Judge Dan Mancini is an Army of One.
Our review of Drillbit Taylor: Extended Survival Edition, published July 1st, 2008, is also available.
Crap on a shit sandwich!
Okay, Drillbit Taylor isn't that bad, but it's definitely the weakest of the various Judd Apatow/Seth Rogen comedies about overweight, curly-haired losers and their maladjusted buddies.
Facts of the Case
Overweight, curly-haired loser Ryan (Troy Gentile, Nacho Libre) and his maladjusted beanpole best friend Wade (Nate Hartley, Role Models) are determined to make a good impression on their first day of high school. Unfortunately, they accidentally wear matching black-and-red devil head bowling shirts, marking themselves as hopeless dorks.
The fashion faux pas attracts the attention of beady-eyed Filkins (Alex Frost, Elephant), the school bully. When the vicious upperclassman begins to dole out torment and beatings to Ryan, Wade, and their new ultra-nerdy friend Emmit (David Dorfman, The Ring), the boys decide to hire a bodyguard to protect them. Enter: Drillbit Taylor (Owen Wilson, The Royal Tenenbaums), an affable homeless man with a Black Ops military background.
In truth, Drillbit just wants to earn a little money so he can make his way to the expansive paradise of Canada. But his plan hits a snag when the kids begin to grow on him, he falls in love with one of their teachers (Leslie Mann, Knocked Up), and his homeless buddy Don (Danny McBride, Tropic Thunder) hatches a scheme to rob Wade's house.
The biggest problem with Drillbit Taylor is its point of view. Somewhere in this occasionally hilarious comedy is a laugh-til-you-hurt-yourself story of two homeless guys too stupid to pull off a grift against a trio of wimpy high school freshman. Instead, Drillbit Taylor is a series of funny gags stuffed into a boilerplate three-act script about nerdys hassled by a bully. It's unfortunate that Gentile, Hartley, and Dorfman are the film's leads. All three are good actors, but none brings the funny like Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse, their exact analogs in the far superior Superbad.
Meanwhile, the scenes featuring Owen Wilson and Danny McBride are consistently hilarious. McBride's cynical, amoral, pragmatic Don is a perfect complement to Wilson's good-natured dim bulb Taylor. Their squabbling friendship has something of the flavor of the Dude and Walter's in The Big Lebowski. And when they finally turn on each other, it's both atrocious and hysterical.
Perhaps Drillbit Taylor would be less of a disappointment if its attachment to Apatow's and Rogen's names didn't place it in the shadow of The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, and Superbad—none of which it can compete with in terms of pure laughs. Truth be told, Drillbit Taylor has enough distinct moments of laugh-aloud comedy to make it well worth 109 minutes of your time. Unfortunately, those laughs don't congeal into the sort of tightly structured and satisfying movie worth watching more than once.
The Blu-ray version of Drillbit Taylor: Extended Survival Edition is a mirror of the DVD version with a souped-up 1080p VC-1 transfer and a crystal clear TrueHD soundtrack. The movie is presented in its 2.35:1 theatrical aspect ratio. Colors are vivid (particularly in the many outdoor scenes) and detail is razor sharp.
So far as I can tell, the extras are identical to those found on the DVD release. Director Steve Brill (Mr. Deeds), Kristophor Brown (Rogen's co-writer), Gentile, Hartley, and Dorfman provide a commentary track that's plagued by long periods of silence, but is fairly humorous and informative when the participants actually speak. An audio-only featurette presents a telephone call between Brown and Rogen in which they discuss the screenwriting process. "Directing Kids" is a featurette detailing Brill's approach to working with his three young leads. There are also 19 deleted and extended scenes, a montage of some of the movie's best one-liners, and a gag reel. In addition to all of that, there is a collection of featurettes with alternate takes and improvisations from eight of the movie's funniest scenes. Finally, there are a couple short pieces featuring Danny McBride and his special brand of humor.
Drillbit Taylor is funny but forgettable. Some truly funny moments, beautiful A/V, and a ton of extras make this Blu-ray worth a rental. If buy instead of rent, it'll probably end up collecting dust.
Guilty as charged, but released with time off for good behavior.
Give us your feedback!
What's "fair"? Whether positive or negative, our reviews should be unbiased, informative, and critique the material on its own merits.
Other Reviews You Might Enjoy
Scales of Justice
• Audio Commentary
Review content copyright © 2008 Dan Mancini; Site design and review layout copyright © 2015 Verdict Partners LLC. All rights reserved.