Back in the 90s when I loved me some bad TV, I watched a show that only managed 21 episodes over its 2 seasons, but man was I hooked. It was called Second Noah and I’ve often wondered if I made it all up as I seem to be the only earthling to remember it (ever so fondly).
IMDB is backing my story up and reminding me that it was about a writer who married a zookeeper, and then adopted 8 kids and untold number of cute animals. That was all background as far as I was concerned because the hunky oldest son, naturally a bad boy, was played by James Marsden. So that’s how I discovered him (and also Joey Lauren Adams of Mallrats fame, who played his edgy girlfriend). You can bet I was all over him in Disturbing Behaviour, was disappointed some idiot covered his handsome face in X-Men, had my ardour cooled when he appeared briefly in Zoolander as John Wilkes Booth, but anyway, he’s bona-fide Hollywood now and mugging like crazy in this new movie with Jack Black, also known (apparently) as Bad Bromance.
Jack Black plays a family man who thinks high school were his glory days. He’s not exactly right – he was a loser then and he’s a loser now, but he’s super keen on organizing his 20th high school reunion. His classmates aren’t quite as excited so he flies to L.A. to convince the class’s most famous and successful alumni (James Marsden) (who has just appeared shirtless in a national Banana Boat commercial) to accept the invitation.
Turns out, hotshot commercial actors are only fun up to a certain point. And what point is that? Well you’ll have to watch to find out. The truth is, this is a pretty standard comedy. Jack Black plays uptight pathetic weirdo remarkably well and James Marsden takes no effort at all to play too handsome for his own good, successfully pulling off man jewelry and sexy salt and pepper stubble. Katheryn Hahn, Jeffrey Tambor, and Mike White (sadly underused) round out a funny cast in a not funny enough movie. As a dramedy it manages to fail on both counts, offering no character development and only half-hearted chuckles. But as a vehicle for seeing James Marsden’s dreamy pecs, it’s aces – fair warning though, it comes with a heaping side dish of Jack Black’s tits as well, so you know, really think about whether you’re up for that.