No one really needs a PG-13 version of Superbad, but that's what Drillbit Taylor is. For a totally unnecessary movie, it's still pretty enjoyable—albeit in a "Sure, I'd watch that if it was on TV" sort of way.
Maybe expectations are too high: Produced by Judd Apatow and co-written by Seth Rogen, Drillbit can't help but be overshadowed by last year's one-two punch of Knocked Up and Superbad. But while Apatow and Rogen certainly represent, those they're working with here—director Steven Brill (Little Nicky, Mr. Deeds) and co-writer Kristofor Brown (Undeclared, Beavis and Butt-Head)—just aren't up to their level.
The plot, and the casting, is familiar. (Had they been born a decade earlier, Drillbit Taylor's protagonists would've been in Apatow's Freaks and Geeks.) There's the tall, skinny nerd (Nate Hartley), the fat, loud nerd (Troy Gentile), and the hobbit-y, showtunes-loving nerd (that creepy-ass kid from The Ring movies). Sick of getting beat up, our dweeb trio hires Drillbit Taylor (Owen Wilson) as their bodyguard, unaware that their hero-for-hire is actually just a homeless army deserter running a scam.
There are laughs throughout Drillbit, largely thanks to Wilson; while our lovable dorks gets a few good jokes, we've heard and seen all of them before. It doesn't help that the movie quickly outlasts its premise, nor that Brill's simply a bad fit—as befits an Apatow production, there's a good-hearted spirit behind these dick-and-fart jokes, but Brill clumsily makes the film sappy when it should be earnest. But possibly the most underwhelming thing about Drillbit is a squandered appearance by the usually hilarious Leslie Mann—who, as the nerds' teacher and Drillbit's token love interest, just doesn't get to do anything interesting or funny. That said, she's easily the hottest high school English teacher ever. So at least there's that.