Not one of Team Apatow’s best, but still a breezy, often-hilarious look at middle school life that’s sure to please young teens and parents alike.
Owen Wilson's own personal hardships shadow the project, making certain scenes hard to watch. The film doesn't really have a solid structure to it. It is by far the weakest Seth Rogen screenplay to make it to the big screen thus far.
Like Judd Apatow, I am a huge fan of the films My Bodyguard and Three O'Clock High. In producing this project, Apatow set out to capture the energy seen in those two flicks. While not as classic, Drillbit Taylor does live up to the legacy of the bully film. It is a breezy, inoffensive comedy that will surely appeal to young boys still trapped in middle school, as well as the parents dealing with their trials and tribulations on the sidelines. It not only delivers a surprise cameo appearance by Adam Baldwin (Linderman from My Bodyguard), but the climactic end fight scene is almost as good as the fight seen at the end of Three O'Clock High. The story follows three nerdy kids that hire a homeless man to protect them from a duo of school tyrants. A lot of laughs are milked from this nimble premise, and all three kids are up to the challenge. A lot of people have been turned off by the film due to Owen Wilson's own sordid ordeal during production. I honestly didn't feel any off vibes coming from the actor while watching him on screen. If you can put that incident at the back of your mind, and just enjoy the film for what it is, you'll most likely find yourself cheering for all involved by the time end credits finally roll around. While not the brightest spot on Judd Apatow's resume, it is a perfect little time killer that you'll want to revisit time and again.
This sucker is loaded to the gills with special features. There is a pretty funny outtake reel featuring the entire cast. And the three kids gather with director Steven Brill and writer Kristoff Brown for a hilarious commentary. There is a short segment with Brown and Seth Rogen about writing the screenplay. And there are Thirteen deleted and extended scenes that don't really add up to too much. When you buy the two-disc version of the DVD, you also get the special features "Rap Off", which shows more footage from the 8 Mile scene in the film. There's something called "Sprinkler Day". We also get a featurette about directing the kids, and a profile on actor Danny McBride entitled "The Real Don: Danny McBride". If you are a fan of the film, there is certainly a lot here to keep you happy.
Presented in widescreen 16:9, the film presents a crisp, clean image that is often times sunny and bright. It is a welcoming comedy that is quite easy on the eyes.
The film is presented in booming Dolby Digital: English 5.1 Surround, French 5.1 Surround, and Spanish 5.1 Surround.
I like the image on the single-disc version of the film more. I like seeing the kids along with Wilson. The Extended Survival Edition just recycles the film's bland one-sheet, adding a bright red sticker to the bottom of Owen's foot. Not very attractive, I'd more than likely pass this one up in the isles of my favorite DVD store if I didn't know what it was.
THE FINAL WORD
If you are looking for some fun the entire family can enjoy, you can't go wrong with this nifty little time killer. You might have to get over your own feelings towards Owen Wilson to fully enjoy it, but once you realize that his problems have nothing to do with this particular project, you will certainly come to love it.