The D Train

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
The D Train Movie Poster Image
High school reunion dramedy has mature sexual content.
  • R
  • 2015
  • 98 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Dan learns a little too late that a few small lies can snowball into an impossible-to-control situation. Honesty is the only way out, but it can't always repair all the damage. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Dan doesn't quite see that he's got everything he needs to be happy: loving family, beautiful home, stable career. Instead, he's reliving his not-so-satisfying high school years by organizing a class reunion, and he's desperate to shake his nerdy past by tracking down one of the coolest guys from their graduating class.

Violence

Some heated arguments.

Sex

A key part of the film is one of the main characters' fluid sexuality; at one point he seduces a happily married man. They kiss, and there's a brief shot of them moving together. The husband is later seen having enthusiastic sex with his wife, with plenty of noise and motion. A brief moment in a strip club includes a few bare breasts, and there's a quick shot of a man's butt as he gets out of bed. Sometimes-frank discussion about sex. A nervous teen wants to ask his dad some questions about sex, but instead he gets a pretty graphic lesson from a houseguest. 

Language

Plenty of swearing throughout the film, including "s--t," "f--k," "p---y," and more. 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Friends spend two nights out on the town in an alcohol-and-drug-fueled extravaganza that includes liquor, cocaine, cigarettes, strip clubs, and more. Some characters smoke throughout the film, and one later gets very drunk at an event.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know the The D Train is a mature dramedy starring Jack Black and James Marsden that has a heavy emphasis on sex. The key conflict comes when a seemingly happily married man is seduced by a bisexual acquaintance and later has trouble coming to terms with their unexpected encounter. That leads to lies, which build into bigger lies, and soon he's buckling under the strain of maintaining a huge deception. There's also a lot of drinking, smoking, and drugs, as well as plenty of swearing ("s--t," "f--k," and more) and a few sex scenes, including the one between the two men and another energetic one between the married man and his wife. Nudity includes quick glimpses of bare bottoms and breasts. This is definitely a film for grown-ups and older teens. 

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What's the story?

Dan (Jack Black) wasn't popular in high school, and now that's he's helping organize his class' 20-year reunion, it's clear that he's still not part of the in-crowd -- and it stings. While channel-surfing late one night, Dan is surprised to see a TV commercial starring Oliver (James Marsden), a former classmate who's looking tanned, toned, and oh so cool. Dan concocts a plan: If he can fly to LA, find the rising star, and convince him to attend the reunion, the event is guaranteed to be a success. And not only will Dan get the credit for putting together an awesome party, he'll also get to hang out with the most successful person in the class. Once he gets to Southern California, things start to fall into place: Dan goes bar-hopping with Oliver and convinces him to come home for the party. But things take an unexpected turn when the actor admits he's bisexual and seduces the happily married family man. 

Is it any good?

Jack Black is known for his comedic chops, but here he's playing drama, and he's surprisingly good. You can feel Dan's buried pain, his desire to be accepted by the gang, and his sheer joy in spending time with Oliver. Dan isn't gay, but by the time the two men are alone together, it's clear why he's let himself be seduced. It's probably the highlight of his year.

Too bad it's also his undoing; we watch Dan unravel as his deceptions spiral out of control, all as he tries to maintain that glow of friendship. Marsden is a good foil to Black in THE D TRAIN, playing a narcissistic, manipulative wannabe actor who's not nearly as successful as his classmates seem to think but is happy to take advantage of their awe. Oliver is certainly fun to be around, but he's not at all trustworthy. The two stars make this improbable situation into an interesting film, with very human emotions at play. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the role that sex plays in The D Train. How does it impact the characters? What consequences to the encounters have? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.

  • How are drinking, drugs, and smoking depicted in the film? Are they glamorized? Are there realistic consequences?

  • How do you think Dan's relationship with his former classmates in the present compares to his connection to them when they were in high school? Why is heso desperate to chang their perception of him, and what is he willing to risk to make it happen? 

Movie details

For kids who love drama and comedy

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