"The D Train"
Release Date: May 8, 2015
Running Time: 97 minutes
Think of The D Train as a spiritual sequel to The Breakfast Club that John Hughes never got to make. Director Jarrad Paul and co-screenwriter Andrew Mogel’s comedy essentially asks what would happen if Anthony Michael Hall’s nerd acted on his man-crush on Emilio Estevez’s state wrestling champ or Judd Nelson’s rebel without a cause on the eve of their 20th anniversary high school reunion. That’s the situation Jack Black finds himself in as a member of his Pittsburgh high school's alumni committee. With the 20th reunion just around the corner, and interest at a low, Black comes up with a foolproof idea to boost attendance. He travels to L.A. to secure an RVSP from the most popular man from his graduating class, James Marsden’s struggling actor. Black, though, goes above and beyond the call of duty during a lost weekend in L.A. that ends with the married father in bed with Marsden. This one-night stand casts a shadow over the reunion, as Black struggles to reconcile his feelings for Marsden. The decision by Paul and Mogel to have Black end up in bed with Marsden is a bold one, but they lose their never when it comes to following up Black’s potentially life-changing moment. Instead of Black experiencing a sexual identity crisis, one that has real repercussions, Paul and Mogel diminish the turn of events in L.A. by treating The D Train as nothing more than a bromance gone wrong. Black spends the days leading up to reunion in a jealous huff as Marsden reconnects with his fawning former classmates. Paul and Mogel act like Black and Marsden merely bonded over smoked salmon pizza at Spago instead of sleeping together. At least Paul and Mogel find some sharp humor in how Black handles his predicament at home and at work. They also manage to avoid shaming Black for his liaison with Marsden while acknowledging that he strayed from his wife, who is played with a sunny disposition by Kathryn Hahn. Black finds as much drive in his ordinary man as he does desperation—he just wants to be noticed, even if it means riding another person’s coattails. As the object of Black’s attention, the hunky Marsden exudes the necessary charm and charisma to draw in those around him who can’t see him for who is and what he’s failed to accomplish in his life. It is refreshing that The D Train treats Marsden’s bisexuality in such matter-of-fact manner, but this only magnifies how just much at a loss Paul and Mogel are when it comes to investigating Black’s sexual needs and desires. This isn’t a case of a man being in denial about what happened during a moment of weakness but a case of a comedy that squanders an opportunity to take a frank and revealing look at male sexuality.
Aired: May 14, 2015
Web site: http://www.d-trainmovie.com/