Friday, March 28, 2008

Thoughts on the film: Drillbit Taylor

Last night I went to a screening of Drillbit Taylor followed by a Q&A with co-writer Kristofor "Why the hell did your parents do that to your name" Brown.

There is no doubt this movie is funny. I laughed quite a bit at lines and physical comedy and everything. But part of the reason I laughed so much is because this film just keeps throwing joke after joke at the screen until something hits. There were many jokes that were so incredibly on the nose that they drew a complete blank stare from the audience.

Minor Spoilers

For example, Owen Wilson walks in to meet the boys for the first time looking like a tough, world weary veteran.

"They say it's an army of one," he says. "But they don't really mean it."

That's a funny joke. I laughed. You get the idea that he's trying to set himself up as a hero.

But he doesn't stop there. Instead he proceeds to kill the joke by explaining it further. I don't remember the line, but I remember being slightly offended that the film decided I was too slow to get the joke so they felt the need to keep it going past its lifespan.

And there are some really obvious jokes here too. In fact there's not much in this movie that's unexpected, which is why it drags.

There's a good story here. Drillbit is a homeless guy who needs money to go to Canada. These boys need protection from a bully at school so they hire him to do it, but he sucks at the job and it's just a scam to get their money.

The problem is he isn't a bad guy really because he's Owen Wilson and it's kind of impossible not to love Owen Wilson. Brown said initially they had a couple of scenes that showed him doing a few nastier things but took them out, I guess to make sure the audience didn't hate him.

The problem with that is it gave his character very small room to grow. The central question for this character is, will Drillbit learn to love these boys and stop scamming them? But the thing is, you kind of know from the second he meets them that he will so you're just waiting for it to happen.

And that's why it drags. The story is stretched too long.

Brown said it was because he and Seth Rogan who co-wrote this with him were trying to pay homage to John Hughes and the eighties high school movie, not trying to invent the wheel. In fact, they sat down with My Bodyguard (this film even had an Adam Baldwin cameo) and analyzed it scene by scene as part of their research.

There were a few scenes that benefited from the copycat syndrome. The most notable being a Ferris Bueller move that took an unexpected twist and got a big laugh. But overall if your movie feels too much like a mishmash of similar films, why am I watching it? I'd rather watch the original.

Overall it was a decent film. Like I said, it made me laugh quite a bit, so as a comedy it was a success. But it's a film that will likely be forgotten in very short order, and that's a shame because it could have been more.


  1. Rumor has it, or at least I read it somewhere, that this was based on an old treatment written by John Hughes. That's the word on the street anyway.

    I think Owen Wilson is hilarious in certain types of roles (Royal Tennenbaums). I'll probably see it because I'm also a big Seth Rogen nerd.

  2. He brought that up in the Q&A. Hughes wrote a 60 page "scriptment" but they were never allowed to see it. The studio didn't want it clouding their ability to write freely. So Hughes, under an assumed name for some reason, rewrote it as a two page premise and that's what Rogan and Brown worked from.

  3. Anonymous10:31 PM

    So Hughes, under an assumed name for some reason, rewrote it as a two page premise and that's what Rogan and Brown worked from.

    Edmund Dantes. He uses the name when he's not happy with how some work of his turned out.

  4. Anonymous1:11 PM

    Apparently, you and I saw two different Drillbit Taylor movies. I saw the one that was a complete waste of my free time and you saw one one which was moderately funny. But I will say even the most of the critics agree with me.

  5. Yep. That's why they call it an opinion.

    But if you actually read what I wrote you'll notice I pointed out that this film has a ton of flaws. That didn't stop it from making me laugh, but I never said it was a good film either.

  6. I read almost half the script & then stopped. There was maybe 2 mild chuckles in it.

    Remimded me too much of SUPERBAD which i thought was more annoying than funny.

    While I was reading DT I thought: update of My Bodyguard. But I didn't know the writers had STUDIED it... yikes...

    Ripoff an 80s movie. Recycle your own shit.



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