10 Years (2012)
Cast: Channing Tatum, Justin Long, Rosario Dawson, Oscar Isaac, Chris Pratt, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Max Minghella, Ari Graynor, Lynn Collins
Written and Directed by: Jamie Linden
Synopsis: A group of friends reunite at their high school reunion, each with their own unbelievable story.
10 Years followed a group of high school friends as they returned for their ten-year reunion – with some history, old stories, and new relationships. The film really captured the spirit of reunions – from the awkward “two-minute” conversations (“Hi, how have you been? How’s life? What have you been up to the last 10 years?”), to the strolls down memory lane (covering both the good times and the regrets for past behavior), and the eventuality of realizing life doesn’t always work out the way you expect (whether good or bad).
The script – written by Jamie Linden (We Are Marshall, Dear John) – is well-balanced, with more than enough levity to counteract the less-glamorous topics covered throughout the movie – firmly keeping it in the comedic category, despite the drama. The well-known cast’s delivery accurately showcased the awkward moments that are inevitable in reunions – as well as the eventual melding and settling of a group of former close friends. Chris Pratt (Everwood, Parks & Rec) as Cully, the high school bully turned family-oriented father of two, along with Aaron Yoo (21, Disturbia) as Peter Jung, one the former bullied, stole the show with their back-and-forth antics.
However, 10 Years also captured the poor pacing of the more unfortunate reunions. Granted, the film was great portraying how reunions generally flow, but anyone who’s been to a reunion knows that they can be dull and never-ending if the ice isn’t broken or the timeline of events doesn’t flow well. 10 Years was a yo-yo of timing, several times pulling viewers in only to lose its momentum.
With the exception of a small portion, the characters aren’t introduced well enough before going into the core story – and it contributes to the uncomfortable pacing. Since we don’t know these characters individually before the film, it was more difficult to really care about them – until the last half of the movie when all the storylines started getting tied up. That said, 10 Years does manage to capture the feel of adults trying to assimilate their current maturity with their former divisions and “cliques” common among high-schoolers.
I love the idea of this movie, as there is much opportunity for stories about shameless past deeds, long-time loves, and other topics that make up a large part of the film industry, to be incorporated with the under-explored category of reunions. In fact, many of those same topics are covered in 10 Years, which made it overall a film that I enjoyed, will likely watch again, though probably also one that I will find myself fast-forwarding through some of the lagging segments. In all, not a bad film for Jamie Linden’s directorial debut – and we’ll look forward to seeing his future projects.