A surprising Drillbit nails most of its comic ambitions
Sometimes it’s best to go into a movie with low expectations. Just sit back and let the laughs come to you. Fans of producer Judd Apatow (“Superbad,” “Knocked Up”) will surely be disappointed by “Drillbit Taylor’s” PG-13 content, but this “Revenge of the Nerds”-meets-“My Bodyguard” comedy earns plenty of laughs without sinking to gross-out levels.
Now before you parents send all your teenagers out to see “Drillbit,” keep in mind the story does put a contemporary stamp in some places with plenty of rap-influenced “b-words” and below the belt references to go around. But it is at its funniest when it doesn’t try too hard to be hip and allows its very charismatic cast of characters to be themselves.
That includes Owen Wilson in the title role-a homeless surfer Army dropout who hangs out at Santa Monica beach (the locale of nearly as many movies as Manhattan). Drillbit is hired by three high school nerds (Nate Hartley, Troy Gentile, and David Dorfman) to protect them from the school bully (the equally well cast and scowling Alex Frost).
Of course Taylor isn’t the martial arts-savvy war hero he pretends to be, and the sharp script gives Wilson ample opportunity to deliver his droll truth-stretching to hilarious effect. “I was discharged from the service for unauthorized heroism,” he intones. “They said it was an Army of One, turns out they didn’t mean it.”
But the nerds-a rolly polly rapper, a skinny, girl-crazy wimp, and a puny geek in his Broadway musical t-shirts are the most fun here.
We all can relate to bullies at school. And while that part of Drillbit Taylor isn’t original, there are enough laughs that this made-for-teens-formula can be considered mission accomplished.
Rated PG-13 for sexual and drug references, language and brief male nudity.