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posted: 9/20/2012 6:00 AM

Reunion tale more bittersweet than comic

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  • "10 Years" stars Channing Tatum as Jake, who meets up with his old flame (Rosario Dawson) a decade after leaving high school.

      "10 Years" stars Channing Tatum as Jake, who meets up with his old flame (Rosario Dawson) a decade after leaving high school.

  • Video: "10 Years" trailer

 
By John DeFore
The Hollywood Reporter

A high-school reunion story that spreads attention among its high-profile cast members more evenly than the average film of this sort, Jamie Linden's "10 Years" is dedicated to the urge to believe that a single get-together can afford closure on everything from prom night disappointments to misguided life choices. More bittersweet than funny but not a downer overall, the pic has reasonable prospects with young viewers who haven't seen many of its thematic ancestors.

Linden's script spreads the subplots around heavily, the movie's main identification is with Jake (Channing Tatum, who just so happens to be a producer), who loves girlfriend Jess (Tatum's wife, Jenna Dewan-Tatum) but can't decide when to pop the question. Bringing Jess along to his 10-year reunion, he's flustered to see high school sweetheart Mary (Rosario Dawson) and the husband (Ron Livingston) he didn't know she had.

Buzzing around Jake in a flurry of "so good to see you!"s are old classmates who became rock stars (Oscar Isaac), moved to the big city (Justin Long), or simply decided to grow up and stop bullying nerds (Chris Pratt, helped by unusually tolerant wife Ari Graynor). As usual with a large ensemble, recounting the subplots (and even the characters) would take a while, but only a couple of key cast members get lost in the shuffle (sorry, Anthony Mackie).

Among the more successful through-lines is a second-chance courtship between Isaac's rock star and the only girl at the reunion (Kate Mara), who isn't fawning over him, and, it turns out, has never even heard his hit song. Among the least pleasing is one in which Pratt tries to make amends with every nerd he ever belittled, winds up making them deeply uncomfortable, and eventually drinks himself into a full reversion to jerk mode. If anybody could keep this ball rolling, it's Pratt, who in previous roles has trained viewers to love him despite many faults. Though we're with Pratt for a while, Linden soon forces him to be more of a boor than we can take.

It wouldn't be a party without some drunken unpleasantness, of course. And "10 Years" benefits from actors (like Dawson) who can generate enough distractingly warm-hearted vibes to keep the overall mood positive. This isn't a new generation's "Big Chill" and doesn't try to be -- but it's a good deal more genuine-feeling than "American Reunion," whose characters graduated just a couple of years earlier than this crew but seem much closer to settling into dull adulthood.

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