What would The Breakfast Club be like at their 10 Year High School Reunion? As blasphemous as that may sound when talking about a Channing Tatum film, all the archetypes are there: the nerds, the jocks, the princesses, and the outcasts. Just like The Breakfast Club was about a bunch of kids finding out who they are/will be, 10 Years directed by Jamie Linden brings us the world of these characters with the realization that the problems never get easier they just become different. Linden wrote the film, his previous screenplays include We Are Marshall and Dear John; he also made this his directorial debut.
10 Years follows a group of high school friends reuniting for what seems to be the first time since their graduation. This film has a big ensemble cast starring Channing Tatum & Rosario Dawson as Jake & Mary, former high school sweethearts, Justin Long & Max Minghella as Marty & AJ, both nerds with the exception that Marty has made it “big time”, Chris Pratt & Ari Graynor as Cully & Sam, former football player & cheerleader, then there’s Oscar Isaac & Kate Mara as Reeves & Elise, both quiet outcasts; Reeves is now a famous musician with his inspiration being Elise, who has no idea. Going through that list it may seem this film could be a jumbled mess along the lines of New Year’s Eve or Valentine’s Day but Linden is very smooth in his transitions of which story is being told and handles it very well.
The centerpiece to the film is Jake, who is attending with his girlfriend Jess played by Tatum’s real wife Jenna Dewan-Tatum. At the start of the film we know Jake wants to propose but isn’t ready yet; we later find out it may have something to do with his old sweetheart Mary. Tatum and Dawson seem to have a good chemistry which helped in believing they had a strong relationship. Marty and AJ play out a good nerd duo to the likes of Weird Science, the exception though is Marty is single and AJ is married. This causes some friction as AJ resents Marty’s city lifestyle and that he gets to “enjoy” life. Their night consists of trying to woo the hottest girl back in school, Anna played by Lynn Collins. Chris Pratt as Cully is the dumbest, biggest buffoon of them all who is on a mission to make up for his past sins in terrorizing geeks; his poor wife Sam has the pleasure of babysitting him. Reeves has to hassle with people asking for pictures and autographs and even though he hates it, he does it in hopes to speak with Elise.
On top of all this we get a few side characters that are just as enjoyable such as Scott & Olivia played by Scott Porter & Aubrey Plaza. Scott brings his wife but is caught off guard when his past catches up with him, in the form of his old best friend Andre played by Anthony Mackie. Scott is what one would call a “wigger” and Olivia has no idea especially when the first question Andre asks is “You married a white girl, for real?” Even though her role is small Plaza brings out the most she can in her usual style of comedy. Mackie does a fun job with his role too as the “Always Ready to Party” Andre.
As I said, this seems like a lot of material to follow but Linden lays it out perfectly. On top of his talent Linden was also granted a great cast to shoot with. Each actor makes their character feel genuine; I was able to connect with each of them which is hard to do with such a large cast. The viewer is given a neat and easy-to-follow film that pays off in the end. At times it may feel generic but each story has its own bow put on it that doesn’t cheat the viewer of a satisfying ending.
3 out of 5