He’s a bit of a tool
DRILLBIT TAYLOR Directed by Steven Brill. Starring Owen Wilson, Leslie Mann, David Dorfman, Troy Gentile, Nate Hartley, Alex Frost TBC cert, gen release, 102 min
HAS the Judd Apatow Confederation already outstayed its welcome? Produced by Apatow and written by Seth Rogen, Apatow’s representative on earth, Drillbit Taylor continues the backwards trajectory started by Knocked Up (adult dweebs) and continued by Superbad (older teenage dweebs) to offer us a relatively clean comedy featuring pubescent dweebs. As before, one of the characters is fat, Jewish and curly of hair. As before, none of the characters knows how to speak to girls. Unlike the previous pictures, however, Drillbit Taylor is so stubbornly humourless you will find yourself yearning to take it behind the bike shed and give it a good kicking.
This is the sort of treatment meted out daily to fat kid (Troy Gentile) and specky kid (Nate Hartley) by an older bully in their Californian high school. Reluctantly joining forces with an even less assertive nerd (David Dorfman), the lads decide to hire an adult bodyguard to lead them safely about the corridors.
With only limited funds to hand, they are forced to reject the various hard-nuts who apply and settle for a homeless hustler played by good old Owen Wilson. After helping himself to the boys’ loose change, Drillbit begins to warm to school life and decides to pose as a teacher. Hilarious misunderstandings loom.
This is the sort of scenario that John Hughes – a less funky, but more disciplined impresario than Apatow – might have turned into an acceptable entertainment in the Reagan years. Sadly, the film is far too loosely constructed for its own good. Deprived of anything like a plot, it flaps about hopelessly like a wet fish dying on a blunt spear. Nobody does feckless charm better than Wilson, but charm alone cannot enliven such a weightless, structure-free entertainment.
Did the dog eat your homework, Judd? Have you been staying up late playing video games? It’s time you and your crew got down to some hard work. A smart mouth will only get you so far in life.
Confederate dunce: Owen Wilson plays kiddyguard to three bullied schoolboys