‘The D Train’ derails

by Trevan McGee on May 8, 2015

in Print Reviews,Reviews

Rating: Minor Rock Fist Down

Jack Black and James Marsden star in The D Train, a generic, largely unfunny comedy stuffed to the gills with familiar tropes and uninspired performances. Written and directed by Jarad Paul and Andrew Mogel, writers of such comedies as Yes Man and an untitled Bruce Almighty sequel, The D Train features Black as Dan Landsman, a feckless townie in charge of planning his high school reunion. One night he discovers that Oliver Lawless (Marsden), a classmate, is a nationally syndicated commercial actor.

Landsman heads to Los Angeles in an attempt to convince Lawless to attend the reunion, which goes horribly wrong after a night of drinking and heavy drugging. It’s a derivative, familiar story, but to make matters worse, Marsden and Black are fully on autopilot. Marsden’s movie star is a trope – drunk/drug addicted, sex addicted, vain and empty. Ditto to Black’s everyman – bored, in a ho-hum job with a ho-hum wife (Kathryn Hahn, grossly underused) and family.

It’s almost noteworthy how unfunny the movie is, given its comedic pedigree. All three principal actors have comedic backgrounds and are gifted improvisers, yet go totally underserved. Even veteran comedy character actors like Jeffrey Tambor have no material. Paul and Mogel are first-time directors and it shows. The D Train is long and poorly paced, with a first act that takes forever to set up and a resolution that drags as well.

Usually when a cheap movie with a bankable cast goes largely unpromoted, it’s for a simple and obvious reason: It’s not any good. Every now and then, an incredible movie will sneak under the radar, but it’s rare. The D Train is proof. Skip this one. If you like the cast, rewatch one of their funnier movies. You’ll be glad you did.

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