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Bad But Compelling: Drillbit Taylor

Published March 20, 2008 in Movie Reviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Paramount Pictures
Drillbit Taylor Poster Drillbit Taylor
Drillbit Taylor is not a good movie, but you can watch it. As opposed to You, Me and Dupree which was so bad it was painful. Drillbit Taylor was bad, but more compelling.

Movie Review: Drillbit Taylor


It's Owen Wilson doing his usual thing, this time the happy homeless routine. As usual, he has big plans that don't involve making any productive effort on his part. He shows his butt in the public shower and does his whiny speeches. Some of them have a punch.

The kids are the saving grace. Even though they talk gangsta and geek references, they are cute enough. The awkwardness of wearing the same shirt is. They're updated to the point that they mention YouTube fight videos, but that'll feel old in a few years when this is on Comedy Central.

They do the high school bullies right. They outright explain that they are just bored by school, so they do this. The bully montage is just slapstick and they kind of use the action movie hierarchy. He's emancipated which makes him above the law, so he is the villain of a Steven Seagal movie (to whom Wilson also makes reference later.) The most accurate is how he plays nice to the teachers and parents so he can continue getting away with it.

The bodyguard cameos are awesome, even though you know they're going to end up with Wilson. They find lots of ways to avoid hitting children but still protect the nerds from the bullies.



The film's "heart" is probably the most half assed. The boys bonding together is only slightly more interesting than their bonding with Drillbit. On the most superficial level of making a material gesture, they fill the plot point that they have to be set up for a major disappointment.

The references are really odd. They drop pop culture like To Catch a Predator which is way too easy, then they do the most obscure '80s cameo ever and the music from Cape Fear. Not even a Simpson-ized version of it, it's that music.

By the time the kids do stand up for themselves, it is heartfelt. You like them enough and have seen them go through so much that it is about time they take care of themselves. When the film becomes an adolescent Never Back Down, devolving into total gratuitous violence, it's so incongruous with everything else that it doesn't even matter. You just enjoy the wreckage.

So I don't mind Drillbit Taylor but why was I watching it? Oh yeah, I get paid to.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Paramount Pictures
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