Saturday, 18 August 2012

Drillbit Taylor (2008)

Written by Kristofor Brown and Seth Rogen and directed by Steven Brill, Drillbit Taylor is a fairly enjoyable comedy that won't become anyone's favourite but that passes the time pleasantly enough and has a few scenes that should make you grin.

Two young lads (Nate Hartley and Troy Gentile) are about to start high school and want everything to go right. But everything goes horribly wrong for them and they find themselves a) with a new friend (David Dorfman) who is also a liability and b) the main target of some insane bully boys (Josh Peck and Alex Frost, with the latter playing the more psychotic of the two). In desperation, the young lads decided to hire themselves a bodyguard. They want someone well-trained and up to the task but they can't afford the best of the best so end up thinking that they're bagged a bargain when they hire Drillbit Taylor (Owen Wilson). Drillbit Taylor, however, isn't quite the great man that he makes himself out to be. He's a homeless man who makes his money most days by begging amongst the slow-moving traffic. Maybe helping the kids out can give him a chance to help himself. Or maybe it will all end badly.

Based on a story idea by the late John Hughes, AKA king of the teen flicks, Drillbit Taylor coasts along thanks to a good, varied cast and a few highlights interspersed throughout. Owen Wilson plays the character that you've seen him play numerous times before, and it's a bit stale this time around, but the supporting cast includes some great turns from the younger cast members and fun moments for Danny McBride, Stephen Root and Leslie Mann.

Where the film falls down is the tone. It ranges from the light and funny to the twisted and the, at times, very dark. Annoyingly, both ends of the spectrum have moments that make for interesting and/or entertaining viewing but they're just not blended together well, leaving the film feeling more like an abstract and unsatisfying mosaic than a complete and satisfying work.

If you saw the trailer for this already then you'll already know if you're going to like it or not. It's exactly what you expect it to be. Fun cameo appearances from David Koechner, Frank Whaley and Adam Baldwin (wearing his jacket from My Bodyguard) help but the movie certainly never comes close to being unmissable.


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