* (out of 5)
August 21, 2009
Alexis Bledel as RYDEN MALBY
Zach Gilford as ADAM DAVIES
Michael Keaton as WALTER MALBY
Jane Lynch as CARMELLA MALBY
Bobby Coleman as HUNTER MALBY
Carol Burnett as GRANDMA MAUREEN
Rodrigo Santoro as DAVID SANTIAGO
Studio: Fox Searchlight
Directed by: Vicky Jenson
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
I am a college graduate who has not worked a single day in my chosen field for my degree (which was a secondary education degree with concentrations in biology and chemistry). However, this degree helped me get a job editing textbooks, which gave me enough experience to start working as a copywriter, and eventually I used my publishing experience to become a freelance writer.
It is this history of my own unique career path that caused me to get so annoyed with the new film “Post Grad.” The movie tells the story of a recent college grad named Ryden Malby (Alexis Bledel), who thinks the world will be her oyster but soon discovers that a college degree does not guarantee a job. When she strikes out in job interview for the publishing world, she moves back home with her parents and tries to start life anew. The bulk of the film features Ryden whining about how things aren’t working out for her when she should channel that energy into making a career for herself rather than waiting for one to be handed to her.
Overall, the cast is actually populated with pretty good actors. Ryden’s family consists of Michael Keaton as her dad, Jane Lynch as her mom and Carol Burnett as her grandmother. These are great actors shoehorned into not-so-great roles. Lynch is wasted in the straight-man role of the mom with only a few funny throwaway lines. Carol Burnett isn’t given anything to work with beyond the weak lines of a cantankerous, over-medicated grandmother.
The worst tragedy in the cast is Keaton, who acts his guts out as Ryden’s manic father. He nails the role, and he has a few funny scenes. Unfortunately, the character isn’t well formed at all. As I watched him raging out about stepping in the feces of his neighbor’s cat, I just couldn’t help but think… this guy was once Batman, for crying out loud.
Then there’s the worst bit of nepotism casting I’ve seen since Sheri Moon Zombie was told she could act by her husband Rob. Ryden’s big nemesis since the third grade is valedictorian Jessica Bard, played by producer Ivan Reitman’s daughter Catherine. It’s a small part, sure, but she’s woefully out of place, considering she looks to be a 30-year-old recent college grad. (In reality, she is only five months older than star Alexis Bledel, but she just can’t pull off the early 20s role like the Michael J. Fox-ish Bledel.)
But it’s not the supporting cast that makes this movie suffer. It’s the main characters. Not only are Ryden and Adam completely unoriginal cookie-cutter characters, but they’re self-centered, whiney and utterly abrasive people.
Ryden is naive – far too naive for a smart girl who just missed making valedictorian. The character seems to think that getting a job in a cutthroat work force will be simple, and she doesn’t have the mettle to suck it up and work a crappy job like the rest of the American population. She’s elitist without the silver spoon in her mouth to back it up.
But even worse than Ryden is the pathetic excuse for a love interest in Adam. We’ve seen this guy before in many films, and often in real life as well. He’s the best friend of the girl who secretly loves her, but she only wants a platonic friend. Well, nuts to this girl! Ryden is a weak character for taking advantage of someone like this, and Adam is a weak character for following her around like a sick puppy for his entire high school and college life.
I’ve known people like this in real life. Heck, I’ve played one of the roles myself at times. But for eight years or more? Not a chance. I kept wanting to throttle both characters and scream in their faces: “Grow up, you selfish little turds!”
By the end of the movie, the story turns into this completely unnecessary subplot about building a go-cart for Ryden’s younger brother while she makes colossally bad decisions about her life that only work out with the magic of deus ex machina writing.
Like so many over-educated twentysomethings this movie seems to be targeting, “Post Grad” flunks out in the real world.