Drillbit Taylor is the newest addition to the collection of Judd Apatow comedies. Although this time around he only produced, and the movie is watered down to a PG-13 instead of his usual raunchy R rating. The movie is about two nerdy young kids Wade (Nate Hartley) and Ryan (Troy Gentile) who just started high school. But on just their first day they begin getting picked on by the school bully Filkins (Alex Frost), and his little-to-no-dialogue crony Ronnie (Josh Peck). The bullies becoming increasingly threatening, and it only gets worse when the biggest nerd in the school Emmitt (David Dorfman) starts hanging around them. The constant bullying gets to the point where the kids decide to hire a bodyguard who calls himself Drillbit Taylor (Owen Wilson). Drillbit tells them that he was trained by the military and is an expert fighter, but in reality he is just a lazy, lying homeless man, and proceeds to loot their homes. But the boys gullibly believe in him anyway, and as Drillbit teaches them some martial arts and defense moves, some right out of action movies, he really starts to like them. But eventually Drillbit has to face the truth behind his lies, and the boys have to face their fears and stop the bullies themselves.
Judd Apatow and his crew's comedies have really been on a roll lately. Recently we've received the hilarious Knocked Up, Superbad, the 40 Year Old Virgin, and Walk Hard: the Dewey Cox Story. All of them received a good R rating for their raunchy, and often foul mouthed, dialogue and humor. But along comes Drillbit Taylor with its watered down PG-13 humor. Let me start off saying this, Judd Apatow should really stick to the R rated comedies, and if he really wants to produce a PG-13, at least produce one that is actually funny. That just goes to say that Drillbit Taylor tries to be funny, but the whole bullied kids story has been done so many times that there's not much here to laugh at. But hey does anyone remember a guy named John Hughes? The man who had his name written all over excellent teen comedies from the 1980s, like The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, and the classic Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Well John Hughes helped put together this story, but in my own opinion he should never have graced his name on such garbage.
Drillbit Taylor is not only unfunny, but also incredibly mean spirited and cynical. The jokes in this movie are few but when they do happen to arrive, they're far too soft and easygoing. Nate Hartley and Troy Gentile however are a completely welcome presence, and both are very good and charming in this movie. They were essentially the only good part of the movie. Whereas the third actor David Dorfman is awful as an annoying, jabbering loser who really doesn't even become a character. He just sits around and acts like Raymond from Rain Man, only this kid acts like he just did crack and had one too many Red Bulls. Owen Wilson gives it his all as Drillbit, but the character is just not made to be funny. The scenes where he teaches the boys self defense, loots their homes, flirts with their teacher, and most other things he does didn't make me laugh. Drillbit and his homeless friends even preposterously pose as substitute teachers at the boys' school, because it seems as long as they have coffee cups in their hands, all the teachers are oblivious to them. Drillbit hits on the teacher Lisa (Leslie Mann), but she is so flat and one dimensional it's not even remotely funny. Leslie Mann is a great actress and she is wasted here because her character is stupid, barely gets screen time, and is completely pointless to the story.
The bullies in this movie, which the plot of Drillbit Taylor is centered around, are not just bullies, but sadists as well. Alex Frost played a school shooter in Gus Van Sant's movie Elephant, and it almost seems like he's the same character here. As the lead bully Filkins is more of a teenage psychopath, and whenever he's on screen I was reminded of Columbine. Josh Peck only has a few words of dialogue in the movie. Josh Peck is also very talented and deserved better. The bullies in Drillbit Taylor try to run over the kids at high speed with their car, driving over lawns and mailboxes and anything, and in one fight scene Filkins picks up a long metal lamp and starts swinging it violently at Wade. He also says he gets off on their misery and that he likes watching kids like them suffer. But when he's brought to the principal's office he acts like a goody-two-shoes, and gets off Scot-free. I began to wonder if the teachers and administrators were blind. The tone and message of Drillbit Taylor are way off, because at first it's about self defense, then suddenly it's anti-violent, and then for the end it's brutally, sadistically violent. In the end Drillbit Taylor taught me violence is okay as long as it's brutal; you don't get in trouble for bullying; and that as a bully you naturally crave the pain and misery of others.
Everyone here tries their hardest but Drillbit Taylor is just not funny. It's message and extreme violence is disheartening, and for a movie that's PG-13 this film sure is nasty. I give Drillbit Taylor a 1 out of 4. I don't recommend it to anyone really, especially kids.
7 out of 11 found this helpful.
Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.