Sometimes too much work
isn’t a good thing. When you release something new every few months, the
law of averages says that at least some of it has to stink, right?
Take Judd Apatow. In his rush to become the John Hughes of the new
millennium, he and his buddies have been behind some of the best comedies of
recent years – including The Forty Year-Old Virgin, Superbad and
Forgetting Sarah Marshall. However, he’s released his share of junk,
too – Fun With Dick and Jane, Talladega Nights, Kicking and Screaming
and Walk Hard.
Lately, Apatow’s number one go-to guy is Seth Rogen – who is also
overworked. This is the third film that he has co-written released under
Apatow’s wing in about a year – following Knocked Up (good, but not
great) and Superbad (pretty darn close to great). And the release of
a fourth, Pineapple Express, is coming up quickly. Seth was due a
stinker too – and Drillbit Taylor is it. Ironically, Rogen may have
realized that it wasn’t worthy, because it is the only one of the four that
he does not appear in as an actor. (The trailer for Pineapple Express
gives the impression that there may be two straight stinkers, but I’ll
reserve judgment until that film is actually released.)
is essentially a
remake of an infinitely better movie, the 1980 comedy/drama My Bodyguard.
That was about a nerdy new student in a high school, played by Carter-era
almost star Chris Makepeace of Meatballs. He hires a hulking
antisocial classmate (Adam Baldwin, who has never been a star but worked
steadily over the years) to protect him from a sadistic bully (a mostly
unknown at the time Matt Dillon, fresh off of his breakthrough role in
In fact, the cleverest moment of Drillbit was when they recruited
Baldwin – the title character from that film – in a cameo as one of the
applicants for the job who says, “Kids hiring a bodyguard
to take care of a bully?
Stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.”
Also recognizing that he has swiped someone else’s storyline, Rogen tries to
make it a little more his own by stealing from his own movie Superbad
for the three lead characters – a shy, brainy kid, a fat mouthy kid and an
über-nerd who doesn’t realize his own nerdiness. (Sorry, Ethan. My man,
you are no McLovin….)
Of course, when a movie does a wholesale steal of older films’ plots it
always leaves one wondering, why not just watch the originals? What does
this film have to add that the others were lacking?
The only thing it really has is Owen Wilson – and that is not nearly
In fact, this film does hold a rather tragic place in the inexplicably
popular comic actor’s body of work – this was the film that he was making
last year when he tried to kill himself. Not that I’m trying to make a
connection, mind you – I’m just saying….
The one connection that can be made is that Wilson looks tired, distracted
and bored throughout the whole thing. Only part of this can be attributed
to the fact that he is supposed to be a homeless con man.
Of course, even this part of the character makes absolutely no sense. He is
supposed to be an AWOL soldier trying to keep a low profile and at the same
time he is living in the woods of Santa Monica and regularly showering
completely naked at a fully exposed public beach shower. People mention how
unkempt and smelly he is and he is always going on about how little money he
has – and yet he and his vagrant buddies regularly hang out at some of the
priciest outdoor cafés on the Third Street Promenade without anyone
suppose it is okay to come up with a stupid situation if you do something
interesting with it – however all that happens in Drillbit Taylor
rings false. Even Leslie Mann – Apatow’s wife and an actress who stole
scenes in The 40 Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up – seems oddly
muzzled by an absurd character and storyline.
You just keep coming back to the same question. Why bother to see
Drillbit Taylor when My Bodyguard is easily available on video?
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2008 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
Posted: June 19, 2008.