by Laura Tucker
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Many people know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of a bully, and perhaps that’s what’s behind the success of films that deal with kids being bullied in school. Combining that with the great comedic writing behind films such as Superbad, the product is the very funny Drillbit Taylor.
Along with the funny lines in Drillbit Taylor, we also have the perfect actors to pull them off in Owen Wilson, Troy Gentile, and Leslie Mann. Wilson we know from films like Wedding Crashers and Shanghai Noon, and Mann we know from George of the Jungle and Knocked Up, but Gentile doesn’t sound familiar, until you realize he’s the chubby, funny kid you see in nearly everything these days, such as Good Luck Chuck and Bad News Bears. He has some great lines here that he delivers to perfection, such as telling his mom the reason he’s now sleeping naked is because he’s in high school now and doesn’t like elastic squeezing on his ass.
Gentile plays a boy entering his freshman year of high school, and both he and his friends are horribly picked on at school, as the bullies attack them while they’re peeing to make them pee on themselves and lock them in the trophy case at the school. The boys try to lose their nerdy personas, to the point of exchanging their real names for nicknames such as T-Dog, but it doesn’t seem to help. The principal of the school is unhelpful at best, and they turn to hiring a bodyguard to protect them with money they saved from a Bar Mitzvah and selling Yu-Gi-Oh! cards.
The boys’ interviews of potential bodyguards is amusing, but the funniest part is a bit of déjà vu as Adam Baldwin shows up to interview, and tells them it’s stupid for kids to hire a bodyguard to protect them from school bullies, an obvious homage to Baldwin playing “the” bodyguard in My Bodyguard back in 1980. It’s one of those things where it takes you half a second to make the connection, and after, it has you pointing at the screen, yelling, “It’s … y’know, the bodyguard from My Bodyguard!”
Nearly all the bodyguards interviewed here want way too much money, save for one, Drillbit Taylor (Wilson), down on his luck and homeless, looking to make just enough cash to run away to Canada. Being that his asking price is the closest to what they can afford, the boys hire him, yet he has no intention of following any of if through. He’s only in it to get whatever he can out of these boys before he crosses the border, figuring this will earn him much more cash that his usual panhandling.
Eventually, Drillbit starts to acquire real feelings for the boys, and in an attempt to protect them as much as he can while they’re at school, he infiltrates himself into the high school, pretending to be a substitute, with the thought that as long as you’re holding a coffee cup, no one asks questions in the teachers’ lounge. It’s hear he meets up with Mann, starring as an English teacher. She’s so happy to meet his acquired persona of “Dr. Illbit,” as she’s tired of meeting the losers she seems to always end up with.
The movie ends predictably, but watching it happen throughout, we don’t mind a bit, as we know we’ll be met with plenty of laughs along the way. Sometimes when we see funny commercials advertising a film, sitting down to actually watch the movie we find that all the funny bits were those that were included in the commercial. Yet, with Drillbit Taylor, the funny bits we see included in the commercial are just a hint of what we’ll see during the duration of the film.
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