A high-school-reunion film for miserablists, screenwriter Jamie Linden’s directorial debut charts the unhappily-ever-after gathering of old friends a decade after they went their separate ways. Disappointment and regret color the situations of his various characters, which include a mortgage broker (Channing Tatum) anxious about seeing his ex (Rosario Dawson); an alcoholic jerk (Chris Pratt) compelled by his wife (Ari Graynor) to apologize to the misfits he once bullied; a single New Yorker (Justin Long) intent on scoring with a boisterous beauty (Lynn Collins); and a rock star (Oscar Isaac) still pining for a former flame (Kate Mara).
That last thread lets Linden dramatize the fantasy of using music to finally get the girl who got away, but the rest of his story dourly depicts postgraduation years as a lesson in missed past opportunities and unfulfilling present circumstances. While that mood is ultimately a bit too monotonous to be completely persuasive, a strong cast convincingly captures the many ways in which adulthood proves far more complicated than what’s imagined at 18. And, via an amusing subplot concerning a wife learning about her husband’s secret fondness for hip-hop, it also suggests how life, no matter the missteps or lost chances, never loses the ability to surprise, even after you’ve grown up.
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