Synopsis: In 10 Years, Channing Tatum plays Jake, who is deeply in love with his girlfriend (Jenna Dewan-Tatum) and ready to propose-until he runs into his high school flame (Rosario Dawson) for the first time in years. Jake’s friend Cully (played by funnyman Chris Pratt) married his cheerleader girlfriend (Ari Graynor), and has been looking forward to the reunion so he can finally apologize to all the classmates he bullied in high school. However, after a few too many drinks, the jock-turned-family man ends up reverting back to his old ways instead. Meanwhile, longtime rivals Marty (Justin Long) and A.J (Max Minghella) spend the night picking up right where they left off, vying to impress the hottest girl in class (Lynn Collins). The famous one of the group, Reeves (Oscar Isaac) is now a rock star but is still too shy to talk to his high school crush (Kate Mara).
Release Date: September 14, 2012 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Comedy, Romantic Comedy
Written and directed by Jamie Linden (writer of Dear John), 10 Years is a lot like an actual high school reunion. On paper, it sounds like a great time – old friends, reliving the glory days, seeing who’s lost the most hair and gained the most weight, and an open bar. What’s not to like about that? But then you get there, and after the initial greetings, you remember how awkward everything was in high school – the cliques, the never knowing the right things to say – and you wonder how you ever managed to get through it in the first place. Similarly, 10 Years seems like it should be good with a fine cast of accomplished young actors. It starts out in promising fashion but then proceeds to take itself way too seriously.
10 Years focuses on a group of friends that haven’t changed all that much in their decade out of high school. This isn’t very surprising, because of course, no one changes all that much from the ages of 18 to 28 (or 35 depending on the actual ages of some of these actors). There’s Jake (Channing Tatum), the homecoming king/jock with a heart of gold that still has feelings for his ex-high school sweetheart Mary (Rosario Dawson) even though he’s in a serious relationship.
Chris Pratt (The Five-Year Engagement, “Parks and Recreation”) is Cully, the big-drinking bully that wants to gain forgiveness from every nerd he ever picked on. Justin Long plays Marty, the funny, dorky kid (surprise!) who still pines for the most popular party girl (Lynn Collins) in school along with his rival A.J. (Max Minghella). The one character who has changed is Reeves (Oscar Isaac), the rock star that has returned to reclaim his high school crush. Rock stars may have it all, but they’re not complete until they bed their high school crush, it’s just a rule.
The best thing that can be said about 10 Years is that it feels sincere, and it features some really touching moments between its characters. Just when you think a scene is going to become overtly cliche it does well to avoid it (save for one predictable musical performance towards the end). The problem is that it’s neither very funny nor dramatically interesting. There seems to be very little at stake. While that may make it more true to life, it makes it less entertaining.
A movie like Grosse Point Blank worked so well because the reunion was just a part of the story. Here, the reunion and subsequent after-party at the local dive bar are all there is. 10 Years wants us to care about too many characters in too little time with not enough back-story. Ultimately, the fact that 10 Years‘ awkward/hard to watch moments greatly outnumber its amusing ones is what turns this film from potentially very good to merely mediocre.
Regarding the film’s casting, Linden has stated that they subverted the process: “Instead of writing roles and then going out and finding actors to fit into those roles, we picked actors we wanted with work with up front, and then we’d create the characters together. And then I wrote a few roles for actors that I didn’t know, but admired, like Justin Long and Chris Pratt.”
If Hollywood ever gave out a “Most Improved Actor” award, Channing Tatum would have to be up for consideration. He’s come a long way since his Step Up days. He showed his comedic chops in 21 Jump Street (2012), received great reviews in Magic Mike and he’s very good here as well. He and Rosario Dawson have nice chemistry, and you can sense how much they’d both love to give it one more try. Jenna Dewan Tatum (Channing’s real life wife and Step Up co-star) plays his current girlfriend nicely, though she’s not given very much to do.
Chris Pratt and Aubrey Plaza provide the brief moments of much-needed comedy, as does Anthony Mackey as Andre, the lady’s man who just can’t change his ways. Lynne Collins is impressive as the party girl who’s hiding a secret. Oscar Isaac portrays the reluctant rock star with sincerity, but his meandering scenes with his crush (Kate Mara) seem to go on endlessly and painfully. Overall, the ensemble cast is quite good, and their performances prevent 10 Years from being worse than it could have been.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Jamie Linden
- Producer(s): Marty Bowen, Reid Carolin, Wyck Godfrey, Channing Tatum
- Screenwriter(s): Jamie Linden
- Cast: Channing Tatum (Jake), Jenna Dewan-Tatum (Jess), Justin Long (Marty), Max Minghella (AJ), Oscar Isaac (Reeves), Chris Pratt (Cully), Ari Graynor (Sam)
- Cinematographer: Steven Fierberg
- Music Score: Chad Fischer
- Country Of Origin: USA