh on the Drake & Josh show, and while I commend him for his weight loss, I had a hard time picturing him as a bully. Leslie Mann played one of the teachers in the high school and while she is pleasant to look at, her role offered nothing to the film. Replace her with any number of actresses and you'd have the exact same movie. And then we come to Owen Wilson as the titular Drillbit.
I personally don't think Owen Wilson is leading man material. He's funny enough when he's in a supporting role or teamed up with a stronger actor (like a Vince Vaughn or Jackie Chan) who can take the lead and let Wilson play the comic relief. But when he's out on his own, carrying a film, his flaws show through. First off, his nose is very distracting. When he's on screen with someone else you have something else to look at, but when it's just him, all you can do is stare at his nose and wonder how it got so bent out of shape. He gets hit there a couple of times in the film and I think it would have been a funny gag to have it magically straighten out after one punch, but they didn' t go there. Then there was this actual film, in which he plays an Army vet, living out on the streets hustling for money. The set-up is reasonable enough, with him trying to get some money out of the kids. Although his big goal was to get to Canada, which is just odd. But then the writers felt the need to add in a secondary storyline with him becoming a teacher (by accident of course) and literally within seconds falling for Leslie Mann. That entire plot line was completely pointless and added zero to the movie. It was as if they producers didn't think the main story line was strong enough to sustain an entire movie, so they threw in a generic love story to cut to once in a while. It added nothing. The movie has one or two laughs along the way, so it's not a complete disaster. The two kids have a little bit of charm so while I didn't like them, I didn't hate them. Watching Ryan in a rap battle was pretty entertaining, and watching them practice fight against each other made me laugh. But for the most part they're just kind of hopeless and sad.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I didn't really care for Drillbit Taylor. The bullying became too much after a while and it was no longer funny (not that it was to begin with). Owen Wilson simply isn't leading man material in my opinion, and then entire film just felt choppy and didn't have any flow to it. I'd skip this one, or rent it in a few years when your Netflix queue is down to nothing.
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