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If you were the high school nerd, high school geek, high school fatso or just the general high school loser, then DRILLBIT TAYLOR ($40) is an inoffensive comedy that will bring back the kind of memories that you may wish stayed forgotten. For many of the unpopular, high school was not a particularly pleasant experience- especially if, in addition to your other failings, you also attracted the unwanted attention and daily torment of the high school bully. Playing this all too familiar scenario for laughs, DRILLBIT TAYLOR finds high school freshmen Wade (Nate Hartley), Ryan (Troy Gentile) and Emmit (David Dorfman) incurring the wrath of bullies Filkins (Alex Frost) and Ronnie (Josh Peck) on their first day.

Of course, the situation gets progressively worse, with the movie’s two-dimensional parents and faculty leaving our geeky heroes to fend for themselves. Enter title character Drillbit Taylor (Owen Wilson) to save the day. Without the necessary funds to hire a real bodyguard, homeless veteran Drillbit takes the job and the small amount of funding the boys scrape together. Sure, Drillbit only takes the job for the financial rewards, but eventually he comes to care for his charges, and when it becomes necessary that he pretend to be a substitute teacher, he finds the position comes with an unintended fringe benefit- namely a lovely English teacher (Leslie Mann). DRILLBIT TAYLOR serves up some big laughs along with its uncomfortable high school torment, but the movie also delivers a warm fuzzy feeling, as the bodyguard bonds with the boys, in addition to the requisite sweet revenge. Sure, the movie doesn’t always hit the mark, but there are more bull’s-eyes than misses. The cast of DRILLBIT TAYLOR also includes Lisa Ann Walter, Beth Littleford, David Koechner, Matt Walsh, Janet Varney, Lisa Lampanelli, Billy O'Neill, Valerie Tian, and Stephen Root.

Paramount Home Entertainment has made DRILLBIT TAYLOR available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the VC-1 codec. The 1080p presentation is really nice and very appealing… in an undemanding comedy sort of way. Image sharpness and detail are good; there are fine details like individual hairs that are cleanly visible, but the picture sometimes looks a little too homogenized and processed to make for a demonstration disc. Colors are vibrant and can pop nicely. Flesh tones are generally realistic. The blacks and whites are just fine. Contrast and shadow detail are all they need to be for this kind of material. The elements from which DRILLBIT TAYLOR has been mastered are free from defects. A very fine amount of grain shows up in the image, but sometimes it is virtually absent.

DRILLBIT TAYLOR is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. All I can say is that this is a standard issue, completely unremarkable, talky comedy mix. The outlying channels see occasional active effects, but for the most part, the sound mix provides general ambience and musical fill. The musical component has good fidelity, but the nature of the track is fairly non-taxing. Voices are cleanly reproduced and the dialogue maintains complete intelligibility. French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc’s interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the supplements. Director Steven Brill and writer Kristofor Brown, plus actors Nate Hartley, Troy Gentile and David Dorfman provide a running Audio Commentary. The Writers Get A Chance To Talk fourteen-minute audio only conversation between writers Kristofor Brown and Seth Rogen. Featurettes include Kids On The Loose (three minutes of goofing for the camera), Directing Kids (three minutes of tongue-in-cheek abuse), Super Billy (tow minute showcase of actor Billy O'Neill), Bully (three minutes of getting into character), Bodyguard (three minutes of auditions), Trading Punches (under two minutes of movie fighting), Rap Off (three minutes of rap rehearsal), Sprinkler Day (three minutes of getting wet on the set), Filkins Fight (seven minutes of on set fighting), The Life Of Don (two minute of mock homelessness), The Real Don: Danny McBride (five minutes of getting into homeless character). Nineteen Deleted And Extended Scenes are also provided, Line-O-Rama offers four minutes of ad-libs and Panhandle combines the two to offer an extended panhandling sequence. A Gag Reel and Trailers close out the supplements.

DRILLBIT TAYLOR is likable enough comedy with some hilarious moments. While not a demo release, Paramount’s Blu-ray presentation looks and sounds just fine.



Drillbit Taylor (Extended Survival Edition) [Blu-ray] (2008)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2008 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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