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Movie Review

'D Train' Doesn't Deliver On Its Promise


  The D Train starts out looking like a good deal of chuckle-type fun and maybe even some laughs out loud-- nothing particularly original, but an enjoyable reworking of material that is familiar but always entertaining.

It's about a small-town high school reunion, and that's fertile ground for nostalgia, and old-time music and dancing, and usually revivals of old romance. And Jack Black has guaranteed full attendance at the big party, which invites comic jabs at the guy who is overcome with self-confidence that he can accomplish something that we can be sure won't be easy. And best of all, he pins his hopes on the big class celebrity, James Marsden, whose sole accomplishment, we quickly learn, is a nationally broadcast commercial for sunscreen. His office apartment is even humbler than Black's home.

And before long, we find Black's boss, Jeffrey Tambor, taking advantage of the supposed big shot's visit for a business deal.

With Jack Black, Jeffrey Tambor, and a setup like that, we can surely settle back and feel confident of an enjoyable time ahead.

But we don't have it.

There are very fine movies that start out looking like satiric farces and then turn into something serious-- Billy Wilder's The Apartment comes to mind as an outstanding example. But The D Train needs a lot better script to accomplish anything like that. It gradually turns into a mere muddle with a moral lesson at the end that its makers feel strongly enough about to have both spoken and written on the screen, but that doesn't fit the rest of the picture at all.

Black is better in his serious scenes than in his comic ones, and Tambor doesn't have any comic scenes at all. There is a sexual subplot that is downright distasteful, and too many comic elements are never developed. The D Train is a good premise that fell by the wayside and disappeared.