Not the Sharpest Tool
I've come to watch a new Owen Wilson movie with an element of trepidation, because for every enjoyable comedy such as "Wedding Crashers" you also get something like "You, Me and Dupree" which at best is mediocre. Which side does "Drillbit Taylor" land on; well it lands on the mediocre side because this is a movie void of new ideas and full of lame jokes. From nerds getting picked on through to lousy parents, romance to bullying "Drillbit Taylor" feels like a movie built upon a pile of cliches. And whilst the idea of 3 nerds hiring themselves a bodyguard as they are constantly bullied has potential that potential is never explored in favour of delivering daft and obvious ideas. To put it simply "Drillbit Taylor" is another uninspiring Owen Wilson comedy which does little more than rework a variety of cliches and old jokes.
Wade (Nate Hartley) and his friend Ryan (Troy Gentile) are looking forward to their first day at High School that is until they show up in identical shirts, meet the geeky Emmett and before they know it our being bullied by Filkins (Alex Frost) who plans to make their whole year a misery. Having tried to deal with Filkins the proper way Wade, Ryan and Emmett decide to do it their way and hire themselves a body guard to deal with Filkins and the only one they can hire is Drillbit Taylor (Owen Wilson - Night at the Museum). What they don't know is that Drillbit, is a bum who hustles people for cash and takes showers on the beach and has a plan to rip off these rich kids so he can get himself to Canada even if it means masquerading as a teacher.
There are basically 2 ideas going on in "Drillbit Taylor" and the first of these is these 3 high school juniors who roll up on their first day expecting this to be the start of a new life only to end up being bullied. Not very original is it, and whilst there are some amusing moments leading up to this as they threat about their first day, how to act cool and so on it soon ends up as a montage of bullying. So we see these 3 newbs, these 3 completely stupid and frankly quite annoying geeks end up being stuffed in lockers, harassed in the toilets, taped to chairs and thrown down corridors and so on. But none of it is that funny, so yes watching Emmett almost getting stuffed into a locker is amusing but it ends up all a little repetitive.
But the other idea going on and what is really the main idea is that these 3 geeks hire themselves a bodyguard to protect them whilst also training them up. What they don't know is that he is a bum, who uses the shower on the beach for his morning wash and hustles drivers in traffic jams for cash. Now to start with this is amusing but again it grows repetitive as Drillbit pretty much scavenges for food whilst ripping off these kids with fake self defence lessons and so on. It gets to the point that you start hoping either for something different or for it to end.
Well it does sort of do something different but having Drillbit masquerading as a teacher and falling for fellow teacher Lisa is not a clever idea. In fact the minute that happens you can forget wondering how it's all going to end because you know Drillbit's cover will be blown not only as a bum masquerading as a teacher but these geeks will learn that he is a fraud who has been ripping them off. Oh and any movie which features geeks getting bullied means the geeks have to win come the end even if it's with some help from someone looking for redemption..
The problem is that all this unoriginality wouldn't be an issue if the jokes were funny but sadly they're not. So okay I laughed at the scene where the bullies get a bit of comeuppance in the gym as they get stuck on short ropes high up on the wall but that is one of only a handful of scenes which did. It is all too repetitive, recycling gags such as the geeks getting beaten up far too many times as it does with the sex sessions Drillbit has with fellow teacher Lisa in one of the classrooms. And whilst 110 minutes isn't long it ends up feeling like an eternity for a movie which ends up struggling to make you laugh.
Now there is no denying that Owen Wilson is a funny guy and in many ways he is the best thing about "Drillbit Taylor" but he struggles to make the humour work. In the scenes he shares with Leslie Mann who plays Lisa, the opening flirtations are funny because she brings the best out of him, delivering comedy on the same level. But then in all the other scenes especially those Wilson shares with the young actors he almost seems to be coasting, going through the motions because he's not being pushed by someone who is his equal. And sadly when it comes to our young geeks, a cliche trio of skinny, fat and whiney, well Troy Gentile, Ian Roberts and David Dorfman may give it their all but this trio end up not only annoying but stupidly annoying. Yes the stupid part is meant to be funny, but being annoying just puts the kibosh on them being amusing.
What this all boils down to is that once again "Drillbit Taylor" ends up another disappointing Owen Wilson movie which relies too much on him to make it work. It seems like Wilson needs an equal, someone to push him to get the best out of him and with no one to really push him it feels like he is just going through the motions. it doesn't help that it is not only very cliche and unoriginal but "Drillbit Taylor" is also very repetitive and when a joke isn't funny the first time it's not going to be any funnier the 5th or 6th time.