High school reunions can be equal parts helpful to ones current life position and poisonous all the same for one specific reason and that is it gives them or their new significant other insight as to who they were and what they did during their four years in school. Reunions can be a fond look back on the naive days of adolescence, when you're in that very awkward position where you're not a child or an adult, yet you hopefully begin to act like and conduct yourself as one. Or they could be places where the reminder you receive about your past is an extremely embarrassing one that could potentially corrupt current personal feelings or even have the one you married walking out on you.
Some of these issues are touched on in writer/director Jamie Linden's 10 Years, a sweet and tender examination of several characters attending their ten year high school reunion. Headlining the picture here is Channing Tatum, in a relaxed, comfortable role, playing a man who has grown up to be quite successful with a beautiful wife (Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Tatum's real life wife) who attends his reunion to meet with her husband's old friends. HHe quickly meets Rosario Dawson, a gorgeous, now married woman, who he has fond memories of in high school, and proceeds to talk to her for the night.
Justin Long assumes a more outgoing, rambunctious role than usual, but no one here has quite the persona as Chris Pratt's character, an obnoxious man, who now must spend the reunion making amends with those he shamelessly bullied to get a laugh in high school. Other smaller side characters include the now pop singer Oscar Isaac and the goofy, but frequently funny Anthony Mackie, providing us with a melting pot of different talents at hand here, all of which given their own time to shine.
10 Years functions in one of the strangest ways any film this year has. It fluctuates between dull and uninteresting to beautifully entertaining. It may be similar to a real high school reunion, where you occasionally meet people you really like and others you can't tolerate. At times, I was very invested in these characters because it appears Linden gave sensitive thought and development to these characters and how they've gone through life in their own unique ways, while at other times, I was restless and hoping for something more compelling and perhaps immersing.
The cast is unanimously capable here, as they all juggle roles they've never been fully exposed to. Tatum, Long, Dawson, and Mackie provide well nuanced performances here that are likely to go under the radar by those who walk into 10 Years hoping for something a little like the ribald and unapologetic American Reunion. Entering with that mindset will be fatal on your behalf. This picture is to be appreciated in a totally different, more sensitive light than an American Pie picture.
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, and Kelly Noonan. Directed by: Jamie Linden.