Drillbit Taylor was directed by Steve Brill who has connections in the comedy movie world to Adam Sandler backed productions as well as Judd Apatow; directing such movies as Mr. Deeds and Little Nicky and acting in such movies as Knocked Up. The screenplay disperses credit to Kristofer Brown who wrote for many episodes of Beavis and Butthead and Seth Rogen the actor who has truly blossomed at the box office under the wing of Judd Apatow. On Drillbit Taylor Apatow was indeed present as a producer and once again it feels like a production influenced by his apparent infatuation with freaks and geeks; yes, Freaks and Geeks like one of Apatow’s television shows.
Drillbit Taylor stars Owen Wilson, though he shares screen time with a main trio of child actors by the names of: Nate Hartley, Troy Gentile, and David Dorfman. The story involves a group of geeky kids starting high school and facing the violent wrath of an extreme bully. Desperate for help they use the internet to hire a bodyguard in the form of the homeless con man Drillbit Taylor. Will Taylor solve the children’s problems or rob them blind for his own well being?
This movie is cute in all the right places, which almost makes it feel like too much of a heartwarming formula comedy. However, the zany edge and interesting cast make those aspects very endurable. The movie is indeed funny in several places, but it is more like a fun mix of witty dialog and the occasional physical gag as opposed to being a non-stop laugh romp. Then again, what movies really are non-stop laugh romps? It seems that many comedies when they aren’t actually making you laugh: drag. However, what saves Drillbit Taylor is the weird looking kids, because when there isn’t joke they are freakshow entertainment more or less to look at. In the end what tied everything together and really made me want to applaud this comedy: the violence. The ending to the movie is a no holds barred, well executed action sequence and quite enjoyable. I also enjoyed the fact that the romance sub-plot of the script, avoided being weighed on too heavily and becoming the same average sub-plot of every comedy. In this case it merely served to load up a couple more funny scenarios.
In the opening of the film a boom mike almost hits one of the actors in the head and that stood out as an error to me. However, that is a common error in theater shown films due to various issues of some sort or another such as screen size and the cut of the film; yadda yadda or something like that. However, a logical error is in place when Drillbit is coming clean about certain issues and reveals that he never really killed a man with a drill bit to earn his name. This moment makes no sense because nowhere in the film I saw did he ever explain his name or claim to kill someone with a drill bit. I am sure the eventual home release of this film will clean up said issues.
Drillbit Taylor was funny and entertaining with just the right mix in what could have been a cliché formula, especially coming from something Apatow is involved with. Many critics don’t agree with my positive attitude towards the movie, but then again I didn’t see eye to eye with most on You, Me, and Depree also starring Owen Wilson. Both movies overcame bad trailers and word of mouth to actually entertain me. Good stuff.