Drillbit Taylor (2008) - Extended Survival Edition

Genre(s): Comedy
Paramount || Unrated - 109 minutes - $34.99 || July 1, 2008
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2008-06-30


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Steven Brill
Writer(s): Kristofer Brown & Seth Rogen (written by)
Cast: Owen Wilson, Leslie Mann, Danny McBride, Josh Peck, Troy Gentile, Nate Hartley, David Dorfman


Theatrical Release Date: March 21, 2008


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Director, Co-Writer & Cast Commentary
  • The Writers Get a Chance to Talk
  • Deleted & Extended Scenes
  • Line-O-Rama
  • Gag Reel
  • Rap Off
  • Sprinkler Day
  • Bully
  • Directing Kids
  • The Real Don: Danny McBride


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

Judd Apatow is usually gold with his movies. The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Superbad and Forgetting Sarah Marshall have found box office and audience success. But even the greats have slip ups, and Drillbit Taylor is one of them.

Best pals Wade (Hartley) and Ryan (Gentile) are entering high school full of hope and... utter fear. After Wade stands up to the school bully (Frost) after trying to stuff another student, Emmit (Dorfman; The Ring) into a locker, Wade and Ryan have caught the ire of Filkins (the bully), who wants to make their high school experience a living hell. With Emmit, now a part of their group, they decide they need to hire a bodyguard to protect them at school and to take care of Filkins. After interviewing several pros (like Chuck Liddell and Adam Baldwin), they discover the cash they have can’t get you very far.

Owen Wilson is Drillbit Taylor, a homeless “veteran” who panhandles and just generally mooches off of society. He lives near a highway and showers on the beach. Wanting to get out of town and move to Canada for a fresh start (where he needs $387), he agrees to “protect” the boys. He tells them he has special skills in combat, fighting overseas and is just an all around bad ass soldier. The problem? Yeah, he’s a phony. Taylor went to Iraq... for one day, but went AWOL and returned to the States. But lying to the kids won’t stop him from his new start and his other buds get wind of the scheme and also want in.

Drillbit Taylor is a C-class comedy. There are some funny parts and some of that Apatow heart near the end, but everything in between isn’t very funny. Owen Wilson has proven to be a funny actor, even if he plays the same kind of character every time (the misunderstood, wisecracking but deep down is a kind person, character). Wilson here has some funny scenes and his banter with Leslie Mann is cute. The rest, though, falls pretty flat.

What made Superbad so good and a crowd pleaser were its unknown cast and even though Nate Hartley and Troy Gentile have good chemistry together, the screenplay doesn’t give them much to work with, which is strange given co-written by Seth Rogen. I expected more from a Rogen/Apatow team-up (and apparently John Hughes had a hand in the story), even if it is behind the camera, and on a primal level, Drillbit Taylor is a movie with too much dead silence and not enough solid laughs.

Drillbit Taylor is a poorly executed comedy. There’s an idea there and if you’re a big Owen Wilson fan, you might find this to be better than most as he plays the same kind of character as he’s done before (I like the guy, but his range seems to be limited). Also, perhaps those who grew up and under the public school system will find the movie more enjoyable, but going to a small private school (with its share of small-time bullying, nothing serious), I couldn’t really relate to these characters. This will be a film that is probably worth renting, but owning it? Not right now.

The version I saw, labeled “Extended Survival Edition”, supposedly has around 7 extra minutes versus the theatrical version (102 v. 109).



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Paramount is releasing 3 versions of Drillbit Taylor: Blu-ray, 1-disc theatrical version and this 2-disc “Extended Survival Edition”.

Feature Commentary – Director Steven Brill and writer Kristofer Brown provide an informative commentary track with the three young stars, David Dorfman, Troy Gentile and Nate Hartley join individually throughout (staying for like 15 minutes or so). I actually would’ve preferred a group commentary, but I guess this was the best way to keep order.

The Writers Get a Chance to Talk (13:57) – Screenwriters Kristofor Brown and Seth Rogen chat a little about Drillbit Taylor. Rogen does his conversation via speaker phone from the set of, I believe, Pineapple Express. The two have a good time talking about the movie and give some insight in the writing process.

Deleted/Extended Scenes (17:00) – 13 scenes have been included and I must admit, a few of them were actually funny. I think a short intro or commentary from the director would’ve helped to explain why some weren’t even added back in for this extended edition.

Last is a staple of any Apatow Production. The Line-O-Rama (4:26) is just a compilation of lines from the cast doing various takes on some scenes. And the gag reel (4:06) features flubbed lines, pratfalls... all contained here for your amusement.

The following features are exclusive to the “Extended Survival Edition”:

Rap Off (3:36) gives a behind-the-scenes glimpse at Troy Gentile get ready for his rap off scene (along with Alex Frost who plays bully Filkins); Sprinkler Day (3:26) is another behind-the-scenes featurette showcasing the scene where Drillbit sets off the sprinkler system at the high school; Bully (2:59) is focused on Filkins (Frost) and his bud, Ronnie (Peck); Directing Kids (3:02) is just about director Steven Brill’s thoughts on directing the kids in this movie with some joking around; and finally The Real Don: Danny McBride is about the actor who plays one of Drillbit’s less scrupulous friends.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

Drillbit Taylor is presented in anamorphic widescreen with a 2.35 OAR. The picture is clean and clear with colors coming across fairly vibrantly. As far as comedies go, it looks like a solid transfer.

A Dolby Digital 5.1 track handles all the dialog and occasional ambient noises well enough. The disc also offers the same 5.1 audio in French and Spanish.



.::OVERALL::.

Drillbit Taylor could’ve been a good comedy but the jokes don’t entirely work and the concept gets a little tired after a bit. As much as I enjoy Owen Wilson’s movies, he just isn’t given much to do here and without someone like Vince Vaughn or another comedian, the jokes fail to hit the bulls eye. I do think this movie might be more relatable to products of the public school system and those who dealt with serious bullying.