Sunday, September 23, 2012

Movie Review: "10 Years"

Reunions are fertile grounds for film, everything from The Big Chill and Return of the Secaucus Seven, Indian Summer, even the recent American Reunion has mined the reuniting of high school, college, or camp friends for dramatic and comedy gold, with mixed results. But with this year marking the 25th(!) anniversary of my high school graduation (our reunion has been postponed until next year, he says while dieting) and my recent obsession with all things Channing Tatum (don't judge), I went to see 10 Years with no real expectations beyond it being an enjoyable film.

While the movie doesn't break any new ground, it certainly didn't disappoint in any way, and in fact, left this utter sap feeling nostalgic for old friends and the desire to relive bygone days. The story of a group of high school friends gathering for their 10-year reunion, 10 Years is funny and introspective without falling prey to the typical stereotypes of reunions. But what made the movie even more enjoyable was the fact that many of the actors have worked together in previous films, so their chemistry was genuine. (It was seriously like playing a game of "Six Degrees" when figuring out who had appeared in which films together.)

The group of friends includes Jake (Channing Tatum) and his long-time girlfriend, Jess (Jenna Dewan-Tatum); former bully Cully (Chris Pratt), who is intent on making amends to those he abused in high school, much to their chagrin, and that of his long-suffering wife, Sam (Ari Graynor); smooth-talking Andre (Anthony Mackie); best friends and rivals Marty (Justin Long) and AJ (Max Minghella), who are both jealous of the lives they believe the other leads; Garrity (Brian Geraghty), who never told his wife Olivia (Aubrey Plaza) that he used to act like he was black; musician Reeves (Oscar Isaac), who has become a famous singer, but didn't expect to run into Elise (Kate Mara), the loner on whom he had a crush; former hottie Anna (Lynn Collins), who is looking for one more blaze of high school glory; and Mary (Rosario Dawson), Jake's ex-girlfriend, who surprises everyone when she shows up with her older husband, Paul (Ron Livingston).

I love the way all of the storylines unfolded, even if I was amazed that this was the most attractive bunch of high school alumni I'd ever seen. There's a little comedy, a little drama, even a little music (once you hear Oscar Isaac's Never Had you'll want it on constant repeat), and the movie makes you think without being heavy-handed.

Channing Tatum really has a magnetic presence, and he has undeniable chemistry with Dewan-Tatum who is, of course, his real-life wife. (His chemistry with Dawson is also quite believable.) Isaac has an immensely likeable charm, and Long and Minghella play against each other quite well. Geraghty brings a shy humor to his role, and Plaza's wide-eyed skepticism is perfect for her role as a wife who discovers her husband's secret side.

Give this movie a shot. You'll definitely enjoy it.

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