Despite its big stars—Jack Black and James Marsden—this small comedy feels like prime VOD fodder in the current release model. Daniel Landsman (Black) heads the committee for his 20th high school reunion. Struggling at home and at work, Dan devises a plan singlehandedly to save the reunion. All he needs to do is land his class’s white whale, the coolest kid in the class of ’94, Oliver Lawless (Marsden), who also happens to be the national face of Banana Boat. He must be living the dream. Tricking his kindly, technophobe boss (the always welcome Jeffrey Tambor) and lovely wife (Kathryn Hahn), Dan heads to LA where a couple of nights of debauchery with Oliver end with an exclamation point of a WTF moment.
Now, Dan’s heroic dream sours, as the reunion weekend arrives. Yes Man writers Jarrad Paul and Andrew Mogel make their directorial debut with this awkwardly comic look at the implosion of one man’s life. Black always benefits from roles like this one and Bernie, where he is required to act with differing levels of subtlety and not simply turn it up to a manic 11.
Marsden, too, gets in some great work (the camera certainly loves him) as a charmer whose best days ended with graduation. Unfortunately, Paul and Mogel’s script is as confused as Dan and sometimes as lost as Oliver. The D Train may not wind up at the stop one expected, but the trip could be worse.
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