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DVD Review: Drillbit Taylor (Extended Survival Edition)


Owen Wilson seems to play the same character in every movie he does, and Drillbit Taylor is NOT and exception to this trend. This could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how much you like the guy. Here he plays the title character of Drillbit Taylor, a homeless guy who answers a want-ad filed by three nerdy highschool freshman looking for a bodyguard to protect them from a pair of truly heinous bullies. Although the basic premise sounds like a bit of a stretch, I could still believe that this would be somewhere within the realm of being possible. Unfortunately, too much else in the movie goes so completely overboard that all sense of reality goes flying out the window, leaving us with feeling that absolutely anything could happen, like maybe the kid's will train in a 90 second montage and all of a sudden become martial arts experts that can beat up bullies twice their size.

We first meet our two despicable bullies as they are trying to shove some tiny, uber-geeky freshman into a locker. As Wade and Ryan, two best friends who accidentally wore the same shirt on their first day of high school, witness this event, Wade decides to ignore Ryan's warnings and speak up. His heroism ends up getting the two kids stuffed together in each others' shirts. And all this is happening out in a crowded school hallway, which presents its first logistical issue... where are the staff? It's not like these guys are being discrete. In fact, they're downright noisy. In any real high school, even if there weren't any teachers actually in the hall, they would surely come out from their classrooms to see what's going on and put a stop to it.

From that point on, the torturing gets worse... way worse. And it's not just physical beatings, they also destroy the boy's personal property, taking and smashing their stuff, or pouring soda all over their laptop computer. This is way beyond bullying, as these are serious offenses. Forget detention, or even expulsion, these bullies could easily be charged and locked up. And yet nothing ever happens to them. They do all this stuff in front of anybody and everybody, and yet nothing. Even forgetting all the witnesses, all one of the kids has to do is videotape a single instance and that would be enough evidence to go to the police. But nope, nada. To the filmmakers, these bullies have to be truly evil so that the audience will be ecstatic to see them lose in the end.

Okay, so in comes Drillbit Taylor. He takes the bodyguard job, but only so that he can rob the kids and use the money to move to Canada for some non-important reason. Right, so we have absolutely absurd bullies, and now a guy that's supposed to be the hero completely disgusts us. So far, I'm not getting that great a vibe from this flick. Of course, we all know that eventually Drillbit will become fond of the kids, but while this process is happening we see him giving useless training to these kids so that each day they continue to get beat up even more. The advice and training does not help. In fact, sometimes it actually makes things worse.

Eventually, Drillbit ends up going undercover as a substitute teacher, and this is where yet another logistical issue, as besides the fact that absolutely nobody knows who he is yet they let him in the school to teach without any problems whatsoever, he also seems to be substituting in every single one of their classes, which makes NO sense. And how come the two bullies, who are seniors, are in several of the same classes as the freshmen? Including gym? In fact, the bullies seem to be the only two seniors in that gym class. And how is Drillbit's homeless buddies also able to sneak in the school and work as substitue teachers just because they put on a bad suit and hold a coffee mug? There is too much that is bogus here. I know, why doesn't Drillbit put on a nametag that says "president" and then order the police to arrest the bullies for matters of national security?

Despite all the problems, there are some pretty funny scenes in here. They are scattered throughout, and definitely aren't good enough to make this a must-see film, but they are good enough to make me not hate this movie. If the comedy had fallen flat, this movie would have easily been terrible, so at least they were able to pull that off and make this watchable. Probably the highlight for me was Ryan's rap scene. I also enjoyed seeing Troy Gentile, the actor who plays Ryan, learn how to rap in one of the extra features on the disc. Other extra features include a commentary, an audio conversation between the two writers, a bunch of deleted and extended scenes, a gag reel, a "line-o-rama" featurette, and some making-of stuff. Most of this stuff was pretty typical, but then it's not like the movie was anything revolutionary. Bottom line, I'd say rent it or catch in on television.

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