Sadly, DRILLBIT ended up being mere generic fodder for the pile. Aside from a few flashes of foul humor and witty improv, I could’ve watched this whole thing and not guessed that anyone in the Apatow clan had anything to do with it. Brown and Rogen both wrote for the awesome TV series Undeclared (also Apatow produced), so I know they’re capable of writing great characters and dialogue, even for a kid-centric movie. Here the script feels seriously hampered and reworked by studio notes (a claim that is somewhat substantiated in the special features).
Owen Wilson is serviceable in the laughs department, but the title character is a one-note joke and the actor doesn’t do much to elevate the material. The kids handle themselves fine, but I was ironically more impressed by the bullies played by Alex Frost and THE WACKNESS’ Josh Peck. Frost especially does psychopathic very well. There are lots of cameos from funny people, including most of the Upright Citizens Brigade and Leslie Mann. (Even though Mann is the requisite love interest, her screentime is minimal.) Probably the only times I truly laughed during the movie was due to the supporting turn by the awesome Danny McBride. In fact, skip DRILLBIT TAYLOR and see THE FOOT FIST WAY instead.
Commentary by director Steve Brill, co-writer Kristopher Brown, actors Troy Gentile, Nate Hartley and David Dorfman: The group rambles quite a bit, but the track is worth a few laughs. And poor Dorfman’s currently puberty-plagued voice isn’t done any favors on the commentary.
The Writers Get A Chance To Talk (13:58): A phone conversation between Seth Rogen and Kristofor Brown that works to highlight what they originally planned and what the studio wanted. (Hint: The studio was wrong.)
Deleted Scenes (17:02): 13 mostly extended scenes, the majority of which are actually pretty funny. (“You’re peeing on your own face!”) And more Danny McBride is always welcome.
Line-O-Rama (4:26): Riffing is usually fun to watch, but there isn’t too much worthwhile here.
Gag Reel (4:07): “Mister…Vince Vaughn is funnier than you.”
Rap Off (3:38): Behind the scenes of the Troy Gentile’s rap battle and his training with a rap coach.
Sprinkler Day (3:26): I’m not sure if turning a few sprinklers on is a big enough scene to warrant its own special feature
Bully (3:02): A quick look at the villains.
Directing Kids (3:03): Brill believes in beating kids until they give a good performance. I concur.
The Real Don: Danny McBride (5:47): Yes, soon we will all worship at the altar of McBride. Here you get an interview and some on-set shenanigans.
Extra Tidbit: The bus driver is played by Shaun Weiss, who was Josh (“This pleases me.”) in HEAVY WEIGHTS.