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Drillbit Taylor - Extended Survival Edition - comedy DVD review
Rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 4 stars
Actors: Owen Wilson, Leslie Mann, Nate Hartley, Troy Gentile, David Dorfman, Alex Frost, Josh Peck
Directors: Steven Brill   Studio: Paramount Pictures
DVD release:01 July 2008   Runtime: 109 minutes (1 disc)
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
DVD features: Audio (English - Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround; French; English), Subtitles (English, French, Spanish), Commentary (Steven Brill, Kristofor Brown, Troy Gentile, Nate Hortley, David Dorfman), The Writers Get a Chance to Talk: Kristofor Brown and Seth Rogen, Deleted/extended scenes, Line-o-Rama, Gag Reel, Rap Off, Sprinkler Day, Bully, Directing Kids, The Real Don: Danny McBride, Previews

Owen Wilson has a way with self-deprecating humor that allows the viewer to see a bit of themselves in his characters. Drillbit Taylor is no exception. Unfortunately for this movie, however, is the fact that it's written in part by Seth Rogen and produced by Judd Apatow - both known for their hilarious but naughty Knocked Up and Superbad. People who shy away from movies like those will probably avoid Drillbit - which is unfortunate, as it's a gem of a movie. Not highly original or groundbreaking in theme, but truly enjoyable to watch.

Skinny, geeky Wade (Nate Hartley) and tubby Ryan (Troy Gentile) are a bit scared about their first day of high school. They want to make a good impression and avoid being pigeonholed into the "dork" category. Unfortunately for them, things start out bad and get worse. They inadvertently wear the same bowling-style shirt, then Wade comes to the rescue of an if-possible-even-geekier student, Emmit (David Dorfman), who is being bullied by two older students, Filkins (Alex Frost) and Ronnie (Josh Peck). The bullies terrorize the three boys until they come to the realization that they need a bodyguard or they won't survive high school.

Enter Drillbit Taylor (Owen Wilson), a proclaimed homeless Army vet with an impressively manufactured resume, who offers to train the boys and then watch out for them. His ulterior motive (at first) is to milk them for all of their money as well as to pilfer objects from their homes to sell for money so he can get to Canada (which he imagines to be the perfect place to live). He begins by telling the boys, "just because you don't see me, doesn't mean I'm not here," which fails miserably. Drillbit then decides to pose as a substitute teacher at the school in order to keep a closer eye on them. This turns out to be a lot more than any of them bargain for.

Drillbit Taylor is a funny, poignant movie. If you've ever been the target of a bully, you might wish that you had a Drillbit of your own to watch your back. Owen Wilson is great in this lead character, and his humorous delivery of his lines is what totally elevates this move beyond a run-of-the-mill teen flick. The teen characters are excellent as well, communicating just the right amount of wimpy gawkiness without being caricatures.

There are a decent amount of special features which make this unrated special edition worthwhile. The audio commentary is cute and includes director Steven Brill, co-writer Kristofor Brown, and the three teen actors. Numerous featurettes include:

  • "The Writers Get a Chance to Talk"-Not the best commentary, because it's a phone interview with the writers with different stills from the movie playing.
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes-Quite numerous, and some funny especially the extended bodyguard interview scenes
  • Line-o-Rama-Line readings and improvisations found on all of Apatow's DVDs
  • Gag Reel-Bloopers and outtakes
  • Rap Off-How the rap battle was done
  • Sprinkler Day-The scene with the fire alarm Bully-on the set with the two actors playing the bullies in the film
  • Directing Kids-A feature about, what else?, directing kids
  • The Real Don: Danny McBride-The actor who plays Drillbit's friend.
  • Various trailers for upcoming movies and DVD releases

Drillbit Taylor is definitely worth watching, and, unlike most "unrated" versions, this one doesn't move beyond its original PG-13 rating. There's quite a bit of bad language and a slight amount of sexual innuendo, but nothing on the Knocked Up/Superbad level. Parents should view before allowing their young teens access. Overall, this sweetly sentimental show, although patently unrealistic, is an enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours of your viewing time.

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reviewed by Melissa Parcel
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