Monday, January 7, 2013

Paragraph Movie Reviews: 10 Years

If you don't have plans to see this movie, you can check the spoilers here and then come back.

10 Years is a movie produced by and starring Channing Tatum and written and directed by Jamie Linden (he wrote We Are Marshall and Dear John, neither of which I've seen); it chronicles the 10 year reunion of a high school class, ostensibly centered around Tatum's Jake seeing his old girlfriend Mary (Rosario Dawson) for the first time in nearly a decade, but actually really well-balanced with storylines for just about every member of the impressive ensemble cast given if not equal then respectable and appropriate weight. From what I understand, Tatum doubled as pseudo-casting director, getting his actual wife Jenna Dewan to play Jake's new girlfriend, Jess, and a bunch of his real life buddies to play his group of friends in the movie; all of it makes for great chemistry and a sense that this was genuinely fun and maybe a bit emotional to make, which translates into the story and end product feeling very natural. Honestly, everybody in the movie is good--just seeing the cast list at the end of the trailer is what got me interested in watching--and I could run down each one by one if it didn't violate the core mission statement of my "paragraph movie reviews" (which I already do by making each of them like nine sentences long and ignoring obvious breaks...but I digress). Chris Pratt is a standout as Cully, the "reformed" bully who spends the movie trying to convince his high school victims that he's grown up, but instead gets so drunk he makes everybody around him uncomfortable and thoroughly embarrasses his wife, a put-upon Ari Graynor; what makes Pratt's performance special is he's doing the same goofball, slapstick comedy he does on Parks and Rec and everywhere else, but while it starts off funny, by the end it's just tragic how obviously trapped this guy is and what a mess he's made of what seems on the surface to be a decent life. Oscar Isaac as Reeves, the classmate who became a famous musician, has the genuinely touching love story of the movie with Elise--the always underrated Kate Mara--the outsider girl he's been carrying a torch for since high school and ignores all the people who want his autograph to adorably flirt with all film. There's something for everybody whether you're looking for pathos, romance, comedy or whatever here, and it's all done within the framework of a story that feels real. The little things that bothered me early on to the last got resolved or had a turn that turned me around by the end. Justin Long and Max Minghella's buddy comedy ends up having a heartfelt twist; the weirdness between Jake and Mary that felt a bit overwrought gets totally redeemed by their final scene together; Scott Porter feels marginalized for the first two thirds of the movie as the friend who moved to Japan and seems to just be there to fill another seat in the car (and his character's name is Scott P), then has an awesomely Scott Porter scene and fantastic Scott Porter speech that you realize could only have been given by a character who had been somewhat on the fringe, and it all feels justified. This movie really won me over (as you can probably tell) on just about every level; you may enjoy it a bit more if you're approaching or past your own 10 year reunion (I'm a little over two years past), but I think anybody looking for a well done, entertaining little piece of entertainment with a brilliant, well-utilized cast will dig it.