The D Train full movie review - The title "The D Train" gives this movie WAY too much credit.
"Every reunion needs a hero" is the tag line for "The D Train" (R, 1:27). I would put it another way. "Everyone at a reunion needs to be a hero".
At a high school reunion, everyone wants to be perceived as successful. Movies have been made about the phenomenon. "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion" (1997) tells such a tale in an exaggerated (and entertaining) way. But most people don't go as far as insisting that they invented "Post-Its" to impress their former classmates. Most people are content with just being seen as better than they were in high school. The popular kids want people to think they're still cool (if not cooler), the jocks are hoping to milk just a little more glory from their adolescent accomplishments, the nerds want to seem cool (but would settle for rich) and those who were awkward in high school (approximately 100% of us) just want to come across as a little less awkward. Everyone wants to be something of a hero to someone else at that reunion. The irony is that most of us are still basically the same people we were in high school. The happy ones are those who are now okay with that and the truly successful ones are not those who impress the most people, but the ones who've managed to become better versions of their teenage selves. "The D Train" explores the disconnect between high school reunion expectations and results, as well as the differences between perception and reality ? and the dangers of going too far to be a hero.
Jack Black stars as the title character, the guy in search of a little high school redemption ? and a cool nickname, a la the title of the movie. Black, as Dan Landsman, is a family man who is not as wise, well-adjusted, or cool as he thinks he is, or at least, tries to be. He butchers the semi-modern lingo, stumbles through his responsibilities as a husband and father and as an employee, and longs to seem more put together than he was in high school. He thinks that serving as the self-appointed head of his 20th reunion committee will help him with that last part. If he can make his reunion a success, then maybe, just mayyyybe, it would mean that he's a success. The problem is that, in pursuit of his goal, he runs roughshod over the other reunion committee members (including Mike White, Henry Zebrowski and Kyle Bornheimer), neglects his son, Zach (Russell Posner), takes his wife, Stacey (Kathryn Hahn), for granted and endangers the business built by his trusting and tech-challenged boss, Bill (Jeffrey Tambor).
Dan jeopardizes everything truly important in his life by putting all his RSVPs in one basket ? believing that more people will agree to attend the reunion if he can get a "yes" from Oliver Lawless (James Marsden), the erstwhile most popular kid in school and now, an L.A. actor with one national TV ad campaign to his credit. Dan lies to his boss about a possible game-changing business opportunity in Los Angeles, so he has an excuse to go there and meet up with Lawless. The left coast cool guy doesn't even remember the schlub from high school, but agrees to get together anyway. To the surprise of both men, they get along great! They have an awesome time partying with booze and cocaine and doing? other stuff that Dan will come to regret. Back home in Pittsburgh, the reunion committee prepares for the triumphant return of the great Oliver Lawless, but Dan starts to wonder if he's created a monster, even as he grapples with the implications of everything that happened in LA-LA Land.
As cool and/or interesting as this film might sound at this point, there's just one problem ? it's almost indescribably awful! The movie is so unfunny that I actually had to check IMDb.com to make sure the film was indeed billed as a comedy. What is apparently meant to be humorous is just plain awkward. Every character, every subplot, every situation and every scene is cringe-inducing. The "Romy and Michele" movie dealt with the natural awkwardness of a reunion and the experience of reliving high school memories through amusing characters, some pretty good jokes and even a heartfelt lesson or two. You get none of that in "The D Train".
What you do get from writer/directors Andrew Mogel and Jarrad Paul is a movie filled with unlikeable characters, teenagers who cuss as much as their parents and who feel free to engage in some very adult activities (even being encouraged to do so by some of the so-called adults in the movie) and so many non-sensical actions from Dan that I was starting to wonder if Black's character was supposed to be mentally ill. Now, an arrogant and rude reviewer might take this opportunity to say that YOU would have to be equally mentally ill to enjoy this movie, but I wouldn't say that. Seriously. Reactions to movies are subjective and everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. I'll just say that I wish this movie had taken place in New York City. Then I'd be telling you that I wish I could get off the D-train and hop on the F-train, because that's what this movie deserves. Well? it looks like I just said it anyway. And I meant it! "F"!!