Pleasant, predictable "Post Grad" feels very familiar
If you just graduated from college and job hunting in this recessionary job market, then the predictable, unimaginative new comedy "Post Grad" may not be for you. This agreeable, paint-by-numbers movie has a "been there done that" feeling to it, which isn't surprising given that it stars Alexis Bledel from "Gilmore Girls" and plays out like an episode from that popular, long-running series. In spite of a noteworthy supporting cast that steals the best scenes in the movie, "Post Grad" is a pleasant but unrevealing cream puff of a movie that doesn’t offer anything really new.
Ryden Malby (Bledel) had a plan. Do well in high school, go on to college and land her dream job at the city's best publishing house. But when her perfect job is taken from right under her nose, Ryden is forced to move back home. Stuck with her eccentric family - a stubborn do-it-yourself dad (Michael Keaton), an overly thrifty mom (Jane Lynch), a politically incorrect grandma (Carol Burnett), a very odd little brother (Bobby Coleman) - and a growing stack of job rejections, Ryden feels like she's on a road to dead end.
The only good thing she has is her handsome best friend, Adam (Zach Gilford) who has feelings for her and is faced with his own future ambitions, not to mention a hot older Brazilian neighbor (Rodrigo Santoro) whose own future is a bit uncertain, all of which force Ryden to make some crucial decisions that will affect her future.
"Post Grad" is an affable but bland comedy with a few decent comedic moments but otherwise lacks focus and clear inspiration. It's unfortunate the director is Vicky Jenson, who successfully helmed the animated films "Shrek" and "Shark Tale," yet ironically "Post Grad" lacks few genuine animated moments, given its banal story and stock, cardboard characters. Bledel is pretty but lacks the sharp wit and intelligence she possessed on "Gilmore Girls," who’s romantic interest is the handsome but underused Gilford from TV's "Friday Night Lights,” but then Ryden isn’t a well-written character (and her romance with the older Brazilian neighbor is a woeful, badly executed contrivance).
“Post Grad” isn’t a complete waste, though. The funnier moments come from a stellar, comical supporting cast who steal scenes with their mere presence. It's always nice having veteran comedienne Burnett around, who gets in a few zingers in pancake makeup and wig as the unconventional grandma. One fun exchange: "...I told you not to marry Walter Malby" she tells her own daughter-in-law. "But he's your own son," she replies. “I’m afraid my son is…weird,” says a droll Lynch of her strange son who likes to lick people. Burnett and Lynch (who also stole last fall's "Role Models") make for a more entertaining team than the two handsome leads, with Bledel blandly sitting in the background, doing nothing. I say forget Ryden completely and develop a TV series around the grandma and daughter-in-law characters.
Rory, uh, I mean Ryden, must make some important life decisions by the end of "Post Grad." Take the job she's always wanted or follow her best friend now boyfriend across country so he can attend law school. Ho hum. What do you think will happen? If you've ever tuned into an episode of "Gilmore Girls," the ending will be none too surprising. Too bad the sardonic Lorelai isn’t around to comment on the proceedings.
"Post Grad" isn't a terrible film, just curiously distant, vacuous one with too few laughs and too many calculated plot twists. If life is this bland after college, you may be better off staying in school.