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THE D TRAIN (review)

Review by Caitlyn Thompson
Produced by David Bernad, Jack Black, Ben Latham-Jones, 
Priyanka Mattoo, Barnaby Thompson, Mike White
Written and Directed by Jarrad Paul and Andrew Mogel
Starring Jack Black, James Marsden, Kathryn Hahn, 
Russell Posner, Jeffrey Tambor, Mike White

What starts off as a strong goofy comedy, quickly devolves into a hyperbolic pointless plotline that isn’t entertaining in the least.  

The D Train is an exaggerated bromance that claims originality by throwing in a sex scene between the title characters.

Initially comedic for the ridiculousness of the scenario and James Marsden’s delivery, the film ends up centering on the sexual encounter resulting in a foolish production that is overacted and boring.  It really seems like it will be funny for a moment, but no, it’s simply pointless and off-putting. 

The D Train is about a lifetime loser, Dan Landsman (Jack Black), desperate to make his high school reunion a grand success.

His goal is to be the popular savior of the event by recruiting the former leader of his class, Oliver Lawless (James Marsden), so as to entice the rest of his classmates to attend. It seems it will be an impossible feat given Dan’s complete lack of awareness of appropriate social cues and off-putting demanding attitude.

Dan is selfish, he’s mean, he’s whiny. His pants are high, the short sleeve button ups are unbecoming, and his short cut, side-parted hair is literally icing atop his unappealing, unpopular character.

Jack Black usually has great timing as an effervescent, grungy dude with shifty eyes and enjoyable outbursts. As Dan, he is annoying instead of humorous. Black can do much better than his overdone performance in The D Train. Very disappointing.

It’s a shame no one noticed that James Marsden had great comedic value ten years ago. He could have had some pretty great roles instead of always being cast as the perpetually-second-place-choice-for-the-girl guy (The Notebook, Superman Returns, X-Men), because his character, Oliver, is the only enjoyable part of the film.

A washed up, one-hit-wonder actor – the national Banana Boat Sunscreen spokesman – Oliver is rude, unkempt, and cocky. At one point there’s a chance he may have some depth or sensitivity, brought on by the pedestal on which Dan has placed him. But no, the director tempts us with that potential character development, yet ultimately keeps Oliver a narcissistic asshole.

A bi-curious, dumb, and manipulative asshole. 

Lawless ends up agreeing to go to high school reunion after his seduction of Dan. Upon is arrival however, he overshadows Dan’s entire life, making his wife laugh, giving sex advice to his kid, and partying with the peers Dan has so desperately been trying to woo in his favor. Boo hoo.

At this point I was not amused. Just bored.

Really bored.

Random plotlines are tossed about that are outlandish and unfunny i.e. Dan’s fourteen-year-old son being pressured into have a threesome, his boss’ (Jeffrey Tambor) naiveté about a business deal that will result in the crumbling of his company. Note: While Tambor’s performance as the ever-amusing doe-eyed technology-illiterate simpleton is satisfactory, his character is implausibly idiotic.

Other minor characters are flat and forgettable giving me no reason to discuss them. 

I will say this about The D Train, the soundtrack is awesome, and the montage of LA partying is visceral and fun.

The only other compliment can be bestowed upon James Marsden’s spectacular cheekbones.

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