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DREAMWORKS

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Steven Brill
Cast:
Owen Wilson, Casey Boersma, Dylan Boersma, Lisa Ann Walter, Beth Littleford, Nate Hartley, Troy Gentile, Ian Roberts
Writing Credits:
Kristofor Brown (and story), Seth Rogen (and story), John Hughes (story)

Tagline:
You get what you pay for.

Synopsis:
Owen Wilson gives a hilariously funny performance as a beach bum soldier of fortune who is hired by three high schoolers being tormented by the resident school bullies. It's nerds get revenge in a big way with sidesplitting deleted scenes not shown in theaters and outrageous outtakes you'll want to watch over and over. You wont be able to stop laughing as Drillbit (Wilson) trains these kids so they can ultimately turn the tables and exact their revenge!

Box Office:
Budget
$40 million.
Opening Weekend
$10.309 million on 3056 screens.
Domestic Gross
$32.802 million.

MPAA:
Rated NR

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 2.35:1/16x9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish

Runtime: 109 min.
Price: $34.99
Release Date: 7/1/2008

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Director Steven Brill, Writer Kristofor Brown, and Actors Troy Gentile, Nate Hartley and David Dorfman
• Deleted and Extended Scenes
• “The Writers Get a Chance to Talk” Featurette
• “Line-O-Rama”
• Gag Reel
• “Rap Off” Featurette
• “Sprinkler Day” Featurette
• “Bully” Featurette
• “Directing Kids” Featurette
• “The Real Don: Danny McBride” Featurette
• Previews


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Harman/Kardon DPR 2005 7.1 Channel Receiver; Toshiba A-30 HD-DVD/1080p Upconverting DVD Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Drillbit Taylor: Extended Survival Edition (2008)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 19, 2008)

Back in 1980, My Bodyguard offered a gentle look at a bullied teenage boy who hires a bigger dude to protect him from his peers. That theme gets a 21st century update with the much more broadly comedic Drillbit Taylor. In this flick, we meet two high school freshmen: rail-thin Wade (Nate Hartley) and chubby Ryan (Troy Gentile). They hope to have a great first year, but things go awry on opening day. When bullies try to shove tiny Emmit (David Dorfman) in a locker, Wade stands up for him.

This doesn’t go well. Domineering and violent Terry Filkins (Alex Frost) targets the pair for his reign of terror, and he adds Emmit to the bunch when he starts to pal around with the other boys. After a while the guys tire of their daily torture, so they decide to take an extreme step: they hire a bodyguard. They can’t afford much, so they end up with Drillbit Taylor (Owen Wilson), a homeless vet hard up for money. We follow their path as they attempt to deal with the bullying.

Research shows that 84 percent of the movies made over the last couple of years involve Judd Apatow and/or Seth Rogen. They participate in Taylor as well; Rogen acted as co-writer, while Apatow was co-produced it.

That means a certain level of familiarity comes out here, especially when compared with 2007’s Superbad. That flick featured a shy, scrawny nerd and a fat, curly-headed one as they try to finish high school on a high note. Here we get a shy, scrawny nerd and a fat, curly-headed one as they attempt to start high school in a positive way. The two flicks aren’t clones, but they clearly come from the same gene pool.

To be sure, Taylor shows some of the standard Apatow trademarks. Though not to the ridiculous degree seen with efforts like Knocked Up or 40-Year-Old Virgin, it’s too long. The filmmakers could’ve easily trimmed a good 15 to 20 minutes here and made the movie tighter and more satisfying.

Like many efforts under the Apatow umbrella, Taylor shows ramshackle storytelling. The film features a loose sense of narrative, and it takes a fair number of distracting detours. The tale doesn’t flail due to excessive ambition – it’s not like it tries to pack in a great deal of different situations – but it simply fails to develop them in a smooth, concise manner. Scenarios change and progress in a jerky, awkward manner much of the time; this gives the film an almost episodic feel instead of the natural tone that should dominate.

Despite the flaws, Taylor manages to become generally entertaining. Wilson doesn’t break a sweat as the lead character, but he provides a typically likeable performance. He hits the right comedic beats and also turns Drillbit into a reasonably engaging personality. The various young actors do just fine with their roles as well, though none of them provide breakout work; they occasionally seem a little anonymous to me.

And the same goes for Taylor. This is the kind of movie that offers decent entertainment as you watch but doesn’t go any deeper. Though it prompts occasional chuckles, it lacks deep laughs or much to make it memorable. Expect a minor diversion and nothing more.

Footnote: stick around through the finish of the end credits for a little coda. Oh, and My Bodyguard fans will find a reference to that film in Taylor’s first act.


The DVD Grades: Picture B/ Audio B-/ Bonus B-

Drillbit Taylor appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The movie featured an acceptable transfer.

