High-school reunions are such instant sources of potential drama—of reinvention and reconnection, of second chances and long-overdue closure—it’s a wonder there aren’t more movies about them. 10 Years, an aggressively sentimental but pretty irresistible ensemble piece, mines a decennial graduate get-together for seriocomic catharsis. Assembling a cast of nearly two-dozen familiar Hollywood faces, the film seems equally indebted to the melancholy-tinged nostalgia of The Big Chill and the crowd-pleasing sprawl of American Graffiti.
At center—by virtue not of screen time, but rather producing credit and star power—is the ubiquitous Channing Tatum, here playing the former prom king whose commitment to his current squeeze (real-life wife Jenna Dewan-Tatum) is tested by the appearance of his first love (Rosario Dawson). This romantic crisis is just one of many crisscrossing plot strands. Drunk on the easy rapport among its estranged alumni, 10 Years is so loose and relaxed you barely notice how conventional much of it is.
There are downbeat developments, such as the one in which a supposedly reformed asshole (Chris Pratt, revealing the dark underbelly of his goofball affability) falls back into boorish old habits. Yet 10 Years plays strongest when it swings for the wish-fulfillment rafters. Just try not to melt at the moment when the class success story, a soft-spoken rock star played by Drive’s Oscar Isaac, performs his big hit for the one former classmate who hasn’t heard it—the same person, coincidentally, whom he wrote it for. If there’s a 20 Years coming in another decade, consider this our very early R.S.V.P. A. A. Dowd