Thursday, May 7, 2015

Jack Black's 'D-Train' derails

A quasi-serious comedy that makes mince meat out of credibility.
Suppose some of the young men who admired the most popular guy in high school weren't just envious. What if they were flirting with unacknowledged homoerotic urges? That's the underlying question raised by The D-Train, an unbelievable (and I don't mean that in a good way) movie about nebbish Dan (Jack Black), a guy who's chairman of his high school's alumni committee. In hopes of upping attendance at his 20th class reunion, Dan creates an elaborate ruse that requires him and his boss (Jeffrey Tambor) to travel from Pittsburgh to LA in pursuit of a major business deal. Married with a teen-age son, Dan really wants to persuade one of his high school's former big shots (James Marsden) to attend the reunion. Marsden's Oliver Lawless moved to LA to pursue a show-business career: He's had no success, but Dan can't see through the glow of his high school admiration for Oliver. He's so caught up in Oliver's world that he actually sleeps with the former hotshot after a drug-fueled night on the town. Oliver's sexual preferences apparently are ... well ... casually eclectic. As a result of his business ruse and his foray into homosexual sex, Jack's life begins to unravel. His wife (Kathryn Hahn) can't figure out what's happening with her husband until the night of reunion, which results in an excruciatingly embarrassing scene for Dan -- not to mention the audience. Black is burdened with an impossible role; Marsden looks as if he's doing a James Franco imitation, and the movie winds up just as you might expect -- with a late-picture turn to sentiment.

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