Friday, 15 December 2017
Drillbit Taylor
Written by Sandra Fitzpatrick   
Wednesday, 26 March 2008 13:39

 

ThumbnailThe title of the film Drillbit Taylor sounds like it could be equally at home in an adult novelty store as on the big screen at your local Cineplex, but luckily the comparison stops there. In fact Drillbit is probably better suited for a more juvenile audience than previous Judd Appatow offerings The 40-Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up or Superbad. Those films were true comic gems that attacked real life situations with wicked abandon and little regard for who they might offend. Drillbit Taylor takes a more mainstream approach but loses all charm in the process.

The premise is essentially a recycled version of Superbad but with a slightly younger cast. Even the character dynamic is the same - a skinny, sweet kid and his chubby, curly haired and foul-mouthed best friend. The boys, Wade and Ryan are psyched about their first day of high school and are sure that it’s going to finally change their lives for the better. But when they both show up at the bus stop wearing matching flaming-skull shirts they know they’re doomed to social ostracism! They also pick up a third-wheel in the form of Emmet, a vertically challenged geek who looks to them for protection.

The utterly evil school bully decides to make fresh meat out of the trio. But the threat doesn’t stop at being shoved into lockers or given swirlies in the bathroom. This kid gets violent and rumors abound that he once chopped someone’s arm off with a Samurai sword. Tired of fearing for their lives Wade and Ryan decide to hire a bodyguard to protect them.  But you get what you pay for and what they get is Drillbit Taylor (Owen Wilson), a bum whose idea of a hard days work is charming the daily commuters into giving him change on the freeway. His plan is mostly to take advantage of the rich kids and move to Canada on the proceeds. Ever notice how in American films Canada is always a haven for the lazy and un-ambitious? Come to Canada! Live off government funding and smoke weed all day! At least that seems to be the popular conception among our neighbors to the south.Thumbnail

The raunchy and hilarious Superbad was sort of a throwback to classic teen films of the 80’s and I thought it was worthy of the instant cult status that was bestowed upon it. Although the films share comic genius’s of the day Judd Appatow as producer and Seth Rogen as writer, the similarities only make Drillbit Taylor a pale shadow in comparison. It abandons the sexual humor and racy dialogue and replaces them with fist-fights and bland jokes suitable for a 13-year old crowd who aren’t old enough for the alternative.

The casting is good and everyone takes the limited script as far as it can go. Owen Wilson is his usual self which is good or bad depending on your point of view. Personally I like the guy, and he makes as much as he can of a character that isn’t very clearly defined. You’re never sure whether to despise him for taking advantage of these kids or to applaud him. Predictably, he gradually grows to really care about them and starts taking his job seriously. So seriously in fact that he disguises himself as a teacher and infiltrates their school to protect them.

Drillbit Taylor suffers from a lack of inventiveness. It isn’t a complete waste simply because I think it will appeal to a younger audience, but is a definite disappointment to those looking for a more off-the-wall approach to comedy. I give it 4 out of 10.