By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com October 20, 2010 at 1:21AM
Of all the baffling phenomenon in the cinema world in 2010, Channing Tatum is perhaps the one that is the most puzzling to us. We're sure he's a nice guy. And there must be some kind of talent in there, as he's been cast by the likes of Michael Mann (giving a 15-second performance in a bad wig and getting shot in the back in "Public Enemies"), Steven Soderbergh, in "Haywire," and Kevin Macdonald, in the upcoming "The Eagle," and Nicolas Winding Refn called him a "very good young actor" after their aborted work together on "The Dying of the Light." But we're damned if we can see any evidence in his performances so far.
Even in the relatively serious "A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints" and "Stop-Loss," the actor's proven to be a total charisma vacuum, notable mainly for his width-of-neck-to-head ratio than for his ability to successfully emote. But he's at least shown some serious desire to become an acting force, co-starring with Al Pacino and Juliette Binoche in next year's cop drama "Son of No-One," and developing an adaptation, as both producer and star, of Craig Clevenger's acclaimed novel "The Contortionist's Handbook."
First up on his producer's slate, however, is the indie ensemble "Ten Year," following a group of friends on their ten-year high school reunion. As previously announced, the project comes from "Dear John" writer Jamie Linden, who's set to make his directorial debut with the project, and the film's attracted a decent array of young talent, including Tatum's wife Jenna Dewan ("Step Up"), Kate Mara ("Brokeback Mountain") and Scott Porter ("Friday Night Lights"), with Chris Pine, Anna Faris and Chris Pratt previously mentioned as circling the film.
In order to help raise funding, producers Temple Hill ("Twilight") put together a director's test, a ten minute short featuring Tatum, Dewan, Mara, Porter, Brian Geraghty ("The Hurt Locker") and Haylie Duff as their characters from the film, and Deadline premiered the clip last night (as well as revealing that Justin Long is also potentially circling the film).
Any hopes that this film might be "The Big Chill" for the 21st century have been thwarted for the moment, however -- it's a vacuous, unfunny, unengaging ten minutes, vaguely reminiscent of the rightfully cancelled ABC series "My Generation." Mara and Geraghty are typically watchable in their brief appearances, but for the most part it's dull and familiar, and Tatum and Dewan in no way appear to be strong enough actors to carry the picture.
Maybe the full length script will be more promising -- Temple Hill seem to be determined to make the film ,with Deadline suggesting that the company will fund it themselves if the interested financiers don't come through -- but from this brief clip, there's nothing to distinguish this from the hundreds of similar scripts that every film school grad seem to shop around shortly after graduating.