Drillbit Taylor

  • Review Date: March 19, 2008
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 102 minutes

Common Sense Media says

More fights than laughs in Owen Wilson comedy.
  • Review Date: March 19, 2008
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 102 minutes

Age(i)

2
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5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The main bad guy is a cruel, unrelenting bully; the principal and parents laugh off his behavior like it's all in good fun. Drillbit is a chronic liar who comes to care for his naïve young charges and decides not to rob them in the end -- but still takes their weekly "protection" money. The protagonists skip school to learn fighting techniques and raid their parents' homes for whatever Drillbit asks for, including expensive suits and electronics. Also lots and lots of fat jokes aimed at a young teen -- and a few skinny-boy jokes, too.

Violence

Lots of teen fist-fighting. The over-the-top bullying behavior is meant for some laughs, but the main bully, Filkins, is practically a sociopath. He nearly runs the freshmen down in his car, punches them out repeatedly (breaking a nose), and hits them with other objects (like the base of a lamp). He eventually throws a sword that severs a finger. Includes scenes in which the freshmen boys try to learn how to fight and end up hurting each other repeatedly (played for laughs, including the easy groin gag).

Sex

Two bare-butt shots of Drillbit showering on the beach (people passing in cars can see him from the front). Drillbit and the English teacher have daily quickies in the classroom -- though nothing but kissing is shown. As part of a rap, Ryan says "suck on my family's jewels, bitch" and grabs his crotch. Life Skills class talks about symptoms of STDs and shows a diagram of a penis. In bullying montages, pants are pulled down in hallways, and boys are pushed to face each other at the urinals, then picked up -- viewers see pee hit the ceiling.

Language

Words include "bitch," "ass," and "s--t," as well as negative stereotype words like "faggot" and "queers."

Consumerism

Cap'n Crunch cereal has the biggest plug -- Drillbit loves it. Apple laptops are everywhere. The boys down Red Bulls before their big fight. Clips of Fight Club and The Untouchables. Mentions or shots of iPods, Gameboy, Coke, Power Bar, Clif Bar, Costco, Hot Topic, YouTube.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Kids party before the big fight, and everyone has a big plastic cup in their hand. Adults drink. Plenty of references to pot smoking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this teen comedy was produced by Judd Apatow -- who directed the "hard R" comedies The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up -- and co-written by Knocked Up star Seth Rogen (who also co-scripted Superbad). With a PG-13 rating and a focus on high school bullies, the adult humor and language are dialed down a few notches here (there are a couple of bare-butt shots of Drillbit showering, as well as words like "s--t" and "bitch") ... and replaced with relentless, violent bullying behavior. The freshmen are constantly threatened, beaten up, chased, and humiliated. For most of the movie, parents and the principal laugh the behavior off. Also expect plenty of product placement and fat jokes aimed at a young teen.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

On the first day of freshman year, Ryan (Troy Gentile) and Wade (Nate Hartley) make a big mistake: They both wear the same T-shirt, which instantly attracts the attentions of senior bullies -- including super creepy Filkins (Alex Frost). Many threats, mean-spirited pranks, and humiliations later, they decide to hire a bodyguard. The only one they can afford, Drillbit Taylor (Owen Wilson), claims to have an army background, but he's really a homeless army deserter who wants a few hundred bucks to relocate to Canada. That is, until he infiltrates the school as a substitute and hooks up with the English teacher. Oh, and he starts to like the boys too, and decides to actually help them. But does he like them enough to stop his friends' plan to rob Wade's house? Or enough to help his charges when they challenge Filkins to a fight on his turf?

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Like a first-timer's fist fight, DRILLBIT TAYLOR is awkwardly and mean-spiritedly funny for a second -- until it's painful to watch. Wilson's comedic timing is always great, and the kids who play Ryan and Wade are really freshman-boy nerdy in a comical way. A couple of scenes are even pretty laugh-out-loud funny, like when Drillbit realizes that all he needs to pull off the substitute teacher role is to have a coffee cup in his hand. But after that it gets painful.

Why present the boys' nemesis as one-dimensional evil in Eminem's clothing? All great bullies have a little depth -- just look at The Karate Kid. Also, the humor relies on too many scenes of the kids learning how to fight, which slows the movie down and makes it apparent that there's not much here in the way of plot. Then the fighting gets more and more violent to speed things up again -- making the movie less and less funny with every punch. Per formulaic-movie rules, Drillbit saves the boys in the end and works in some great one-liners, but it's not enough to make this a winning comedy.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the movie portrays bullies. Do you know bullies like Filkins, or is he just a caricature of a freshman's worst nightmare? What would you do in the boys' situation? Even though the principal's total obliviousness was for laughs, do you think there's some truth to the idea that adults don't take the problem seriously? What other forms does bullying take these days? Is it always physical, or are there other ways bullies can hurt people?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 19, 2008
DVD release date:June 30, 2008
Cast:Nate Hartley, Owen Wilson, Troy Gentile
Director:Steven Brill
Studio:Paramount Pictures
Genre:Comedy
Run time:102 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:crude sexual references throughout, strong bullying, language, drug references and partial nudity.

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
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  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 6 years old May 18, 2012
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

Body Guard to good use.

This is a great movie, but also not the best for certain age groups. Lots of violence between different people. I guess you could say that it has a positive message about the glories of having a body guard.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 11 years old October 25, 2009
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

WHAT WERE THE DIRECTORS THINKING????

This movie was terrible!!! What are the writers thinking??? the language was HORRIFFIC, the SC was awful, and the whole movie was related to beating kids up, doing drugs, etc.. the funniest part was when the kids were "Practicing" fighting. DON"T WATCH THIS MOVIE!!!!!!
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written byCWG1 May 31, 2013
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

Very funny, and good message.

This movie is so funny, but it has strong bullying references and violence. It contains wediges, getting put into lockers, fighting, vandalism, ETC. It does have some language too including T-dog getting in a rap battle with one of the bully's and they use explicit terms, but nothing they don't hear at school. Some mild sex, but nothing shown or heard at all. Rather funny with language and violence. 10 and up can handle it.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing

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