When you look back on Owen Wilson's career, it's surprising to see that he's rarely headlined a film himself. From Zoolander to Shanghai Knights and The Wedding Crashers, he has always shared the load with other comedians. In Drillbit Taylor, however, Wilson has the film all to himself, aside from several teenage unknowns.
Drillbit Taylor will not go down as one of Wilson's funnier films, but it has enough laughs and entertainment to make it worth a rental. The movie, about a sarcastic bum who tricks a couple of high schoolers into paying him to protect them from a school bully, is likable enough. Wilson carries a lot of the jokes on his shoulders, and if you like Wilson's brand of humor, you'll probably like Drillbit Taylor. He gets a little obnoxious after a while, but that's nothing new.
Surprisingly, the real stars are Nate Hartley and Troy Gentile, two teenagers who get higher billing than the well-known star. Hartley and Gentile hold their own and make a pretty good on-screen couple. They're like a PG-rated version of the guys from Superbad (maybe PG-13-rated); not nearly as funny, but still likable and pretty entertaining.
The movie, which is co-written by Seth Rogen, is fairly clever considering its rudimentary plot; after all, the high school bully story has been done before. Nevertheless, Rogen and Kristofer Brown establish a ruthless villain you love to hate and avoid a lot of the pitfalls that high school comedies generally fall into. Drillbit Taylor isn't amazing, but it's entertaining enough.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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