’10 Years’ is a better than average directorial debut for Jamie Linden

Kate Mara and Oscar Isaac in ’10 Years’

10 Years is just what it sounds like.  It is the ten year reunion of a group of former high school classmates.  Just like any real reunion, the graduates travel from close by and far away to spend a night drinking, reconnecting and sharing what’s gone in their lives over the decade since they graduated.  Some people dread receiving that invitation in the mail, others salivate and wait impatiently for its arrival and the chance to go.

In that regard, writer/director Jamie Linden isn’t breaking new ground here.  We’ve had formal reunion films (American Reunion) and informal reunion films (The Big Chill).

One of the things that sets 10 Years apart is that the cast is all from the deepest recesses of the gene pool.  Every one fit, attractive, fairly well-dressed and succeeding in life to boot.

Channing Tatum is “Jake”, who is at the reunion with his girlfriend of more than three years, “Jess” (his real-life wife Jenna Dewan-Tatum).  He’s been carrying an engagement ring around for over eight months now, but just can’t bring himself to ask her.  This is because he has unresolved issues with his high school girlfriend “Mary” (Rosario Dawson), who he wanted to see at the reunion.

Max Minghella and Justin Long in ’10 Years’

“Sam” (Ari Graynor) is married to “Cully” (Chris Pratt) and they have a house, two kids and the guilt he carries around for being a real “douchebag” to a fair number of his former classmates.  He plans to spend the night drinking, which is a departure from the norm in his life, and “working” to apologize to those he tortured.

“Reeves” (Oscar Isaac) is taking time from his wildly successful career as a singer/songwriter/performer to go to the reunion, and he has an agenda that involves more than just seeing his old friends Jake and Cully.

“Marty” (Justin Long) and “AJ” (Max Minghella) are good friends who are carpooling to the reunion because AJ’s doctor wife has to work this weekend and can’t be there.  AJ wants to act as Marty’s ‘wingman’ as Marty tries to hook up with any of a number of the unattached women at the reunion.  But his focus ends up on “Anna” (Lynn Collins), who was a serious party girl in high school and who still seems to have the same glow she had back then.

“Elise” (Kate Mara) is there and experiences trouble finding a single picture of herself among the tons of photos on display showing the graduates during their high school years.

There’s more, but I think that’s more than enough to give you the flavor of what happens.  And what will continue to happen when the party moves from the hotel ballroom to “Peanuts,” a local bar familiar to all of the graduates.

Linden’s characters seem a little too good-looking and well-off in a 2012 economy. But it’s the relationships that feel more realistic, and that’s the best part of this film.

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