This film could have been titled "Superbad: Freshman Year." Three young actors with the same basic physiques and personalities of Seth, Evan and McLovin’ embark on their high school careers with disastrous results. Nate Hartley is the beanpole Wade, and Troy Gentile is the beefy Ryan. Not only do they show up for day one wearing the same fanboy shirts, they’re immediately targeted by Filkins, the sadistic bully. This is one of those movie high schools were security and administrators are practically invisible. David Dorfman completes the trio as the hobbit-sized Emmit. The boys go to the Internet to hire a bodyguard-slash-fight coach. He’s the mysterious Army vet Drillbit Taylor, played by Owen Wilson.
Wilson’s funny here, but we’ve seen him play this guy many times before. The film ventures into pure sitcom cartoon mode when Drillbit masquerades as a substitute teacher, and nobody at the school even blinks.
At first Drillbit is just looking to con the boys and loot their houses, but you think he might grow to care about the little rascals? If the tone of this film reminds you of a 21st century John Hughes film, it should. The iconic Eighties filmmaker—where have you gone, John Hughes?--dreamed up the idea for "Drillbit Taylor." Seth Rogen is the co-writer of the finished screenplay, and Judd Apatow is a producer. I did laugh hard at some of the one-liners and I liked the kids. But the constant fighting and punching gets nastier and less funny, the film drags on for at least 20 minutes too long, and the ending is uninspired and predictable.