I don’t know what it is about Owen Wilson, but whatever film he’s in he seems to be playing himself. The soft-spoken, rather glib personality has taken him places over the years, but you have to ask yourself if he’s ever going to actually take any risks. Drillbit Taylor is no more a stretch for the actor than any of these other roles. What that means for us, the viewers, is that we’re sure to get a solid and quite believable performance. We know that we’ll end up warming to
It’s the first day of high school for Wade (Hartley) and Ryan (Gentile). They are your typical geek kids. Ryan’s a short fat kid who wants to be a rapper, and Wade is tall and skinny. Both have low self esteem and virtually no social skills, so they have reason to be worried. Things go terribly wrong from the first day when they step in to stop the school bully from picking on another unfortunate nerd. From that moment on they become the personal punching bag for Terry (Frost). Sick of the torture, they place an ad to hire a bodyguard. Drillbit Taylor is homeless. He panhandles by a freeway exit and lives on the beach. He’s also getting tired of how he’s being treated and wants to make enough money to go to
Drillbit Taylor presents itself as a family/kids’ film. I get that impression from the My Bodyguard ripped off story to the typical kids’ film stereotypes where most adults are idiots and the nerd triumphs in the end. The real problem with this family/kids’ movie setup is that you really might want to think twice before setting your child down in front of the film. If that’s the audience director Steven Brill, was aiming for, he was irresponsible in the amount of violence and bad language in the movie. I’m not a prude, and I certainly do not believe that films should be censored. I do believe that a filmmaker has some accountability when he is targeting children. The real shame is that this film doesn’t need all the F bombs and violence. The idea is brought across much better when none of those distractions are dominating the scene. There is no question that much of that material here is gratuitous.
The best part of this movie is the cast by far. Beyond Owen Wilson the kid leads are pretty good. I was particularly impressed with Troy Gentile who plays Ryan. The kid’s got a heck of a range. He appears to be having a lot of fun here, and his facial expressions are often priceless. Another strong supporting nod has to go to Danny McBride who plays Drillbit’s homeless friend, Don, who acts as the villain of sorts here. He might be a one dimensional character, but it plays well against
Some of this material also appears in my Upcomingdiscs.com review of the standard DVD.
Drillbit Taylor is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. There’s an unnecessary overuse of color correction on this film. Obviously it’s intended, but I have to say it makes the film look wacky to me. Everything is incredibly oversaturated. Colors are bright and clean but far from realistic. The film is often excessively dark even while depicting Drillbit out in a sunny afternoon at the beach. Black levels were good and fairly constant, but again nothing remarkable..
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is quite uninspiring to say the least. The film spends almost its entire time deeply mired in the mid ranges. Never does the film approach anything dynamic. Surrounds are often wasted with almost nothing to do. Dialog is there where you want it to be, but the good points end suddenly there. Sure, there was an occasional ambient sound to be heard, but mostly the presentation was quite droll and claustrophobic. My sub appeared to be taking a nap most of the time, and it seemed rude to awaken it for such unremarkable fare.
There is an Audio Commentary with Steven Brill and Kristofor Brown. The two are joined at points by the kids, which ramps up the fun value of an otherwise stale commentary. Turns out they’re talking without actually seeing the DVD release. A little strange.
It sure looks like this disc is loaded with extras, but most of these features are 2-3 minutes each. It sure would have been nice to just put them together. I know there are royalty issues, but this is too much.
Deleted Scenes: There are 13 scenes in all, tallying about 17 minutes. You have the play all option. Mostly these are extended scenes of something already there in some aspect or another. Turns out there’s a right way and a wrong way to throw a guy off a roof. Who would have thought?
The Writers Get A Chance To Talk: Kristofor Brown and Seth Rogen talk by phone while stills from the picture roll through in a slide show format. They have a few laughs, but never really take advantage of the chance to get into the film in any depth. I was a little surprised to hear during this 14 minute conversation that the film was originally written to be even more violent and profane.
Lin – O – Rama: This is a lot like deleted scenes but you can call this section of a little over 4 minutes deleted lines.
Panhandling: More footage of
Gag Reel: As if the entire film wasn’t a long gag reel, you get 4 minutes of flubs and tomfoolery.
Kids On The Loose: Very much like a gag reel, this is just under 3 minutes and depicts the kids clowning around on set.
Directing Kids: Director Steven Brill appears to be joking about how much of a chore it was dealing with the kids, but I get the impression this was not all tongue in cheek.
Super Billy: Billy O’Neil is in the spotlight here. He plays the wisecracking kid with the video phone taking footage during the film.
Bully: This 3 minute bit focuses on the film’s bullies.
Bodyguard: Here we see some of the actors in character who played the applicants for the job.
Trading Punches: This under two minute piece takes a look as the kids perform the scene where they punch each other to get used to taking hits before the big fight.
Sprinkler Day: Another 3 minute bit. This one takes us behind the wet set during the sprinkler scene.
Filis Fight: The climatic rumble is the subject of this 7 minute feature.
The Life Of Don: McBride stays in character for this fluff footage of Don the homeless guy’s philosophy on life. It’s only 2 minutes.
The Real Don: As if the last piece wasn’t enough, we get another with McBride as a 6 minute behind the scenes video journal type of thing.
Owen Wilson’s personal life has been very much in the news these days. First it was this weird fascination we seem to have for celebrities and who’s dating who. Then it was his suicide attempt that made headlines. Perhaps Drillbit Taylor was