Friday, May 15, 2015
**1/2 out of ****
I don't know how I feel about The D-Train. I don't think its as funny or insightful as it wants to be because its a rather conventionally styled comedy, with a typical Jack Black performance. However, it has the courage to subvert our expectations by venturing from its goofball premise to uncomfortable territory.
It's the story of a family man (Black) who as head of the high school reunion committee, works diligently in denial of his longtime lack of popularity. After discovering that one of the most popular members of his graduating class (James Marsden) is an actor living in L.A., who just landed a national television commercial, he believes bringing him in town for the twenty-year reunion may fulfill a lifetime void.
Desperately fabricating a business trip that he knows his computer-illiterate boss (Jeffrey Tambor) will fall for, he flies out to meet the popular guy on company money, befriending him with fascination, oblivious to the fact that he's a shallow loser. Soon enough, he becomes obsessed with their new friendship.
I'm not sure what this movie is trying to say, but Black's performance seems to work for and against the film. By giving his standard routine, it makes the films twists and turns seem less expected. On the other hand it also dehumanizes the character. Unlike the flamboyant greatness we got from him as Bernie, he's tasked with playing a person who could stand to be more pathetic and less amusing.
To me, it's not a good movie, but it's also thankfully unpredictable.