17th Jan2016

‘Bad Bromance’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Jack Black, James Marsden, Kathryn Hahn, Jeffrey Tambor, Russell Posner, Henry Zebrowski, Kyle Bornheimer, Mike White, Corrina Lyons, Donna Duplantier, Charlotte Gale, Denise Williamson, Han Soto, Danielle Greenup, Dermot Mulroney | Written and Directed by Andrew Mogel, Jarrad Paul


Bad Bromance. That’s an interesting title… You might not have heard it till the debut of this movie on DVD. Hang on though. Did anyone go and see The D Train in UK cinemas? I tried. It was screening once a day at a cinema 20 minutes drive away from me and only at 11pm every night. Talk about burying a movie. Maybe that’s why The D Train has been retitled Bad Bromance for its DVD release? Or maybe it’s because this “comedy” is anything but and the the reviews of the cinema release were less than stellar.

The film sees Jack Black (School of Rock) star as Dan “The D Train” (see, THAT’S where the original title came from – though don’t google “D Train” at work either, it does have another definition) Landsman, nerdy outsider and head of his high school’s 20th reunion committee. Hoping to go from zero to hero, Dan jets to LA to convince Oliver Lawless (James Marsden, X-Men), the school’s most popular guy turned actor, to come to the big bash. But an insane night of Hollywood-style revelry leads to an unexpected bromance that leads to the most outrageous reunion ever…

Did I mention that Bad Bromance is not much of a comedy. Fair enough there are some laughs but this film rests on the much darker end of the black comedy spectrum. So black is the comedy that it veers into depressing drama a lot of the time.This is no typical Jack Black comedy that is for sure…

For those who’ve seen Jack Black’s work in the likes of Bernie won’t be surprised to see him stretch his acting chops for this role – even if the idea that someone could be so shallow to think that a high school reunion is the be all and end all of their life is preposterous. In the end that Black’s character is SO desperate for attention from not only his current friends but the guy who didn’t really know him in high school makes Dan obnoxious and incredibly unlikeable. Even moreso given that he lies to his boss (tambor) to get what he wants as well. Not something you need in a lead character. Marsden doesn’t fare much better his bisexual, washed-up wannabe actor character is as unlikeable and obnoxious as Black’s – though Oliver does seem to fit the stereotypical “struggling actor in Hollywood” mold perfectly!

Once THAT scene happens Bad Bromance heads even further downhill. And fast. The ensuing ‘comedy’ is anything but and the awkwardness of the situation translates badly into the films plot, never really allowing the film to climb out of the dark pit it has dug for itself. The first post-coitus line “Did you get Lawless to come? To the reunion I mean?” is typical of the comedy highs this film hits (sarcasm intended). To be fair it seems Black is relishing the idea of being able to not be his usual wacky self but the sheer bleakness of this film does not make for fun viewing. If I wanted to be depressed I’d video my own life…

Bad Bromance is released on DVD on Janusry 18th.


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