“The D Train” is all about how far you’d let yourself go to make up for past horrors.
And what new atrocities you may unleash in your soul and your life when you discover the answer to that question.
Written and directed by Jarrad Paul and Andrew Mogel, this comedy starring Jack Black, James Marsden, Kathryn Hahn, Jeffrey Tambor and Russell Posner puts us into the life of Dan Landsman, who’s actually done pretty well for himself 20 years out of a pretty forgettable high school existence in Pittsburgh.
Black plays Landsman as a guy full of nervous energy, false bravado and latent sadness in a room full of high school reunion committee members attempting to whip up phone interest in a gymnasium get-together to relive the old days.
At home, he’s got a curious and smart 14-year-old son and beautiful wife harried by the birth of their second baby. At work, he’s got a boss who adores his smarts but won’t get with it enough to update the ancient computer system. Hahn is swell as his mostly tolerent wife, Posner is terrific as his mostly hopeful son, and Tambor is much more than his stereotypical goof as his overwhelmed boss.
Black makes it more than a comedy, too. He seriously takes Dan Landsman into questionable ground in an attempt to use this reunion to make him into something he never was 20 years ago. Popular.
One night while watching late night TV, he sees the former popular guy on a national TV commercial. His mental wheels spin so fast that before you know it, he’s not only hatched a plan to bring pretty and rough Oliver Lawless back from LA, he’s promised everybody on the committee that it’ll work and he’s told several whoppers to book a work trip to make it happen.
One think in LA leads to another, and, lo and behold, his plan works even better than he’d ever thought. There was the end of that wicked party night, though, when that idle comment that Oliver had dropped to him about his TV fame allowing him entree with women and men became reality. Dan wakes up in Oliver’s bed.
Frankly, I could have lived forever without the graphic nature of his flashback, this being a comedy and all.
From that moment on, Dan tries to forget about it and can’t. In fact, he dwells on it. Oliver seems to not care at all, making Dan somehow feel even worse. And all of the lies pile higher and higher. Dan’s discomfort grows, Oliver looks more and more like a creep, and innocent people are ripped open raw. Wait a minute, maybe this isn’t a comedy after all. I had stopped laughing long ago.
Lessons are learned, though, that’s for sure. The hard way. Painfully. That’s for sure. Not that it’s a bad thing. Just be prepared.
Do you think graphic sex scenes have their place as a statement in the middle of a comedy? What crowd did you consider yourself part of in high school? Have you gone to a high school reunion, and if so, how did it go?