10 Years review, 10 Years Blu-ray review
Starring
Channing Tatum, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Chris Pratt, Justin Long, Max Minghella, Rosario Dawson, Anthony Mackie, Ari Graynor, Oscar Isaac, Kate Mara, Scott Porter, Lynn Collins, Brian Geraghty, Aubrey Plaza, Ron Livingston
Director
Jamie Linden
10 Years

Reviewed by Ezra Stead


A

comedy about a high school reunion is bound to play on feelings of nostalgia, and as a graduate of the class of 2001, I am roughly the exact target audience for Jamie Linden's directorial debut, “10 Years.” However, despite this fact, I wasn't entirely won over by it. It's not a bad movie, by any means, but it also doesn't strike me as particularly memorable, and though it is essentially a comedy with some more serious dramatic overtones, it has very few real laughs. The dramatic stuff is handled better than the comedy, but even that is bogged down by a lack of credibility and a weakness for predictable sentimentality.

Channing Tatum stars as Jake, the alpha male of his high school clique who is now, to everyone else's surprise, a boring mortgage broker. As the film begins, he is nervously anticipating the decision to propose marriage to his girlfriend, Jess (Tatum's real-life wife, Jenna Dewan-Tatum), as he prepares to relive his memories with a wide variety of old friends. Jake was extremely popular in high school, the kind of kid who could “dress like a Village Person and still be cool,” so it follows that he had a lot of friends who might not have known each other if not for him. His most obvious connection is fellow jock Cully (Chris Pratt), who is now married to another high school acquaintance of theirs, Sam (Ari Graynor), and has otherwise changed very little. A boorish, bullying oaf in high school, Cully plans to make apologies to the many former outcasts he wronged in those days, yet he also plans to get epically drunk. Predictably, the latter plan does a great deal of damage to the former.

Reeves (Oscar Isaac) has probably changed the most since high school, having become a successful singer and songwriter with a hit single that makes him the most sought after guy at the reunion. Marty (Justin Long) and A.J. (Max Minghella) also seem to be quite successful in their own ways, with Marty having moved to New York and A.J. proudly displaying pictures of his boat, despite the fact that he lives nowhere near any major bodies of water. These two former nerds provide some of the best comedy in the film, as they compete for the attention of the hottest girl in their class, Anna (Lynn Collins), while Reeves' subplot is perhaps the most blatantly sentimental, as he reconnects with Elise (Kate Mara), a former crush from whom circumstances have always kept them apart.

Jake still has unresolved feelings for Mary (Rosario Dawson), his high school sweetheart, who is now married to Paul (Ron Livingston). In fact, the only one of the whole crew who seems to have fully moved on from high school is Scott (Scott Porter), though even he admits to doing a “ring check” on Anna, just out of curiosity about whether she is married. Rounding out the large ensemble cast are Garrity (Brian Geraghty) and his wife Olivia (Aubrey Plaza), as well as the smooth-talking, charismatic Andre (Anthony Mackie), who manages to transcend “token black guy” status, but just barely. With the exception of Mackie, who gets some significant screen time through his interactions with most of the other main characters, these characters are mostly wasted. The unresolved love story between Jake and Mary is ostensibly one of the main thrusts of the story, but it feels rather flat and unimportant, and Olivia is primarily in the film only to react comically to the fact that Garrity used to run with a mostly black crowd.

This is not to say that any of the performances are poor, which they certainly are not. It's just that the material these young actors have been given is nothing special, a retread of similar beats in similar films like “St. Elmo's Fire,” “The Big Chill” or any other film that reunites long-lost friends after a significant period of time. The characters are all likable enough, though Pratt has his work cut out for him with the intolerably immature Cully, but the life lessons they garner from the evening's experiences feel pat and contrived. “10 Years” is an agreeable and entertaining film that leaves a brief, good feeling and not much else.


Single-Disc Blu-ray Review:

The only special feature on the disc is a small collection of deleted scenes, which is a shame, because there was surely plenty of great behind the scenes material (like alternate takes, a gag reel, etc.) that could have easily been included on the Blu-ray.

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