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10 Years (2011)

Written and Directed by Jamie Linden

The otherwise trend of throwing as many big named Actors into a movie and forming a plot around them is not necessarily a new concept. It used to be a rarity (back in the day) and something audiences could usually look forward to. The idea of a fun film with too much talent thrown in together being very hit or miss, depending strictly on the Actors cast and story entailed. In recent years, films like Valentines Day and New Year’s Eve have spawned in their own popularity for the simple fact of running out of original ideas that could  be held by a couple of talented Actors on their own detailing in an actual story-line. Ok, so not really. But what it can feel like at times.

  Writer/Director Jamie Linden and Channing Tatum worked previously on the film Dear John as Linden wrote the script. Yet while on set discussed how Linden would be attending his own 10 year reunion soon enough, along with Actor Scott Porter. Upon returning, continued their conversation and spoke of how it was as though no time had passed and the interactions between everyone were as though reverted back to their childhood in a sense. Turning such into a film with a group of Actors who had already been familiar with one another off set. Of course, the argument of having too many people to follow in the film, counters with the fact that this is trying to condense an entire High School Reunion into a 100 minute production. Naturally, covering an entire student body would prove the much more difficult task. So considering, it was nice to see that as much as following 15 main people may have deterred from understanding everything going on, that otherwise it would have felt too partial.

The Players: Making this as simple as we can, most people were paired with  another cast mate. So I’ll simplify them as best as can. Keeping in mind that there were clear indications of what “role” each played. Referring to who they were back in school as well as the transition they had reached by the end.

Garrity (Brian Geraghty) & Olivia (Aubrey Plaza): A married couple of which only Garrity was attending his own reunion. Obtaining a secret life his wife was unaware of as his classmates found it a surprising that he even ended up marrying a white girl! Nothing a lot of alcohol couldn’t mend as Olivia eventually loosens up, not receiving the news so well. Basically having no idea about a big chunk of his life as Garrity felt too ashamed to embrace such until the present. But making the two closer in the end despite the initial awkward moments after discovering.

Andre (Anthony Mackie) & Scott (Scott Porter): While not exactly linked to one another, they are two parts in the dominant male group. Andre, having tried his hand at love and not prevailing, finds that having whoever he wanted at his dispense would have to suffice for the time being. Scott, being married and presently living in Japan, loved every minute of where his journey has taken him and had no doubts about what the future may hold. Including the very possibility of never returning to the states.

Reeves (Oscar Isaac) & Elise (Kate Mara): Their story will undoubtedly be a favorite for most as it’s not only cute and romantic but some of the only parts in the script that weren’t completely ad-libbed. Elise remained shy  throughout most of High School, looking forward to only when the last bell would ring. While Reeves harbored a well kept crush, having kept his eye on her the entirety of the time. Becoming a famous musician with a hit song that he ends up performing at an after party with familiar connotations that Elise had never realized. Oscar Isaac’s performance was easily my favorite and he has a beautiful voice.

Marty (Justin Long) & AJ (Max Minghella): While clearly having a relationship that veered on the brink of being related, these two stick together the entire time in their quest of following around Anna at the reunion. Fawning over her  in somewhat pathetic terms as married AJ not only doesn’t discuss his wife too often but tries showing off his “baby,” a boat we later find out wasn’t even his. While Marty claims to live fast in the big city of NY, hooking up with models and unable to complain of life at the moment. The truth being far from the case and in actuality, hoping the image presenting would deter from his emotions of life in the present.

Anna (Lynn Collins): The former party girl that everyone had their eye on. Always sure to be the life of the party; developing her methods from her oh so wise, late mother’s advice while growing up. Shaking things up a bit at the reunion but once the time came to move the party to Pretzel’s, heading home. Later enduring the mess Marty and AJ had wrapped up for her. While I did see her particular ending coming beforehand, I liked how the situation played out and how Marty and AJ claimed she glowed more-so now than ever.

Cully (Chris Pratt) & Sam (Ari Graynor): A married couple of which both had attended the same school. Sam, admittedly loving the group that arrived to the reunion together, felt otherwise pure hatred for Cully back in the day. Makes sense to then marry him, right? Having missed the good ol days of partying, Cully decides to spend the night apologizing to the array of geeks he wronged in the past. Of which soon became solely Peter Jung (Aaron Yoo), of who felt more sympathy for Sam. As putting up with his antics and cleaning up after him had to be tiring. Clearly these two felt beyond stuck in their situation, unhappy for a multitude of reasons.

Mary (Rosario Dawson) & Paul (Ron Livingston): Former would be Prom Queen who dated popular jock Jake back in school. Having since married Paul, whose eight years her senior. Holding a secret for the majority of the movie that’s obvious with clear indications if catching on to the way she is about certain things. Though somewhat cryptic in her actions and words around the reunion, appearances can be deceiving. It did almost seem like she would flaunt her marriage and become overly sympathetic, just cause. But decided to come at the last minute with everyone curious of whether this change in plans would affect Jake’s mood any. Paul’s presence simply being for moral support and leaving during the after party, completely over the blast from his wife’s past.

Jake (Channing Tatum) and Jess (Jenna Dewan-Tatum): Clearly who the film revolves around, despite there being no actual main characters. Jess has been dating Jake for the past 3 years and also attends for moral support. Getting along mainly with Sam and making friendly with the rest of the class. Apart from knowing that in real life these two are actually married, their chemistry can’t be denied. I hate using the term trophy wife but the character of Jess was more or less such. Making it clear that while Jake and Mary had a past and had been through so much with the other that each had moved on. There was simply some unresolved issues and confronting the other that seemed like the big climax, fizzling out in the end.

   The cast evidently was comfortable around the other and what’s more was that it was a bunch of great people all around. While I’ve usually been known to give Tatum a hard time for solely being known for his looks and perceived notion of trying too hard at times. I was pleasantly surprised by his performance as the second film of which he’s stared alongside his wife. His charm was able to shine through and I liked how they began and ended the film with the “same shot.” Perhaps because he didn’t feel pressured to falsify his performance in any way and simply was allotted the comfort of being surrounded by actual friends. All in all, you can’t help but recognize the real life counterparts each played to their accuracy and find the film hilarious in the end. Though the film’s appearance may seem a bit deceiving in what genre it particularly pertains to. In the end it’s a feel good drama about how some things really never change. But that it’s better when they do.