(Jamie Linden, 2012)
Gathering together a genuinely impressive cast for his debut as writer-director, Linden tells a loose, modest, at times extremely charming story in the same vein as The Big Chill and The Return of The Secausus Seven and Beautiful Girls, returning a bunch of old friends to their hometown for a Highschool Reunion a decade on and observing the ensuing emotional revelations and collisions with a gentle, affectionate eye.
In doing so, he goes for broad types, and so we have Chris Pratt, stealing most of the laughs as the ex hellraiser and bully, now somewhat gone to seed as the suburban father of two, Justin Long and Max Minghella as the ex-Geeks still in love with the beauty queen (Lynn Collins), Brian Geraghty bringing his new wife who is shocked to discover that he acted like a black guy throughout Highschool, while most of the emotional ballast is carried by Oscar Isaac as the rock star still in love with the one who got away (Kate Mara) and Channing Tatum, who has not seen his first love (Rosario Dawson) since their traumatic split ten years before.
There are lovely moments here of universal humanity; a few big laughs and a couple of good musical sequences. But Linden always seems more comfortable with the romcom elements; and the film comes most vividly to life during the scenes between the excellent Isaac and Mara. The moment when he sings his big hit single for karaoke at a late night dive bar (which she has never heard) and she realises it is about her is beautifully acted by Mara. The cast are the films real glory, lending it a classy finish which it perhaps does not deserve.