Matt Pais, @mattpais
RedEye movie critic
September 20, 2012
**1/2 (out of four)
Talk about people with a past coming together.
The perfectly OK high school reunion drama “10 Years” contains countless onscreen reunions: Channing Tatum and his wife, Jenna Dewan-Tatum (“Step Up”). Tatum and Scott Porter (“Dear John”). Justin Long and Ari Graynor (“For a Good Time, Call”). Graynor and Chris Pratt (“What’s Your Number?”’). Pratt and Aubrey Plaza (“Parks and Recreation”). Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty (“The Hurt Locker”) and both of them with Kate Mara (“We Are Marshall”). Oscar Isaac and Max Minghella (“Agora”). There are probably some I’m forgetting.
Fortunately, this isn’t a case of friends hanging out for the purpose of taking a vacation and calling it a movie (that was called “Couples Retreat”). “10 Years” takes a bare-bones concept and lets a spectrum of forced and poignant moments play out over a night that’s happily light on drunken shenanigans. Well, except for Cully (Pratt), who’s determined to make amends with the introverts he bullied in high school but comes on too boozy and too strong. He’s overcompensating; he needs the apologies more than these guys do. His embarassed wife (Graynor) realizes that she married someone who’s an a-hole even when he’s apologizing.
The directorial debut for “Dear John” writer Jamie Linden operates on such a relaxed vibe it borders on inconsequential, particularly as Olivia (Plaza) learns that her husband (Geraghty) used to break dance and mimic black culture. Meanwhile, the efforts of Marty (Long) and AJ (Minghella) to flirt with the hottie that got away (Lynn Collins) couldn’t be more irritating if they tried. Their rapport eventually plays like the obnoxious, earnest version of Joe Lo Truglio and Ken Marino in “Wet Hot American Summer.”
A 10-year high school reunion represents a high drama situation anyway, yet the movie dials up the melodrama a bit too far once kids and marriage and other big ticket items come into play. The movie simultaneously offers too much and not enough. Despite placing primary interest in its male characters, “10 Years” connects best when Linden recognizes the difference between these people now rather than these people then. Jake loves his girlfriend (Dewan-Tatum) but clearly has dangling emotions for his ex (Rosario Dawson); music star Reeves (Isaac) welcomes the one girl (Mara) who likes him for who he is off-stage. Like so many of us, they’re people coming to terms with being adults, each with a lingering “T” that still needs to be crossed.
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