10 Years

Directed By: Jamie Linden

Starring: Channing Tatum, Justin Long, Kate Mara, Chris Pratt, Scott Porter, Brian Geraghty, Anthony Mackie, Rosario Dawson, Oscar Isaac, Lynn Collins, Max Minghella, Juliet Lopez, Aaron Yoo, Kelly Noonan, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, and Aubrey Plaza

Hollywood has a tendency to rely on its older, more proven talents to portray younger characters.  Because of this, we sometimes don't relate to characters that are our age and are going through struggles similar to our own lives.  For me, the best example of this in theaters right now is the high school reunion ensemble romantic comedy 10 Years.  The average age of people in general at their tenth reunion is about 28.  With the exception of Max Minghella, Kate Mara, and Ari Graynor, all the top billed cast members of 10 Years are north of 30 years old.  Because of this, I view them as the generation just ahead of me even though I'm just a few years shy of my own ten-year high school reunion.  I almost didn't relate to them despite the fact that this flick is targeting people my age.

It's hard to believe, but it's been ten years since graduation for a lucky group of late twenty-somethings.  As a group of old friends come together for their high school reunion, they relive old memories, come to terms with their current life struggles, and think about their futures.  Others still live in the past and put other former classmates on pedestals years later. 

For former lovers Jake and Mary (Channing Tatum and Rosario Dawson), this means possibly rekindling old flames.  For the married couple Cully and Sam (Chris Pratt and Ari Graynor), this means having a night out without the kids.  For one-hit wonder Reeves and his former classmate Elise (Oscar Isaac and Kate Mara), this means figuring out whether they have a future together.  Finally for Marty (Justin Long), AJ (Max Minghella), and Anna (Lynn Collins), this means acting like they're still teenagers for one night.  For everyone, this reunion means knocking back quite a few drinks and having a damn good night.

It's rare that filmmakers ever get an ensemble romantic comedy right.  Hollywood really should just give up on the sub-genre.  Like many films before it, 10 Years fails on many levels.  First, there's the expected bad acting from Channing Tatum and his wife Jenna Dewan-Tatum.  They, in fact, drag poor Rosario Dawson down as the vast majority of her scenes involve one or both of them.  Second, the plot is completely muddled as director Jamie Linden struggles to maintain a coherent vision in a film with so many players.  Linden just can't keep it together bouncing from one storyline to another at a very rapid pace.  Finally, the cast is having a whole lot of fun on set, but that doesn't always translate to entertainment for us as viewers.  Some of their antics just aren't funny.

Though I have plenty of issues with the film, there are some bright spots in 10 Years.  The Chris Pratt-Ari Graynor storyline is done really well.  Pratt just gets to be a drunk fool on screen.  Whether apologizing for being an asshole in high school or getting on stage for some karaoke, this guy consistently delivers the laughs.  Unlike her recent role in the phone sex comedy For a Good Time, Call..., Ari Graynor gets to be the straight man of this comedic duo.  She brings a good bit of dry humor to the film. 

The romance between Oscar Isaac's Reeves and Kate Mara's Elise is also well-done.  Linden and these two stars do a great job of making us want to root for this potential couple.  It doesn't hurt that Isaac and Mara have great chemistry and that sparks fly when they're on screen together.  Their scenes are fueled by a lot of raw emotion and a solid backstory.  After all, Reeves is a singer famous for his hit "Best I Never Had" and Elise's life is apparently an open book on the web.

Despite these bright spots, the film is not satisfying on the whole.  All in all, 10 Years gets a 0.09% rating.  Have a few whiskey sours with this one.