Movie Review: “Post-Grad”
“Post Grad” illustrates that reality still bites for those finishing their college education and facing a job market that does not match their career expectations. But while this light, intermittently enjoyable romantic comedy has some solid bullet points on its resume, the experience is insufficient.
Ryden Malby (Alexis Bledel) is a recent college graduate who desperately wants to work in the most prestigious publishing house in Los Angeles. But her short interview with an editor is a disaster, her college rival Jessica (Catherine Reitman) gets the gig, and after four years of diligent study, she cannot find a job that will pay for her dream version of adulthood. Dejected and demoralized, she moves in with her goofball family in suburban Los Angeles.
But Ryden’s problems are not just career-oriented — she cannot see just how smitten her best friend Adam (Zach Gilford) is with her, and she spends a great deal of time spinning her wheel romantically with the Brazilian infomercial producer next door (Rodrigo Santoro). Ryden’s future happiness ultimately hinges on opening her eyes and throwing out her preconceived notions of success.
The home life depicted in “Post Grad” plays like “Little Miss Sunshine” if it were directed by “Savage” Steve Holland, the writer-director of “Better Off Dead” and the man responsible for introducing “I want my two dollars!” into the pop-cultural vernacular. After all, Ryden has a brother (Bobby Coleman) who is uncontrollably compelled to lick people’s heads, Grandma (Carol Burnett) is angrily shopping for her own coffin, and dad Walter (Michael Keaton) is an obsessive-compulsive maker of belt buckles.
They’re all a little too zany for anyone’s good, but at least “Post Grad” can claim some refreshing oddness when that trait is often the first thing redlined from screenplays. Bledel (“Gilmore Girls”) appealingly plays Ryden as exhausted and exasperated by her plight, and director Vicky Jenson (co-director of “Shrek” and “Shark Tale”) and writer Kelly Fremon have genuine affection for Ryden and her odd-duck brood.
But while “Post Grad” is timed well for new graduates competing for jobs in a bad economy, it could have used more genuine bite and character development instead of just quirks. As such, “Post Grad” only squeaks by with a “C” average when, given the assembly of talent on display, it could have finished with honors.
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