Post Grad Reviews
The movie actually has a small amount of promise at the beginning, believe it or not (most of you understandably keep your doubts). Ryden opens the film in a brisk narration explaining her life's plan, which involves getting good grades, getting a scholarship to a school, and landing a job at a specific publisher (as if another editing gig at a different company would be a career disappointment?). She's a good student with a strong work ethic that has driven her thus far and gotten her several key internships. And then she steps out into the job market and realizes ... she's not alone. Other candidates her own age have similar qualifications and even more; she's no longer a big fish in a small pond, if you'd prefer your explanations in the analogical sense. This is fertile dramatic ground that not too many movies have treaded before. Sure, other films have dealt with culture shock and perspective altering, in abundance, but what modern movie has dealt with the idea that you aren't hot stuff? There are plenty of other people out there just as talented and capable, and you have to do more than work hard to succeed. It's admittedly not an easily inspirational message, but that's what caught my interest early and made me forgive the lame attempts at humor (people step in cat poop!). But then around Act Three, Post Grad guts itself for an absurdly undemanding happy ending and spills its squishy guts. Ryden gets the job she was passed over by doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING other than wait out the first hire (incidentally, class valedictorian and Ryden's mortal enemy, played by Ivan Reitman's attractive daughter -- weird). I hope this paragraph doesn't mislead people into thinking Post Grad sticks with this hardened perspective, because as soon as Ryden doesn't get her dream job it just becomes an exhausted recycling of teen flick clichés that the ghost of John Hughes wouldn't bother to touch.
Even though this movie is derivative up the ying-yang, I believe that Post Grad's biggest hindrance is its main character. Ryden never once comes across as sympathetic on her supposed journey into adulthood. She tackles adversity with whining and a lot of that exasperated sigh/harrumph-ing that moody teenagers do to passive-aggressively express their dissatisfaction. She also falls into that familiar teen comedy landscape where her lifelong best guy friend (Zach Gilford) has been harboring a crush for ages, obvious to everyone except Ryden. That's because Ryden can't see beyond her own problems and self-perceived injustices. All she talks about is her self; she's pretty much a vapid twit. Here are a few examples that manage to strangle any attempt for the audience to empathize with the blue-eyed pipsqueak: 1) Ryden is so positive she's going to get her dream job that she write a check for a posh $1200 a month apartment. This does not go well. 2) Ryden is talking to her hunky Brazilian neighbor (Rodrigo Santoro) and over the course of one glass of wine the 18-year-old is ready to hop in the sack with this older stranger. Unfortunately, Ryden's family walks in on these shenanigans because nobody ever locks their doors so that interruptions can occur during awkward moments. And 3) Her friend/unknown crusher asks her to come to his show, where he plays a song he wrote for her about his love! She somehow completely forgets about this to prove how unworthy of being immortalized in acoustic guitar she is. Post Grad would be an infinitely better movie if the main character were eliminated completely.
The tone of this movie flies back and forth erratically. Ryden's family members are like the leftovers from a Quirky Indie Family rummage sale. They all have to exhibit some banal eccentricity so it seems like they're auditioning for a future reality show. The family stuff is just bizarre and played for spineless comic absurdity. There are also plenty of celebrity cameos just to pad the running time. Later in the movie, the family accidentally runs over the Brazilian neighbor's cat. I thought, "Oh there's no way this kind of movie murders a cat for laughs." Surprise! The cat gets murdered for laughs, which leads to an awkward cat funeral where the pussy gets laid to rest in an oversized pizza box. This concept is not without humor, but it is tonally inappropriate for this movie. Post Grad is a soft, fuzzy teen flick that barely earns a PG-13 rating thanks to a few naughty words and Bledel removing her shirt during her takedown of the Brazilian. There is no reason for this movie to go down dark avenues of comedy. It's be like watching an Amanda Bynes movie and suddenly watching her inject heroin into her vein (Fun fact: Bynes was initially cast as Ryden and dropped out. You know you're in a bad situation when you're picking up Ms. Bynes' leftovers).
The inanity of this movie is almost unbearable. I think it's going to become like a piece of shorthand with my friends whenever someone refers to something resoundingly dreadful. "Man, the date I went on was so totally Post Grad," or, "This audit totally Post Grad's it." Try it out with your friends the next time you have a social gathering. Someone has to try and make these things stick, slang-wise.
I like Alexis Bledel as an actress. I like teen movies when they approach their subjects with heart or wit. I don't like wasting Bledel's talents and my time with this lightweight nonsense. I'm having trouble wrestling up enough energy just to complete this review, which might explain some of the scattershot references (a desperate man's attempt to stay sane). Post Grad is written by a woman, directed by a woman, which makes the finished product feel like a girl-on-girl crime. Then again, would I single out the gender of the litany of male screenwriters when badmouthing the shoddy work? Apologies for what seems to be amounting into a stream-of-consciousness essay on everything except Post Grad. That's perhaps the best summation: a movie so powerfully mundane it anesthetizes all brain activity. Just sit back in your lobotomy-like state and grin.
Nate's Grade: D+
Likeable cast make this a good one to rent out on the weekend.
Ryden (Alexis Bledel) has just graduated and wants her dram job, which she won't get because who the hell wants to watch a movie about a grad getting a job? She fails to get any job and continues to play a cat and mouse game with her best friend Adam (Zach Gilford) over a relationship that goes down a road so obvious it's in the sub titles. Of course, she has the crazy father (Keaton), the even crazier grandmother (Carol Burnett), the normal mother (Jane Lynch), etc.
I can't really pinpoint the problems with Post Grad directly. Mainly, the movie feels more like Michael Keaton's movie because his lunacy runs most of the show. It's like he's trying to re-capture his Night Shift days. It comes off more annoying than anything as the main character gets overshadowed by her fathers excesses. The film collapses under its own weight, delivering a predictable mess that we've seen time and time again.
Ryden Malby graduates from college and is forced to move back into her childhood home with her eccentric family, while she attempts to find a job, the right guy, and just a hint of where her life is headed.
Cute, funny, quirky movie with a mix of a love story. Definitely would fall under the category of a chick-flick. The legend Carol Brunett plays the grandmother in this film and she is her usual hilarious self. Liked it, didn't love it.What I would love however is to see Alexis Biedel in some more serious roles. The girl can act, just needs to be put into the right roles. But surely this is a movie for those who like the chick-flicks.
There wasn't much in the movie that seemed original though. You have the grandma (Carol Burnett) that has the family watch her try out coffins. The supporting upbeat father (Michael Keaton) that gets Bledel embarrassing jobs. While, how many times has a movie been made where the best friend has a big crush on the main character ? I found the movie entirely predictable and cliche....,yet there was never a doubt in my mind that I liked the movie. It was always likable and harmless, which is why I'm surprised that so many people hated the film.