As we’re currently discussing in our Romy And Michele’s High School Reunion Movie Of The Week features, high-school reunions can be shitty and terrifying and occasionally life-ruining. I can’t speak from personal experience yet, as my own is in November (help me), but from what I understand, high-school reunions mean you’re forced to confront everyone from your past that you’ve been studiously avoiding, relive your most traumatic memories in fine detail, convincingly imitate an adult person, and drunkenly make out with your one-time stalker as you step into their helicopter. See you soon, Dave!
Reunions, high-school or otherwise, are rich with tragicomic potential, which is why, over the years, they’ve been used as settings for classic movies ranging from Grosse Pointe Blank to Beautiful Girls to The Big Chill to some other ones you get what I’m saying. The D Train, which premiered at Sundance this year and was quickly snatched up by IFC, falls in line with these films—it follows Jack Black as Dan, a “schlemiel” (thank you, Mike D’Angelo) whose “great passion” is running the committee in charge of his 20-year high-school reunion. Worried nobody will show up, he flies to L.A. to persuade the annoyingly beautiful James Marsden (a.k.a. Oliver Lawless), Big-Man-On-Campus-turned-sunscreen-commercial-actor, to attend. Things get logistically and emotionally complex from there.
At Sundance, Mike was lukewarm about The D Train, calling out a “disorienting gearshift” in its second act. “The movie’s tone veers wildly from scene to scene, sometimes in ways that temporarily make it seem insensitive or even downright offensive,” he wrote. “It’s a mess, but that’s largely because what it’s attempting is inherently messy, at least for the time being.”
Messy, offensive, and disorienting! Sounds like a standard high-school reunion to me. Here’s the first trailer:
The trail of the tape
Title: The D Train
Directors: Andrew Mogel, Jarrad Paul
Screenwriters: Andrew Mogel, Jarrad Paul
Cast: James Marsden, Jack Black, Kathryn Hahn, Jeffrey Tambor
Release date: May 8, 2015
The entire trailer in one line of dialogue: “This reunion is for everybody. It’s for all of us! Not just him!”
The entire trailer in screengrab:
Looks like Dan gets emotionally attached to Oliver, possibly in a romantic way, which would be staggeringly normal for anyone confronted with James Marsden’s face. As Mike put it in his review, “I’ll remain cryptic, and just say that the relationship between Dan and Oliver, as written by directors Jarrad Paul and Andrew Mogel, probably could not have attracted stars as big as Black and Marsden even as recently as five or six years ago—not without extensive image-protecting revisions, anyway.” Okay, so based on that summary, either they have sex or they decide to singlehandedly dismantle the patriarchy and announce that women are in charge of the world forever and ever amen. Either way, I’m in.