Apr 23, 2015

Review: Post Grad (2009)

The life of a post grad isn't easy. You've just spent a whole bunch of money on tuition, textbooks, housing if you're unlucky enough to not be able to live with your parents during your studies and everything else a student needs and now you need a job to get yourself on your feet. All for a little piece of paper. The sad reality is that a college degree means very little these days. With so many people competing for the so few jobs that are out there, it's a ton of pressure.

Was there any hope at packaging that reality into a cute little romantic comedy? Maybe, but you could call me skeptical before I started watching it. Vicky Jenson actually does have some pretty significant directing history (if mostly in animation), but screenwriter Kelly Fremon has never written another script since Post Grad which isn't a good sign. On the bright side, there's actually a surprising amount of star talent in Post Grad with actors like Michael Keaton, Jane Lynch and J.K. Simmons. I can't say that I have much experience with Alexis Bledel though.

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At a Glance


Genre: comedy, romance
Directed by: Vicky Jenson
Produced by: Jeffrey Clifford, Joe Medjuck, Ivan Reitman, etc.
Written by: Kelly Fremon
Music by: Christophe Beck
Running time: 88 minutes
Production company: The Montecito Picture Company, Fox Atomic, Cold Spring Pictures, etc.
Distributed by: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, 20th Century Fox, Film1, etc.
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $15,000,000
Box office: $6,414,729 (Worldwide)

IMDb entry
Rotten Tomatoes entry

Starring: Alexis Bledel, Zach Gilford, Michael Keaton, Jane Lynch, Bobby Coleman, Carol Burnett, Rodrigo Santoro, Catherine Reitman, Mary Anne McGarry, J.K. Simmons, Robert Arce, Jeanie Hackett

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Synopsis


Ryden Malby (Alexis Bledel) has just graduated from college. Motivated and excited to pursue her dream job at a publishing house where she already has an interview lined up, her arch-nemesis Jessica Bard (Catherine Reitman) unfortunately ends up swooping in and taking the job from her. Forced to move back with her parents (Michael Keaton, Jane Lynch), Ryden has no choice but to scour the classifieds and go from interview to interview. 

Review


From the overly cutesy intro complete with a pseudo-Mac interface, my expectations of Post Grad started sinking instantly, despite already being on the low side. Essentially, Ryden presents her big plan on what I believe is meant to be a Myspace video blog. Oof, talk about aging badly. The main point here is that her dream is to work for a certain publishing house and she's done everything she can to ensure that she gets the job once she's done school. What does stand in her way however is her rival Jessica Bard.

I have to admit that the blind optimism of Ryden really got to me. Who would even consider getting a loft apartment BEFORE having secured the job that they're interviewing for? The main character of this movie apparently.  When Ryden inevitably fails in getting the job and has to give up the apartment to go back to her parents' place, I just couldn't feel bad at all. That's just an ill-advised thing to do.

So back Ryden goes to her quirky and annoying family. Her father Walter is the king of weird and he's tragically played by a Michael Keaton who has nothing else to do but ham it up big time. Same goes for Carol Burnett as the grandmother. Ryden's little brother Hunter (Bobby Coleman) is that class weirdo who licks his classmates' heads and Jane Lynch is pretty much invisible which I suppose is better than all this forced weirdness going on in the Malby household.

Ryden also has a long-time friend named Adam Davies (Zach Gilford) who she's pretty much shared every important moment of her life with. Adam's painful situation is what the internet would call being in the "friend-zone." He's hung around for years, writing songs for Ryden even but never getting any real response back. The way I see it, either man up or move on dude.

Chemistry between Alexis Bledel and Zach Gilford is pretty much nonexistent in Post Grad. I'm sure it doesn't really help when the script is bad on its own though. From bad lines to inadvertently awkward scenes, there's nothing that really makes you want Ryden and Adam to end up together. Throw in an absolutely horrible and hard to watch scene where Adam sings a song for Ryden while he's sitting on a couch in a clothes store while she's trying on clothes and you got a real recipe for disaster. If you can believe it, he even wears a fedora during this scene.

Attempts at humour all fail miserably as well. Michael Keaton, Jane Lynch and Carol Burnett are leaned on heavily for the laughs, but they don't have anything to work with here. Seeing Michael Keaton have to do toilet humour is particularly hard to accept. While there are movies out there which are more forehead slap inducing in their attempts at comedy, you'd be hard pressed to find any as mediocre. You'd think that Ivan Reitman could've stepped in or something, but it looks like all he cared about was having his daughter Catherine Reitman act.

Definitely the worst aspect of all in Post Grad is the unbelievably poorly thought out ending. (Spoilers) I get the whole thing about being with the people you love in life, but Ryden throwing away her dream job to go live with Adam in New York is pitifully shortsighted. Post Grad came out when the United States was in a big recession and just HAVING a job was a big deal. Why not just go visit Adam on the weekends sometimes instead of uprooting your whole life? Adam would be coming back home once he graduated anyway no? (End Spoilers)

While I suppose elements like Ryden struggling to find a job after graduating and Adam being completely unsure of what he wants to do in life are nice and realistic in theory, screenwriter Kelly Fremon fills Post Grad with a whole lot of bad. As a result, cast members Keaton, Lynch and Simmons are completely wasted here. If you're looking for possible inspiration about what to do after graduating from college with maybe a few laughs on the side, look elsewhere.

Rating


5/10