Some people never change
Despite that opinion, I like the idea of a movie about a reunion because it's a situation inherently pregnant with drama and it features a ton of characters, allowing for the development of plenty of unique roles. Here, they are led by a somewhat unrecognizable Channing Tatum (also serving as a producer) who plays Jake, a mortgage broker attending the reunion with his girlfriend Jess (Tatum's real-life wife Jenna Dewan-Tatum.) While he's looking forward to getting together with his old pals, his old girlfriend Mary (Rosario Dawson) isn't expected to attend, and his reaction is a matter of debate for the group, which includes apologetic former bully Cully (Chris Pratt), former "wigger" Garrity and his unaware wife (Aubrey Plaza); and the class' most successful alum, musician Reeves. Being together once again allows them to slide back into their familiar roles, which raises issues for them all, especially Cully, who makes it his drunken mission to make good to those he wronged.
While this is happening, Marty (Justin Long) and A.J. (Max Minghella) are busy scoping out Anna, one of the most popular girls from school, who is as radiant and party-loving as ever. As you might expect, and as if often the case in such movies, nothing is as it seems for all three, and together they'll have to confront the reality the past 10 years have placed them into. It would be nice to think there could be something new to say in a movie like this, but each time it seems like history repeats itself (with the previously mentioned Gross Pointe Blank being the most successful exception, wrapping the reunion concept around a truly unique character.) Here, its basically all the same old archetypes and plotlines.
That said, the performances by the cast, which is peppered with familiar faces (if not the most famous young actors today) are uniformly solid, though no one really stands out, with the possible exception of Aubrey Plaza, but she's doing the same thing she always does (namely being awesome.) The characters are quite believable in their somewhat standard-issue situations, having the kind of conversations young adults tend to have when adhering to the social contract and/or lubricated with alcohol. Writer/director Justin Linden managed everything quite well, keeping all the balls in the air and pacing the plot out well, while extracting some art from what could have been very staid settings. The only real issue is the predictable way all the stories played out, possibly a consequence of the film's sense of realism. By the time you understand all the stakes, you will probably have a good idea of what's going to happen in the end, so the journey truly becomes the story. But even then, yet again, you've seen young adults struggling with their place in the world before.
An indie film about relationships isn't likely to be a audio showcase, and that's certainly the case here, as the film is dominated by conversations, which emerge without distortion from the center channel, while the surround speakers provide some light atmospheric effects and bump up the soundtrack a bit, but not to the degree you'd expect when the music is the focal point of a scene. There's nothing dynamic about the mix, which is just too quiet for a movie about a party.
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