The 10 Year Plan
Everyone has been there, at some point in their lives, when they start looking for their backup plan. You know how it goes: If both people are still single by a certain age, then they will get together themselves and avoid a lifetime of loneliness. In real life, these pacts are rarely taken seriously -- or even remembered long after being made. The pact does, however, offer a great storyline for movies that have been used time and again onscreen. The latest cinematic offering to mine this storyline is "The 10 Year Plan", which offers only romantic comedy clichés.
Myles (Jack Turner) falls head over heels for every guy who agrees to go out on a date with him. He ends up scaring most of them away by moving too fast, like calling their mother for a family recipe after just a month of seeing each other. Seeing his friend constantly getting his heart broken, confirmed bachelor Brody (Michael Adam Hamilton) suggests making a pact that if they remain single, they get together. Nine years and ten months later, the inevitable happens and they are both single. With the deadline looming, Brody offers Myles advice on how to find a guy, but it might work too well when Brody realizes he might have feelings for his best friend.
The script is flawed in that it uses every romantic comedy cliché ever created to tell its story. The third act finale centers around Brody realizing his feelings and chasing after Myles, who is leaving for a cross country trip to start a new job in New York. J.P Calciano is a veteran of the genre, having previously written and directed "eCupid" and "Is It Just Me?," but in order for his films to stand out he needs to find a way to add originality, rather than creating a paint-by-numbers genre film.
With formulaic films like this, the enjoyment comes from the journey and the interaction between the characters. The banter back and forth between Myles and Brody is fun, but the actors don't have much romantic chemistry. The relationship works when they are playing friends, but it falls apart as soon as the questions begin to circle whether there might a spark between the two. Nevertheless, the guys are pretty pieces of eye candy to stare at for nearly 90 minutes.
Despite a lack of chemistry, Turner and Hamilton are more than adequate in their roles otherwise. Calciano's script doesn't require any heavy lifting from the actors, however, because he never explores the characters beyond skin deep. The characters serve more as plot tools to move things along rather than the other way around. Had there been more attention paid to breathing life into the characters on the page, "The 10 Year Plan" could have found a way to stand out from the rest of the pack.
The MVP of the film is underused supporting actress Teri Reeves, who plays Myles' best gal pal Diane. She is just the right mix of intrusive and sassy without being too over the top. Reeves' portrayal also helps to flesh out the character more so than any other character in the film. Diane offers a little bit of comedic relief to the film as she aggressively inserts herself into Myles' relationships and asks all the questions most people are otherwise too afraid to ask.
"The 10 Year Plan" is a romantic comedy that is devoid of laughs because the entire film feels like a retread that you have already seen. The film's leading actors Michael Adam Hamilton and Jack Turner are pretty enough to warrant a single viewing, but other than eye candy there isn't much reason for you to create a plan to come back for repeated encounters.
This article is part of our "Cinema Q 2014" series. Want to read more?
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