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Review

New comedy ‘Drillbit Taylor’ one of Wilson’s worst

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March 27, 2008

Critics often try to relate their opinions through some sort of poetic dialogue. Even when the film is sub par, most try to sound stylish and elegant even while slamming a film. When it comes to “Drillbit Taylor,” however, there is no flowery way to put it—this film sucked!

Owen Wilson, who has on occasion delivered halfway decent comedy, deteriorates back into his paralytic “You, Me & Dupree” slump with “Drillbit Taylor.” The only true humor here is that the movie, titled after its “main” character, has Wilson taking a substantially useless backseat to the actual story: a blah-blah high school something something big bad bully little yarn spun by spineless freshmen you will spend the bulk of the film hating for not having had their balls drop yet.

Wade, Ryan and Emmit are eager to start high school and adopt the lifestyle of partying, popularity and upper classmen babes. But the school bully, a teenage Hannibal Lecter of sorts, singles them out immediately and tortures them into becoming the laughing stock of the school. The three friends do what any sane person would do: hire an ex-army mercenary-for-hire turned bum to be their personal bodyguard. Enter Taylor, a weasel only too happy to scam the kids out of their money while planning to eventually rob their houses before making a mad dash for the Canadian border.

It is clear from the beginning that this painting of high school life will be no Rockwell. No, it’s closer to a Dali or Picasso, minus that stuff like symbolism and beauty. The script, co-penned by Seth Rogen, is content catering to every cliche there is, before further exploding them into absurdity. It would seem that Rogen never finished his high school career and is under the impression that his time served in “Freaks & Geeks” is an accurate reflection of reality.

But the similarities to past Apatow productions (they produced the film) don’t end there: Wade, Ryan and Emmit are smudged carbon copies of Evan, Seth and Fogell, the “Superbad” misfits, speaking watered-down interpretations of the same jokes. Drillbit becomes a recruiting film for Apatow, aimed at prepubescents not yet understanding the concepts of good humor or fine film. 

As much as middle schoolers breast-fed on Sandler will rejoice at the idiocy masquerading as comedy, adults will find insult in that same idiocy on display in every adult-wannabe onscreen. Oblivious parents, ignorant school faculty and slutty teachers fill out a troupe of undeniably fake coal-shovelers that gouge out contrivances to steam along this sputtering story. 

I just can’t bring myself to root for a bum-turned-thief who gets a convenient shot of conscience at the climax, as if he bought it from the local corner store.

There are a few scenes that will provide a chuckle or two, but these scenes can’t even be called diamonds in the rough.  They are merely—as Drillbit would say himself—polished turds in a shit sandwich.

Ken Weigend is an alumnus of UW-River Falls. He was editor of the Student Voice during spring semester 2010.