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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Take your time: NMU Public Safety recommends taking it slow when driving in the snow
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POSE — Tschumperlin poses with two of his favorite Disney characters.
The Wildcat at Disney World
February 21, 2024

Review: ‘Drillbit’ nothing but wasted potential

“Drillbit Taylor” should have been a great comedy. There are some talented people attached to this project, whether it’s Judd Apatow as producer or comedian Seth Rogen as a writer. And the cast is solid as well. But the problem with “Taylor” is that too many people had an influence, and it winds up feeling contrived.

Wade (Nate Hartley) and Ryan (Troy Gentile) are about to begin their high school careers. Nervous, they wander the halls of their new school until they come across fellow freshman Emmit (David Dorfman) being stuffed into a locker by notorious bully Filkins (Alex Frost). Against his instincts, Wade sticks up for Emmit, putting the three of them on top of Filkins’ list. After being mercilessly hunted, they decide to hire a bodyguard. Finding most bodyguards to be either too expensive or incompetent, they settle for Drillbit Taylor (Owen Wilson), who claims to have military experience. However, Taylor is a homeless bum, looking to scrounge up some cash so he can move to Canada. But as he spends more time wreaking havoc with the kids, he grows closer to them.

In the opening credits, there’s a laundry list of names, enough to make you wonder exactly who made this film. In total there are five writers, six producers and director Steven Brill (“Little Nicky”). Each one has his or her own distinct style of comedy and while those may work on their own they certainly don’t mix. “Taylor” ends up being a muddled mess with some charming moments, but never enough to keep you laughing throughout.

A prime example of this confusion occurs roughly halfway into the film. Taylor is talking about his new job with one of his homeless friends. Suddenly, there’s a bit of Apatow-inspired social commentary and though it’s well done, it just doesn’t fit. Moments like these, which worked well in “Knocked Up,” feel awkward in this film.

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Because of the absurd amount of producers and writers, “Taylor” becomes one of the biggest offenders of wasted potential seen this year. Given the setup and cast, this should have been one hilarious film. Granted, there are moments that make you laugh, and I did find myself smiling quite a few times during the film. But cute and endearing aren’t words I’d use to describe any good comedy. That may work for a 30-minute TV show, but not a full-length film.

The cast is the most polarizing aspect of “Taylor.” Hartley, Gentile and Dorfman are all great actors and if they were in a better film, many of their lines would be quoted for some time to come.

Wilson did a good job with the material he was given, but his character is very two-dimensional, leaving plenty to be desired. But if Taylor is two-dimensional, then the supporting cast is below one-dimensional. This is clearly demonstrated in school teacher Lisa (Leslie Mann), who plays Taylor’s love interest. Her character is reduced down to the bimbo school teacher with nothing but sex on her brain. It’s so forced that it’s often borderline offensive. Filkins is beyond over the top, at one point brandishing a samurai sword at his victims. I know it’s a comedy, but his character is far-fetched.

I sometimes need to remind myself that just because Apatow’s name is attached to a project doesn’t mean it’ll be gold. “Drillbit Taylor” serves as that reminder. I’m glad to see the genre bounce back from the depths of “American Pie” hell, but if Hollywood keeps releasing garbage like this, comedy may end up falling back into a rut. Wait for this to hit cable — I’d hate to see anyone actually spend good money on it.

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