The D Train

"Excellent"

The D Train Review


A provocative drama wrapped in the skin of an adult sex comedy, this sharply written and performed movie is hugely entertaining even as it grapples with some big issues. The central themes here are notions of celebrity and sexuality, neither of which is nearly as clear-cut as the audience or characters think they are. And the script allows actors like Jack Black and James Marsden to do what they do best while undermining their usual personas with some edgy shadings.

Black plays Dan, the self-proclaimed leader of his high school class' 20-year reunion. He has always felt invisible, and is annoyed that he gets no respect from the reunion committee. Then he spots hot classmate Oliver (Marsden) in a TV advert and hatches a plan to increase his popularity by convincing Oliver to attend the reunion. He lies to his boss (Jeffrey Tambor) about needing to go to Los Angeles on business, and he gets carried away as the openly bisexual Oliver shows him the partying lifestyle, taking things far beyond where he thought his limits were. Back home, he can't admit any of this to his sharp wife (Kathryn Hahn) and begins to lose touch with his smart teen son (Russell Posner). Then when Oliver turns up, things get even more precarious.

Filmmakers Andrew Mogel and Jarrad Paul get everyone into this mess in the usual ways, with snappy dialogue, goofy antics and rather a lot of humiliating embarrassment for poor Dan. Then they do something interesting: they refuse to play it safe, taking a surprisingly complex journey through questions about everything from peer pressure and family dynamics to the illusion of fame and the unspoken spectrum of sexuality. So even though the characters aren't always likeable, and even though all of them make some questionable choices, they're unusually sympathetic because the astute script and performances make them thoroughly recognisable.

Black and Marsden begin the film in their usual roles as a chatty idiot and smirking charmer, respectively, then peel back the veneer to show the insecure men beneath the bravado. Their interaction bristles with both riotous humour and startlingly dark emotion. And the side roles are just as textured (Hahn is a standout, as always). Most impressive is that the filmmakers and actors are willing to push things far, far beyond the point where most Hollywood movies would have chickened out. As a result, the film turns out to have rather a lot to say about how revisiting your past can open doors you thought were locked forever. And how doing stupid things is part of what makes you human.



The D Train

Facts and Figures

Genre: Comedy

Run time: 101 mins

In Theaters: Friday 8th May 2015

Box Office USA: $0.7M

Distributed by: IFC Films

Production compaines: Ealing Studios, Electric Dynamite, Rip Cord Productions, Londinium Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 44%
Fresh: 44 Rotten: 55

IMDB: 5.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Andrew Mogel,

Producer: , David Bernad, , Priyanka Mattoo, Ben Latham-Jones,

Starring: as Oliver Lawless, as Dan Landsman, as Stacey, as Bill Shurmur, as Jerry, as Randy, Henry Zebrowski as Craig, Corrina Lyons as Lucy, Donna DuPlantier as Taj, Denise Williamson as Alyssa, as Dale Harkin, as Himself, Mariana Paola Vicente as Hot Girl

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