10 Years

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Robin Clifford of Reeling Reviews
Robin Clifford 
  10 Years
Laura Clifford of Reeling Reviews
Laura Clifford 

A group of former high school friends converge on their old home town for their 10th year reunion and find out what happened in each others’ lives after “10 Years”

Robin:
This is a big ensemble film with no fewer than ten principal characters as these now 28-year olds get together again after a decade apart and leading their separate lives. One who stayed in town, Cully (Chris Pratt), married and settled down with Sam (Ari Graynor) and had a couple of kids. Once the BMOC in high school he wants to make amends for his old bullying ways and plans to use the reunion to apologize and get forgiveness. Over consumption of alcohol will doom these plans. Then there is Reeves (Oscar Isaac), a musician who hit it big but is not happy with his fame.  Jake (Channing Tatum) brings his girlfriend, Jess (Jenna Dewan-Tatum), to the festivities but is taken aback when his old high school flame, Mary (Rosario Dawson) unexpectedly arrives at the reunion. Also showing up are old school buds AJ (Max Minghella), married, and Marty (Justin Long), successful, single and wanting to have every woman that he did not sleep with in high school. Marty had been smitten with sexy, unattainable Anna (Lynn Collins) all through high school and he, with AJ’s help, sets out to win her over. There is even more going on with several other main characters and their stories.

First-time helmer and writer Jamie Linden packs his screenplay chock full of different turmoil, hijinks, old feelings and new loves, but there is too much going on here to fully develop any of the characters. Force of personality is the order of the day and the actors are uniformly successfully in fulfilling that order. No one, except maybe Chris Pratt and Ari Graynor as the “old” married couple, get to put any spin on the individual characters. Pratt, though, is on the money as the jock gone to fat and living with a guilty conscience over his past bullying. Graynor, too, is effective as the tolerant wife who puts up with the antics of her boy/man and keeps him (sort of) out of trouble.

“10 Years” is aimed at the twenty and thirty somethings out there and hits its target well enough. There is an embarrassment of wealth in the young acting pool participating in this enormous ensemble filled with drama and comedy. It is a likable film that does what it sets out to do. I give it a positive C+. 

Laura:
Jake (Channing Tatum) is planning on proposing to his girlfriend of over three years, Jess (Jenna Dewan-Tatum, "Step Up"). They're obviously perfect for each other and maybe the occasion of his Lake Howell high school reunion will be he right place.  But although he hasn't moved far from where he grew up and his friend Sam (Ari Graynor, "For a Good Time, Call...") sad she wouldn't show, he will be forced to confront Mary (Rosario Dawson, "Unstoppable"), the high school sweetheart he hasn't seen in almost "10 Years."

Writer/director Jamie Linden ("We Are Marshall") makes his directorial debut with a huge ensemble of talented actors all doing exactly what we'd expect from yet another reunion film.  "10 Years" is certainly better than the abomination that was "American Reunion," and Linden has a talent for following multiple threads with a loose, improvisatory style, but in the end, this is mostly about watching a lot of pretty people acting naturally. And we never really do find out just why Jake and Mary split.

This is the first time Tatum's starred with his wife since their debuts in "Step Up" and the two have an easy, sexy chemistry.  Also on board is Oscar Isaac ("Agora," "Drive") as hip indie musician Reeves, the visiting celebrity who finally gets up the nerve to woo his high school crush, Elise (Kate Mara, "We Are Marshall," TV's 'American Horror Story'), the only schoolmate who has no idea he's famous.  Cully (Chris Pratt, TV's 'Parks and Recreation') is the party jock, now married to former cheerleader Sam, who wants to use the occasion to apologize to all the nerds and geeks he tormented, but who gets so drunk he just harasses them all over again, particularly Peter Jung (Aaron Yoo, "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist"), who gives Sam a jolt of insight into her marriage.  The married AJ (Max Minghella, "Agora," "The Social Network") surprises his bestie Marty (Justin Long, "For a Good Time, Call...") by competing for the attentions of high school 'it' girl Anna (Lynn Collins, "John Carter").  Olivia's (Aubrey Plaza, TV's 'Parks and Recreation') stunned to discover her husband Garrity (Brian Geraghty, " We Are Marshall," "The Hurt Locker") used to think he was Black and Scott (Scott Porter, TV's 'Friday Night Lights,' "Dear John") visits home for the last time from Tokyo with his Japanese wife Suki (Eiko Nijo).

And there is not a single surprise here.  Not one.  With "10 Years," you're more likely to remember the script aberrations, like why Olivia initially seems horrified by her husband's past, then later thinks it's cool or how Mary's husband Paul (Ron Livingston, "Office Space") got home when she's left with the car and they drive 45 minutes to get there.  Still, the major players all feel real and relatable and the Albuquerque location projects anywhere U.S.A.

C+
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