- Rated PG-13
- Buy the BD
All photos © Fox Searchlight
Reviewed by Jason Zingale
ovies like “Post Grad” are a dime a dozen these days, so it really takes something special if you hope to distinguish yourself from the pack. Usually, indie super studio Fox Searchlight delivers that something special (see “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Juno”), but in the case of their latest effort (which they’ve actually inherited from former sister studio Fox Atomic), it’s just another safe and predictable comedy. It isn’t for a lack of trying, because director Vicky Jenson has nabbed some pretty big names to round out her cast, but even with screen vets like Michael Keaton and Carol Burnett to offer the film some street cred, “Post Grad” is remarkably humdrum.
“Gilmore Girls” star Alexis Bledel plays Ryden Malby, a straight-laced college graduate who’s pretty much had her life planned out since the day she was born. After her dream of landing a job at prestigious L.A. publishing company Happerman & Browning is ruined when a fellow overachieving classmate gets the position, Ryden is forced to move back home with her nutty parents (Keaton and Jane Lynch) and look for work elsewhere. With the job market proving far more difficult to break into than she expected, however, Ryden finds solace in the arms of her hunky next-door neighbor (Rodrigo Santoro), much to the chagrin of best friend Adam (Zach Gilford), who’s been harboring more intimate feelings towards her for quite some time.
It all sounds harmless enough, but that’s the problem. We’ve already seen this movie played out countless times before, and instead of trying to mix it up with a twist on a familiar formula, “Post Grad” seems perfectly happy to be yet another ordinary coming-of-age tale. The film is certainly more enjoyable than it should be thanks to the involvement of Alexis Bledel, who is so darn cute that she might as well be the little sister of Zooey Deschanel, but the rest of cast isn’t nearly as entertaining as you’d expect. Michael Keaton comes off almost too desperate for a laugh as Bledel’s well-meaning father, while Jane Lynch doesn't do much of anything as the straight man of the couple. Carol Burnett is also hugely underused as the family matriarch, and Zack Gilford, who's made quite a name for himself on the NBC drama, “Friday Night Lights,” is pretty bland as the love interest. The film does feature cameos from the likes of Demetri Martin, Andrew Daly, and J.K. Simmons, but the only memorable turn is by Craig Robinson as a funeral director who should be selling cars instead of caskets.
There’s also a subplot involving Keaton’s character trying to jumpstart his own belt buckle business that is so irrelevant to the rest of the story that you’d think writer Kelly Fremon was struggling for ideas. It sure feels like it, because although the movie is supposed to be about Ryden’s journey from college into adulthood, it veers off into other tangents far too often. And just when it looks like the film might have something important to say about life, it ends in the smoothest, most convenient way possible. It’s hardly the kind of conclusion that will make college graduates any less naïve about the job market (economic depression or not), but then again, while “Post Grad” is definitely a story that most students will relate to, it’s not one they’ll necessarily want to relive.
Single-Disc Blu-Ray Review:
The Blu-ray release of “Post Grad” suffers from a nasty case of quantity over quality. There are nine different features to choose from – including a pair of clip-driven lists about “How Not to Get a Job” and “A Guide to Moving Back Home” – but not a single one is worth watching. The 13-minute making-of featurette, “Post Grad Confidential,” is probably the best of the bunch, but why Fox decided to place it at the bottom of the special features menu is beyond me. There are also some deleted scenes, a short featurette on costume design, interactive quizzes, and an interview with Alexis Bledel and Zach Gilford, but not even the film’s fans will have the desire to sit through them all.