PCR past banners
Now in our ninth calendar year!
PCR #417 (Vol. 9, No. 12) This edition is for the week of March 17--23, 2008.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"Drillbit Taylor"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

theater seats

The Tampa Film Review for March by Nolan Canova and Lisa Ciurro
"Drillbit Taylor"  by Mike Smith
OzFest 2008  by ED Tucker
Book Review: Letters From A Dead Armadillo by Wendy Boucher  by Lisa Ciurro
Rondo Awards Result....Paul, Paul, Paul....Politico....Van Halen Resumes Tour  by Matt Drinnenberg
Oz .... Ahead Of The Game? .... Speaking Of Whores .... Bye Bye Barack .... Barry Bonds (again) .... Passing On .... .... .... And The Oscar For 1939 Should Have Gone To...  by Mike Smith
Archives of Nolan's Pop Culture Review
Archives 2008
Archives 2007
Archives 2006
Archives 2005
Archives 2004
Archives 2003
Archives 2002
Archives 2001
Archives 2000
Email PCR

Starring: Owen Wilson, Nate Hartley and Troy Gentile
Directed by: Steven Brill
Rated: PG 13
Running Time: 1 hour 42 mins

Seth Rogen seems to be everywhere these days. The star of last year’s hit, “Knocked Up,” Rogen also had a role in “Superbad,” which he co-wrote. Last week he was a voice in “Horton Hears A Who!” Now he returns as co-writer of the new Owen Wilson comedy “Drillbit Taylor.” I mention this because as a writer, he perfectly captured high school life in “Superbad.” And he does the same thing with “Drillbit Taylor.” When the film and its characters focus on high school, the film is quite funny. Unfortunately, the film is not called “High School,” so when it drifts to Drillbit (Wilson), the humor tends to drift with it.

Wade (Hartley) and Ryan (Gentile) are starting their first year of high school. Like most freshmen they have their worries. Will they fit in? Will they be noticed? Will they be liked by their new school mates? They immediately get the answer to question number two when they discover that they have worn the same identical shirt on the first day of school. This article of clothing captures the attention of the school bully (Alex Frost). After a few days of hazing, the boys join forces with fellow freshman Emmit (David Dorfman) and conspire to hire a bodyguard. After several interviews they stumble across Drillbit Taylor, a former soldier who is looking to move to the Great White North. Soon, like the Cat in the Hat, Drillbit welcomes himself into Wade’s home, helping himself to small items he claims he needs for his “surveillance” of the boys. Of course, it’s all a ruse, one that runs its course more quickly than I think the filmmakers intended.

It’s been ten years since Owen Wilson first gained attention in “Armageddon.” In that decade, he has made some funny films. Sadly, he also has made some unfunny ones. He has played every variation of the stoned surfer guy imaginable and here the act begins to wear thin. But it’s not all Wilson’s fault. He really has nothing to do. As I stated, co-writer Rogen and his partner Kristofor Brown know their way around high school. Brown was a writer on “Beavis and Butthead” so he has a good understanding of the average high schooler’s life. But once the film leaves the hallways and lockers, it dies. A subplot with Drillbit faking his way as a substitute teacher is really just an excuse to have him flirt with a hot teacher (Leslie Mann, deserving so much more). The only inspired bit in the film is when Adam Baldwin, who protected Chris Makepeace from Matt Dillon in 1980’s “My Bodyguard” shows up during the bodyguard interviews. If there is a positive note, it is in the performances of the younger cast members. Hartley, Gentile and Dorfman easily remind you of people you knew in high school. And it’s nice to see that Dorfman, who was the creepy little boy in “The Ring” has lost that spooky thousand-yard stare. Kudos also to Alex Frost, who is the scariest bully I’ve seen on film since Richard Tyson terrorized Casey Siemaszko in “Three O’Clock High.” Frost made his film debut in Gus Van Sant’s “Elephant,” playing a student who goes on a Columbine-style attack in his school. Here, he’s not as homicidal, but just as scary.

On a scale of zero to four stars, I give “Drillbit Taylor”

This week's movie review of "Drillbit Taylor" is ©2008 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2008, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2008 by Nolan B. Canova.