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.
Continue reading: The D Train Review
Fred Savage, Jarrad Paul, Rob Lowe , Andrew Mogel - PaleyFest 2015 fall TV preview event for FOX at The Paley Center for Media - Arrivals at Paley Center for Media - Los Angeles, California, United States - Tuesday 15th September 2015
Jarrad Paul, James Marsden, Kathryn Hahn, Jack Black and Andrew Mogel - A variety of celebrities were snapped as they arrived for the Los Angeles Premiere of 'The D Train' which was held at the ArcLight in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, United States - Monday 27th April 2015
Nobody really wants to attend their school reunion. Nobody, except for maybe Dan Landsman (Jack Black), who is the self-appointed head of the school reunion committee. After slogging through days of rejections, Dan is beginning to believe that no one is going to come to the 20th Anniversary reunion for their high school - that is, until he turns on the television and sees Oliver Lawless (James Marsden). Lawless, a once popular student, is now a relatively successful actor, and Dan believes that getting him to attend the reunion will convince everyone else to come along. But when he meets up with Lawless for the first time in twenty years, something goes wrong. Lawless is going to attend the reunion, and it is on track to be a massive success, but Dan no longer feels so good about it.
Continue: The D Train Trailer
Jim Carrey should have said no to the threadbare script. The tireless comedian has shown he could wring laughs out of one-note pitches like Bruce Almighty, Liar, Liar, or the Ace Ventura films. But the three credited Yes Man screenwriters cook up the flimsiest comedic premise of Carrey's career -- a non-committal loan officer enters a motivational program that permits him from turning anything down -- then forget to back it up with humor, emotional conflict or, you know, an actual plot.
Continue reading: Yes Man Review
First, take every underdog-sports-movie cliche you canthink of and liberally apply them to a little league soccer team. Next,virtually ignore the team members as characters, except to sprinkle thesoundtrack with ethnic music every time an Asian or Italian kid is on thescreen.
Then focus all your energy on their whiney, klutzy, insecure,dumb-as-a-post sitcom-dad coach, and be sure to cast a shameless ham toplay him -- like, say, WillFerrell. And just for good measure, hire a famoustough-guy coach from an entirely different sport in a major supportingrole, but first make sure he's an embarrassingly bad actor -- former ChicagoBears honcho Mike Ditka will do nicely.
Fold these ingredients into a script driven by gimmicks(when Wimpy Dad drinks too much coffee, he turns into a raging jerk --ahh, ha, ha, ha, ha!) and bake for 87 minutes which feel more like two-and-a-halfhours. Serve with stale popcorn.
Continue reading: Kicking & Screaming Review
One of the more gratifying feelings a movie critic can have is the feeling of going into a picture expecting tiresome clichés of an overplayed genre, only to discover delightfully surprising freshness and soul where all the hackneyed conventions usually are.
"40 Days and 40 Nights" is such a movie. Misleadingly marketed as just another misogynistic romp through the young male libido, this often ribald comedy about a frustrated 20-something giving up sex for Lent is what the puerile, simplistic "American Pie," "Tomcats" and "Saving Silverman" might have been, had they been made by people with imagination and wit.
Directed by Michael Lehmann -- the man behind the twisted teen angst and irony of the subversive '80s cult hit "Heathers" -- "40 Days" finds many new and inventive ways to make sexual frustration funny.
Continue reading: 40 Days & 40 Nights Review
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