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March 26, 2008
Drillbit Taylor Needs More Grounding, Less Silliness
By Nathaniel Shockey
Steven Brill’s Drillbit Taylor is not horrendous. But it is a far
cry from anything Judd Apatow has ever directed, which I wouldn’t
mention, except that this movie seems to be aiming for the same genre.
Judd Apatow is one of this movie’s producers, which is why the movie is
advertised as coming “from the producers of Knocked Up and
Superbad”. You get the feeling that Judd Apatow is just trying to
help out his friends by adhering himself to this movie. After all, Seth
Rogen is one of the writers.
The movie just didn’t have much going for it. It was too silly for too
long and I didn’t really care about the characters until about three
quarters of the way in.
The main problem is that the movie is never grounded. Kids need adults
around – sane adults, normal adults, believable adults. But there aren’t
any in this movie with prominent enough roles to make the audience feel
like anything really matters. The adults don’t have to be perfect, but
they do have to act like adults. Perhaps the best example of this
is Robin William’s character in Good Will Hunting. He exploited
the messiness of all the conflict in the movie, and it gave the movie a
much deeper meaning. But if you’ve ever seen Kids, which you
shouldn’t see because you’ll want to get into a tub with a curling iron
afterward, you’ll feel torturous because there weren’t any adults around
to keep things sane (which was the movie’s point, and it proved it
But if you’re going to have a movie with no real grounding, it should,
at the very least, be believable. Drillbit Taylor isn’t, and it
is also not quite silly enough to pass as a Blades of Glory or
practically any of Will Ferrell’s silly movies.
couple of other gripes: There’s this evasive third dorky musketeer in
the movie called “Emmit” who pledges his allegiance to the gang after
Wade (one of the main dorks) saves him from getting stuck in a tiny
locker. He’s an odd character, not in the sense of his personality, but
in the sense of the character not really having a point. Near the end of
the movie, he leaves the gang because Wade challenges the main bully to
a fight, and Emmit is apparently a pacifist. He runs away in one of
those moments that made me ask, “What just happened?” and it didn’t make
any sense until he makes a grand entrance to the climactic (and way too
violent) battle royale at the end of the movie. It really seems like
Emmit’s only purpose is to initially get the two main dorks in trouble
and eventually crash the fight at the end of the movie, which is also
strange. I don’t think it was the fault of the actor, David Dorfman, as
much as the swing-and-miss writing.
make matters worse, it seems to steal another movie’s idea. Drillbit
Taylor is a thief, and his main plan is to steal from the rich kid
dorks, but it all unravels when the dorks find Taylor’s robber friends
robbing one of their houses. Taylor feels awful at this point, and his
robber friends are completely disappointed with him for going soft. I
was sure I was watching a lousy version of the scene where Greg Kinnear
gets severely beaten in As Good As It Gets.
did laugh audibly several times. Owen Wilson is sometimes funny, and I
think it might be a good idea to just call his character “Owen Wilson”
in any movie he’s ever in, or maybe “Hansel,” the sole exception being
any time he is the voice of an animated car.
The two main kids are amusing and handle their roles well, especially
Troy Gentile, who plays Ryan. He’s very funny, and I didn’t even realize
he was the kid who played the young “JB” in Tenacious D in the Pick
of Destiny until I looked it up. Nate Hartley never really captures
any scenes like his counterpart, but he is still engaging. I could have
sworn I caught him cracking up at Owen Wilson during the scene when
Drillbit is auditioning to be their bodyguard, even though he is
supposed to appear nervous. I could be wrong about that, but I don’t
plan on watching the movie again to figure it out.
you never see this movie, you won’t be missing much. But still, it’s
silly and often funny. I’d consider it a renter, but that might be a
stars out of 5
© 2008 North Star Writers
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