A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that 10 Years is a high school reunion-set dramedy that's full of nostalgia for the way it was and what might have been. Teens may find it interesting to see adult characters looking back on their teen exploits, though the movie doesn't really make high school -- at least the high school the characters (including teen faves Channing Tatum and Justin Long) went to -- sound all that fun. Expect some swearing (including "s--t" and "f--k"), plenty of drinking (sometimes to excess), references to getting high, and some conversations about bullying (though it's played for laughs). There's also a fair bit of sex talk, though not much action beyond kissing/making out.
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What's the story?
Ten years after graduating from high school, Jake (Channing Tatum) is back in his hometown for his reunion, with his charming and supportive girlfriend (Jenna Dewan-Tatum) by his side. He'll soon be joined by his old posse, including Marty (Justin Long), once a wallflower who's now a New Yorker, and AJ (Max Minghella), who's affluent -- he bought a boat just to own one -- and, last they checked, happily married. Reeves (Oscar Isaac) is now a major recording artist, but even the thought of being confronted by his fans can't keep him away from possibly seeing his secret crush (Rooney Mara) again. Cully (Chris Pratt) was a bully in high school and wants to spend the evening apologizing to everyone he terrorized, though his alcohol consumption may get in the way. But for Jake, the biggest question is this: Will the love of his high school life (Rosario Dawson) show up? And if she does, how will he feel about seeing her?
Is it any good?
10 Years feels a lot like your average high school reunion: You generally feel glad to have attended but are eager to have it over with so you can get back to real life (or better movies). You're happy to see some people, you're wowed by a few you never noticed before, and you're reminded of why you stayed away from a select few. Tatum has plenty of charisma, but not enough to make this film transcendent. Instead of showing how old friends experience a return to their past together, we get discrete sections, some of which are weaker/flimsier than the others. (Long and Minghella, for instance, are stuck in a storyline that has their characters reminiscing with their school's most popular party girl, but the execution is stale, then maudlin.)
Still, Tatum and Dawson share great chemistry and are believable as a former couple with more than a few good memories to share, complicating their reunion somewhat. And while 10 Years is somewhat tepid overall, it's actually pleasant to see a reunion movie unfold like a reunion actually does -- sometimes with glee, sometimes with ennui, and, if you're lucky, with a lot of warmth.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the appeal of movies about reunions. What makes them rich for material? Does 10 Years add anything new to the conversation?
Parents, talk to your kids about drinking (and drug use) in high school. It's a common plotline in high school-themed movies -- does it really happen that often? What are the real-life consequences?
Who do you think 10 Years is intended to appeal to? Does it succeed?
- In theaters: September 14, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: December 18, 2012
- Cast: Channing Tatum, Jenna Dewan, Justin Long, Rosario Dawson
- Director: Jamie Linden
- Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
- Genre: Romance
- Topics: Friendship
- Run time: 100 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: language, alcohol abuse, some sexual material and drug use
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