Sharpness usually appeared acceptably accurate and detailed. At times, however, I found the image to come across as a little fuzzy and soft, with lesser definition seen in some of the wide shots. Nonetheless, most of the movie appeared clear and appropriately focused. Moiré effects and jagged edges presented no concerns, but I noticed some light edge enhancement at times. No print flaws materialized; the film remained clean and fresh.

In terms of colors, the flick went with a moderately subdued set of tones. Hues stayed on the natural side, with a mild golden tint to things. Within those parameters, the tones looked fine. Blacks were dark and firm, while shadows appeared clear and well-developed. The image didn’t really excel, but it was good.

As for the film’s Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, it offered a functional effort and that was all. Of course, I didn’t expect a dazzling soundfield from this sort of comedy, and I got exactly what I anticipated. Surround usage stayed limited most of the time. A few “action” scenes opened things up in a minor way, but the rear speakers really had little to do here.

In those forward channels, the music provided decent stereo separation and opened up the mix reasonably well. There wasn’t a whole lot of activity or movement, but they conveyed a passable sense of space and place. The track functioned appropriately for the story.

Audio quality appeared fine. Dialogue was consistently warm and natural, and speech displayed no concerns related to edginess or intelligibility. Effects were a minor component of the mix, and they seemed appropriately subdued and accurate; there wasn’t much to hear, but the various elements were clean and distinct. The music came across as acceptably distinctive. This was a standard “comedy mix” and became a decent reproduction of the material.

A decent roster of extras fleshes out the set. We start with an audio commentary from director Steven Brill, writer Kristofor Brown, and actors Troy Gentile, Nate Hartley and David Dorfman. Brill and Brown participate in the entire running, screen-specific chat, while the actors come in gradually; Dorfman shows up briefly, Gentile pops in mid-film, and Hartley appears toward the end. Gentile and Hartley overlap for a short period, but usually the actors comment without their peers.

The commentary looks at locations and sets, cast, characters and performances, story and script issues, and various trivia tidbits. The track usually works best when the actors don’t get involved. Brill and Brown offer some good notes and prove entertaining as well. When the performers come into the picture, the piece becomes fluffier and less informative. Overall, it ends up as a pretty good track; it has its faults, but it keeps us involved most of the time.

13 Deleted and Extended Scenes last a total of 17 minutes and one second. Not a single bit here adds to the story or characters, but plenty of amusing moments appear. I don’t know how they would’ve worked in the final cut, but they’re fun to see.

Next we find a 13-minute and 57-second featurette called The Writers Get a Chance to Talk. It presents remarks from Brown and co-writer Seth Rogen as they chat about their relationship with producer Judd Apatow, character and story notes, alternate ideas not used in the final film, and thoughts about a potential sequel. “Talk” is essentially a casual phone conversation between Rogen and Brown, and it proves quite fun. They cover a lot of good details about the script and make the result eminently enjoyable as well.

More cut material comes from Line-O-Rama. It offers a four-minute and 25-second collection of alternate lines. These mostly come from scenes that made the flick but provide different takes. That makes them entertaining.

After this we find a four-minute and seven-second Gag Reel. These offer the usual goofs and giggles. A few interesting alternate lines also appear, but not enough to allow this to rise above the level of the standard blooper nonsense.

Five short featurettes follow. Rap Off goes for three minutes, 37 seconds as it shows Gentile and Alex Frost as they work through their lines for the big rap confrontation scene. It’s a good look behind the scenes.

In the three-minute and 27-second Sprinkler Day, we find more candid footage of the set. This follows the scene in which Drillbit sets off the school’s sprinklers to save the kids. It intercuts too many movie shots so it’s not as revealing as one might expect.

Bully fills three minutes with shots of the movie’s baddies. It’s a “greatest hits” reel that combines film clips and behind the scenes images. Not much of interest materializes.

For the three-minute and two-second Directing Kids, we find outtakes of the young actors as they goof around during the shoot and see how Brill worked with them. Despite the piece’s brevity, enough intriguing moments emerge to make it worthwhile.

Finally, The Real Don: Danny McBride goes for five minutes, 47 seconds as it allows us to hear the actor’s thoughts on his character. He jokes around a lot, and he occasionally offers some amusing comments. Nothing terribly informative appears, though.

A few ads open the DVD. We get clips for Star Trek and Iron Man. These also appear in the Previews area along with an ad for The Spiderwick Chronicles. No trailer for Taylor appears here.

As a comedy, Drillbit Taylor gives us a smattering of laughs but it never quite sizzles. Though the movie proves acceptably entertaining, it doesn’t become anything more substantial or memorable; it’s a “B”-level effort. The DVD provides reasonably good picture and audio along with a decent roster of extras. This is a perfectly acceptable release for a generally watchable flick.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.25 Stars Number of Votes: 8
25:
14:
3 3:
12:
11:
View Averages for all rated titles.

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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main