DVD Review: Drillbit Taylor (Blu-ray)

Drillbit Taylor
Directed Steven Brill
Starring Owen Wilson, Nate Hartley, and Troy Gentile
Paramount Home Video
Release Date: July 1, 2008

I have to admit, when I started to watch Drillbit Taylor, I wasn’t expecting much. I am always wary of movies that ride the coattails of a film director’s previous success, in this Judd Apatow (who serves as a producer for this film). In this case though, I am happy to report that Drillbit Taylor is a rather pleasant surprise, thanks to the cast and their chemistry.

High School freshmen Wade and Ryan (Nate Hartley and Troy Gentile) try their best to “reinvent” themselves for the new school but things don’t turn out so good. First, they come to school in the same shirt and when Wade sticks his neck to aid a fellow school from a pair of bullies, things go from bad to worst. When the bullying becomes too much to bear, Wade decides to place an ad online seeking the help of a professional bodyguard. What they get is Drillbit Taylor (Owen Wilson), a former man of the military and now a homeless man. Using the gullible kids as cash cows at first, Taylor grows fond of the boys and tries to help them face the bullies head on.

While the movie’s named after character played by Owen Wilson, who essentially plays the same character he plays over and over again, the movie is thankfully focused on the two teenagers, Hartley and Gentile, who are a trip to watch. Both have really great on-screen chemistry with Wilson and just brings a real personable quality to the film whenever they are on the screen. Gentile in particular stands out. He is the stereotypical chubby kid but he does it with such honesty that it raises his performance. In fact, both characters are very relatable and human, thanks in part to the script.

Written by Kristofor Brown, who has written for Beavis and Butthead, and Seth Rogen, co-writer of Superbad, the duo manages to inject a lot of heart and comedy into the flick without the need to add high concept ideas or curse words. I am a big fan of dialogue that is a little blue but I think it takes a special kind of writer to write dialogue that is laugh out loud funny without having to use swear words. The story is also very down to earth and real. The movie is not about getting the girl (though there is a romance subplot between Wade and another girl) or kids trying to get girls, drugs, or beer. It is a simple story about two kids trying their best to survive high school, a story I think everyone can relate to.

Now, I do not have an HD TV so I am unsure if the blu-ray disc is any clearly than its regular dvd brother so I cannot comment on that. What I can tell you is that there are plenty of extras on this blu ray disc, ranging from a gag reel, commentaries, deleted and alternate scenes, and a lot of behind the scenes material. My personal favorite is the feature on how they shot the final battle scene between the kids and the bullies. A lot of the extras are really just padding but for fans of the movie, I am sure they wouldn’t mind sticking around and watching a three minute piece on a background actor.

Drillbit Taylor might not be a perfect movie, but its honest, no frills storytelling is a surprise treat for anyone that is looking for a sweet, sometimes sour movie.

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