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Paramount Pictures

Knocked out

Movies | Drillbit is both funny and smart

Issue: "Shattered dreams," April 5, 2008

Teenage angst and suffering-in the midst of the opulence and absenteeism of the worst of upper-middle-class parenting-set the stage for the laughs and smart social satire in Drillbit Taylor.

Wayne (Nate Hartley) is a skinny, kind teenager whose best buddy is the very heavy-set Ryan (Troy Gentile). In their first days of high school, the two boys and buddy Emmit (David Dorfman) are terrorized and targeted by the psychopathic bully Filkins (Alex Frost). His brutality is less than funny.

So bad is his reign of terror that the boys decide to pool their money and hire a bodyguard. They select homeless Drillbit Taylor (Owen Wilson) who promises to save them while plotting to scam the kids out of their allowances.

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The film (rated PG-13 for crude sexual references, strong bullying, language, drug references, and partial nudity) was produced by Knocked Up's Judd Apatow, and it has some of the same modern, hilarious smartness. Drillbit does begin to drag a bit after the first half-hour of constant beat-downs on the boys and again toward the end of the film's 102-minute run, when Wayne and Ryan resort to training themselves for physical confrontation. We feel we've already seen these scenes when the boys were "training" in the woods with Drillbit earlier in the film.

But basically Drillbit moves well through the fun and trials of coming of age. Though the film targets pubescent boys, it is a fun flick for adults with a happy, though violent, ending. Oscar material? No, of course not. A good way to spend a Saturday afternoon? Sure.

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