1 hour, 42 minutes
Matinee ($$$) <
> Second-Run Seats ($$)
Owen Wilson (Shanghai Noon) portrays Drillbit Taylor, an AWOL Army Ranger who's made a life for himself panhandling and dumpster-diving. When he's evicted from his ocean view lean-to, Drillbit decides it's Canada or bust. Before he can go north, he decides to scam some kids out of their money by agreeing to be their bodyguard against the high school bully. Torn between his homeless colleagues' ruthless intentions and his growing conscience, Drillbit 's carefree life is in danger of being filled with hard-learned lessons and emotional fulfillment.
Hollywood's latest golden boy, Seth Rogen (Superbad), co-wrote Taylor with help from Tom Green Show scribe Kristofor Brown and '80's teen icon John Hughes. When you hit it big like Rogen, it's inevitable that the crap in your portfolio will rise to the top. I wish I could be so lucky that even my shit ideas were produced, but Rogen is and audiences are not. I enjoyed Drillbit Taylor. I remember laughing many times. That's all I really remember. Well, that and Wilson's ass, but that's for other reasons. Within two hours, I found this movie nearly all but forgotten. Why?
The dialogue doesn't snap, but there are moments when you know Wilson is just shoveling it from off the cuff. The situations are bland. Again, Wilson peps up moments that seem far-fetched and forced. All, and I mean all, the characters are one-dimensional. The school bully, Filkins, played by Alex Frost, is the most sadistic and overbearing person on the planet. It is impossible a student like him could exist without some sort of authoritative intervention. Even worse, the writers want us to swallow that parents will side against their children?! I know the kids were bullied in the movie; now let me bully Nate Hartley, Troy Gentile (Good Luck Chuck), and David Dorfman (The Ring), too. Boys, it helps not to laugh when you're supposed to be irate. Granted, sometimes a comedic talent like Wilson can have you so in stitches that it can't be helped, but I wasn't laughing nearly that hard, and you shouldn't have been either.
Even worse is that so many supporting actors are wasted. Leslie Mann (Knocked Up) is little more than a blow-up doll for Wilson's amorous ways. Danny "Bust-Ass" McBride (Hot Rod), Cedric Yarbrough (Reno 911!), Lisa Lampanelli (Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector), and Stephen Root (Idiocracy) do little more than fill the gaps between funny moments. All these problems I blame on the writers and on director Steve Brill (Mr. Deeds) who could have (and should have) given us material worthy of the Knocked Up/Superbad promotional hype.
I think I've already mentioned Wilson's ass, which is featured as prominently as his crooked nose. Some brutal teen abuse at the hands of an insanely maniacal bully and lots of foul 'ball' and 'shit' references makes you feel like you're right back in high school, at least some extreme version of it.
The Money Shot
I admit I am being harsh to a movie that was pretty funny; heck, far funnier than many flicks I've seen. Two days later, the only things I remember most are that the bully was a mega-douche and Wilson's funniest moment came when he whipped out the line "crap on a shit sandwich." I rest my case.
Monday, March 24, 2008