Movie Review: 10 Years

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A group of people at different stages in their lives return to their old high school for their 10 year reunion.

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Jamie Linden, 2011

Ten years after graduating high school, Jake (Channing Tatum) brings his girlfriend Jess (Jenna Dewan Tatum) back to his hometown for his high school reunion. He heads straight to the home of Cully (Chris Pratt), a former bully who married his high school sweetheart Sam (Ari Graynor), with whom he had kids. Also returning for the reunion are former nerdy friends Marty (Justin Long) and AJ (Max Minghella), each of whom is more impressed with the other’s life than their own. Popular singer Reeves (Oscar Isaac) makes the spontaneous decision to join them. At the reunion, the group of friends confronts their high school demons and reconnect. Jake confronts his high school girlfriend Mary (Rosario Dawson) about how their relationship fell apart, and Reeves is drawn to the mysterious Elise (Kate Mara) despite his popularity with everyone else. Then he sings. That’s the important part of the movie, really.

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Yeah, that pretty much sums up what this movie thinks is interesting. And…that’s not Oscar Isaac in that picture, right? I’ve spent the last two months looking at pictures of Oscar Isaac and I’m really sure that’s not him.

10 Years is the kind of movie that you just know someone who’s friends with a bunch of actors has lazily put together, hiring his friends to hang out for a weekend and drink beers and pretend like they’re acting. In addition to the star-studded cast listed above, the film also features Anthony Mackie, Aubrey Plaza, Ron Livingston, Lynn Collins, and a few other recognisable faces. Not many of them are doing anything particularly memorable here, though. There are just too many characters with not enough to say. Hell, there even appear to be people who are trying to be main characters, but I actually forgot they were in the movie. Jamie Linden is trying for nostalgic and poignant, but we don’t get a good enough sense of who most of these people were in high school to care about how they’ve changed now. Surprisingly, the most effective storyline in this regard winds up involving Marty, AJ, and Lynn Collins’ former party girl Anna when they toilet paper her house. After possibly the lightest storyline up until that point, Lynn Collins almost steals the show by having an actually affecting emotional culmination to her story.

Oddly, the best scene of the movie belongs to Oscar Isaac’s Reeves after having not much to do all movie except look pretty and have insane chemistry with Elise (who has a boyfriend back home but hey, when Oscar Isaac’s full attention is on you, it’s hard to look away). He sings his most popular song during karaoke – a song Oscar Isaac wrote for the movie – and completely steals the show. Channing Tatum’s Jake makes for a dull as dishwater main character – his relationship with Jess is cute, and never really feels imperilled by the return of Mary, even though Mary is Rosario freakin’ Dawson. There aren’t any stand-out characters, anybody you have any particular desire to return to. Nobody is exceptionally funny, or mean, or impressive in any way. The sound design and handheld cinematography are almost as lazy as the script (or perhaps there wasn’t much of a script – that would make sense). It’s watchable, and there are cute moments performed by what really is an impressive cast, but it’s eminently forgettable (except that one singing scene, really, it’s excellent, but there are spoilers for the film so watch at your own discretion). Weirdly, the film almost feels like you’re actually attending the high school reunion of people you don’t know: most people are pretty average now, they spout some nonsense that seems deep but has no real meaning, making references and inside jokes that you have no way of understanding.

10 Years on IMDb

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