Friday, April 11, 2008

Drillbit Taylor

Stop me if you have heard this one before: Owen Wilson plays fast-talking nice-guy borderline criminal scam artist. His scam gets exposed. He somehow turns the negative into a positive. Shanghai Noon (2002), Wedding Crashers (2005), Cars (2006), I Spy (2002), Starsky and Hutch (2004)...notice a pattern? Well, in an attempt to break out of the pattern, in Drillbit Taylor (2008) Wilson plays the title character...a fast-talking nice guy criminal scam artist. See the difference?

As usual he gets more ways than one...and must redeem himself. And, as usual, others are affected by his affable schemes. In this case it is the same jerks you have seen before, the Seth Rogen stock characters. You know...the High School kids who want to be cool but never quite made it? The ones who want to collect Yu-Gi-Oh cards and be well-liked by the girls...and somehow, in every Rogen flick, attain it.

I think there should be something like the "Seth Rogen Law" which is something along the lines of, "The hotness of the girl gotten is inversely proportional to (nerd factor x loser traits)". For instance, in the real world someone as hot as Katherine Heigl who had a great job would, theoretically, not hook up with a guy whose life revolved around porn and getting stoned, who thought a job was getting high and playing ping pong and who had no redeeming social qualities. Yet in Knocked Up (2007) that couple is a foregone conclusion. In Drillbit Taylor the homeless, AWOL scammer Drillbit Alamo Taylor he is going to end up with mega-hot schoolteacher Barbara (Beth Littleford).

Along the way there is a fresh take (?) on the nerds versus bullies paradigm as Eminem clone Filkins (Alex Frost) and his running buddy are humiliated in a rap battle by Ryan (Troy Gentile) and then beaten in the climactic fist fight by Ryan, stunt-stick figure Wade (Nate Hartley) and super-geek Emmit (David Dorfman).

In between there are a lot of laughs that sometimes make you forget you are watching a re-run of an initially weak story. If you can ignore the fact that the "Apatow Crew" as I sometimes see them referred to just recycles the same plot, slightly shifts the characters, and alters a couple jokes now and again, this is a pretty entertaining movie. If your brain cells are still functioning, however...might not be the best choice.

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