I like Jack Black just as much as the other guy but let’s be honest here, if he isn’t taking directions from either Richard Linklater, Stephen Frears or Ben Stiller, chances are he’s in a really bad movie. Case in point: every other movie he’s been in that wasn’t directed by these three people. And yes, The D Train does fall under that criteria.
Dan Landsman (Jack Black) is kind-of-a loser. I say kind-of-a loser because he has a steady job, loving wife and a kid who(for some reason) looks up to him but he’s also a social misfit who hasn’t really been able to change his public image since high school and has as a result has no real friends. Dan also happens to be the chairman of his old school’s alumni association and when he sees Oliver Lawless (James Marsden), the most popular guy from his high school who’s now the face of a national Banana Boat ad campaign, he becomes determined to recruit Lawless for the reunion so that more people would be interested to join in. But things start getting out of hand when Dan spins a web lies to get Lawless and even more when Lawless turns out to be a very unpredictable guy.
The D Train is garbage but what makes this ordeal even worse is that it’s the worst kind of garbage. The kind that builds on promise but comes crashing down somewhere in between. This film starts off as a relatively light-hearted high school reunion comedy, takes a complete left-turn at the half-way mark, goes into an unnecessarily dark and dreary place and soon falls apart faster than a Tottenham Hotspur season. First time filmmakers Andrew Mogel and Jarred Paul make the same mistake almost all rookies make, they don’t know how to structure the story. But there’s more, they also have a rotten sense of humor not having the slightest idea of what is funny and what isn’t, neither do they possess the ability to create credible, compelling characters or write believable, engaging dialogue. One of the most idiotic things about the movie is that Jack Black’s character thinks Marsden’s character is a big-time Hollywood star even though he’s never seen him in a movie or TV Show.
The acting does no favors either. While James Marsden is good as hipster-douche Oliver Lawless, Jack Black is borderline psychotic, shrill and annoying as Dan Landsman. His character has no depth and the only endearing qualities he has go on to become his most annoying ones through the course of the movie. A lovable oaf he is not. Kathryn Hahn and Jeffrey Tambor are in this as well but they could have been replaced with anyone and it wouldn’t have made a difference. The movie is also just dull and depressing to sit through, I could have seen one of those The Fatties movies and had more fun.
So do yourself a favor, If you see The D Train streaming or Amazon or playing at a theater near you, don’t watch it.