Jack Black is going indistinct on us in The D Train, playing a smiling schlemiel, the nicest of nice guys, a chipper townie whose life is centered around bringing everyone back for his twenty-year high school reunion. He's a husband and father, but the reunion seems to be the only thing that matters to him. Just why is never clear; this is one of those movies where any summary of the plot would demand frequent use of the words "for some reason."
The film nudges us to find him ridiculous, but it also asks us to feel sorry for him when the rest of the alumni committee goes out for drinks without him. Problem is, the people hurting his feelings are the first characters we can identify with: Can't we go to that bar, too, where people act like people, rather than follow this unfathomable drip?
No, we have to follow Black's Dan as he pulls a reverse City Slickers, hightailing it to Los Angeles to corral Oliver Lawless (James Marsden), an actor in commercials who was once the high school's most popular dude, and secure his RSVP for the reunion. For some reason Dan tricks his boss into flying him out there under the guise of some potential windfall for their business -- and the boss (Jeffrey Tambor) decides to tag along, meaning we get many scenes of the hoariest of sitcom setups: A liar comes this close to coming clean, but then can't. Still, there is a strong, surprising twenty-minute bromance in the middle that justifies the film's existence, if not its listlessness and familiarity.