Drillbit Taylor

Movie review by
Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media
Drillbit Taylor Movie Poster Image
More fights than laughs in Owen Wilson comedy.
  • PG-13
  • 2008
  • 102 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 36 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

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.

What 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.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 11-year-old Written byKischka Bluspiro May 30, 2020

Seriously one of the worst movies I've ever seen

I was expecting some dumb humor, but this movie's message was horrible (basically that some kids simply deserve to be bullied by virtue of size, looks, per... Continue reading
Adult Written byHelpfulMom January 10, 2020

Skimpy scenes that this review doesn't mention...

There is a music video the boys are watching and we see a close up of a womans side butt cheeks coming out of her shorts-it's like a second of two and she... Continue reading
Kid, 8 years old June 14, 2018

good but stupid stuff for a pg rating

good but just some stupid stuff some swearing sexy stuff suprisingly violence as well but funny good film
Teen, 14 years old Written byxgamerbrox April 30, 2015

Drillbit Taylor

Okay for tweens. Some fights, sex references, and swearing. So lets start with fights, a teen boy gets punched in the nose (some blood), and there is a pretty i... Continue reading

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?

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.

Talk to your kids 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

  • In theaters: March 19, 2008
  • On DVD or streaming: 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.
  • Last updated: September 21, 2019

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