The idea of a screenplay co-written by Seth Rogen that focuses on three hapless high school kids may promise Superbad
-style laughs, but Drillbit Taylor
is lacking much more than McLovin. Dredging up the same three teenage archetypes that inhabited Superbad
— including the mouthy fat kid/Rogen doppelgänger — the boys in this movie are trying to get revenge on two relentless bullies. They hire Drillbit Taylor (Owen Wilson), who’s supposed to be in the Special Forces, but’s really just a homeless Army deserter. Their protector is, of course, just pulling one over on them. Disappointingly, the primary conflict here isn’t between the kids and the bullies, but between the boys’ faith in Drillbit and his duplicity. With little of the raunchiness and fewer of the laughs that helped Superbad
redefine the teen-sex comedy, Drillbit Taylor
sags under the weight of Wilson’s listless acting and some unbelievably ham-fisted direction by Steven Brill (Mr. Deeds
). Unsurprisingly, the script delivers more than a few laughs, many of which sound to have been written specifically with Wilson’s distracted, deadpan delivery in mind. But the sweet, PG-13 situations in which those lines are delivered ultimately prove too incompatible for them to be truly effective.