Hollywood Product - Drillbit Taylor
GENRE: High school comedy/Owen Wilson vehicle
THE PITCH: Three meek high schoolers (Nate Hartley, Troy Gentile and David Dorfman) persecuted by a psycho bully (Alex Frost) hire super-soldier Drillbit Taylor (Owen Wilson) to be their bodyguard, unaware that he's actually a nonconfrontational homeless panhandler.
MONEY SHOTS: An average passer-by gives a beat-down to one of the boys' potential bodyguards. Gentile's character takes on the bully with rap ("like in 8 Mile!") only to incur further wrath. The bully receives a satisfying comeuppance, but not satisfying enough to justify the film's endless hazing and humiliation scenes.
BEST LINE (SORT OF): Drillbit dreams of moving to Canada and says, "What about a British Columbian girl — doesn't that sound like a potent mix?" (I think he's suggesting the girl is part British, part Columbian.)
WORST LINE: "Sometimes you get a little Mexican Judo, as in 'Judon't know who you're messin' with,'" says Drillbit as he tries to teach the boys self-defense. It's also pretty lame when he claims to be "Dr. Illbit" when he poses as a substitute teacher at the boy's school.
FASHION STATEMENTS: The boys start off high school on the wrong foot by accidentally wearing the same outfit, which includes a red devil bowling shirt (that's actually pretty cool). By the end, the matching shirts become a badge of honor. Drillbit makes a different kind of fashion statement when he removes his filthy socks and they literally stand up on their own.
FLESH FACTOR: Drillbit twice showers in broad daylight by the beach, providing two Owen Wilson buffalo shots. (Hartley and Gentile have shower scenes early on, but fortunately they're shot from the chest up.)
PRODUCT PLACEMENT: Drillbit makes an important phone call in front of a conspicuous Verizon logo. Drillbit mentions Cap'n Crunch in one scene, and is shown eating some a little later.
POP REFERENCES: Skinny Hartley is nicknamed "Skeletor." The boys learn self-defense by watching scenes from The Untouchables and Fight Club. David Koechner, Matt Walsh, Lisa Lampanelli and Alec Baldwin make cameos, but they're not that memorable.
SIX DEGREES OF JUDD APATOW: The defining funny filmmaker of our time serves as a producer here (and has two assistants listed in the credits), and his wife, Leslie Mann, plays a teacher with the hots for Drillbit. Knocked Up leading man Seth Rogen co-wrote the screenplay, which has some structural similarities to Superbad (which he also co-wrote). Both feature the same basic trio of friends: a deer-in-the-headlights thin one, a profane, curly-haired fat one, and an even more immature geeky one.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Let the Apatow backlash begin! Overlong and under-funny, Drillbit Taylor wastes plot points pilfered from My Bodyguard and School of Rock, as well as Wilson's easygoing but increasingly familiar charms and some promising young actors. Superbad showed cleverness and insights about adolescent friendships, but Drillbit Taylor isn't Superbad; it's just plain bad.