PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Reviews

Post Grad

While Post Grad has some meaningful messages (it’s OK if you don’t know what you want to do with your life, the people you love are more important than any career) its delivery is sloppy and clichéd.


Post Grad

Director: Vicky Jenson
Cast: Alexis Bledel, Zach Gilford, Michael Keaton, Jane Lynch, Carol Burnett
Distributor: Fox
Rated: PG-13
Release Date: 2010-01-12

Ryden Malby’s master plan is as follows:1. Get good grades in high school. 2. Secure a scholarship to a good college. 3. Maintain good grades to keep said scholarship and 4. Graduate and land an awesome job. As a recent college grad myself, these basic tenants are all too familiar.

I wanted to like Post Grad. I hoped it would speak to my own post-college angst and trouble finding a good job (heck, any job) in our recession-ravaged job market. Alas, Post Grad falls by the wayside as a forgettable slapstick cum romantic comedy, and it’s about as similar to a 20-something’s’ real life as Friends was in the ‘90s.

In case anyone was wondering what befell Rory Gilmore after graduation, look no further than Alexis Bledel’s portrayal of Ryden Malby. While Bledel is lovely and somewhat likeable, every character she plays is a variation of the role she’s best known for: Rory on Gilmore Girls.

Following graduation, Ryden fails to land her dream job at a publishing house and perfect loft apartment downtown. She moves back home to the San Fernando Valley with her ostensibly kooky family (Michael Keaton, Jane Lynch and Carol Burnett -- the latter two’s comedic talents are woefully under utilized) and starts interviewing anywhere and everywhere. Ryden’s best friend is the soft-spoken and bland Adam (Zach Gilford of Friday Night Lights) who’s totally in love with her.

While Post Grad has some meaningful messages (it’s OK if you don’t know what you want to do with your life, the people you love are more important than any career) its delivery is sloppy and clichéd. The movie gets bogged down in several inexplicable sub-plots that are meant to come off as quirky or endearing, but end up being superfluous and weird. For instance, Grandma (Burnett) likes going coffin shopping, Dad (Keaton) gets arrested for selling stolen belt buckles, and there’s the particularly drawn out sequence of Ryden’s misfit younger brother’s boxcar race. Which he wins, of course. After driving into a lake.

Bledel and Gilford suffer a complete lack of chemistry. Ryden’s other romantic interest in the film is David, a sexy, older neighbor with a Brazilian accent (Rodrigo Santoro). It’s a shame that Ryden doesn’t pick David, though they don’t have sparks, either. But at least David’s cute and interesting. Adam (and Gilford) is decidedly underwhelming. He gives Ryden a creepy leg massage in the grocery store his father owns. He does his best John Mayer impression and croons to a hip bar audience about his tragic love for Ryden. These scenes, and all others featuring Adam are the most uninspired of the entire movie, and that’s saying something. True, the script is partly to blame, but Gilford’s wooden performance is the second-worst part of Post Grad.

The worst part of Post Grad is its progression into a tired, predictable story who’s ending we can see coming from fifteen minutes in. Ryden ultimately realizes (with a little help from David over red wine) that her dream job, which she eventually lands, is not as important as the people around her. Also—shocker—she suddenly decides she returns Adam’s adoration. Inconveniently she’s just hurt Adam’s feelings, and he’s moved across the country to attend Columbia Law. I’ll spare you the taking-a-plane-across-the-country-New-York-City-skyline montage, because you can probably imagine it yourself. We’ve all seen it a hundred times before, and in better movies, to boot.

The special features section of the DVD is bafflingly extensive. There are nine (nine!) deleted scenes, and two music videos. The first is an alternate song for Adam to sing in the film, but it’s still a thinly veiled ballad about Ryden. The second is Jack Savoretti (songwriter of both of Adam’s songs) singing the song featured in the film, except in an airy beach house bedroom.

Also included are two interactive quizzes. Find Your Match! The Best Job For You and What Not to Wear. Find Your Match determined that because I like making things and reading newspapers, I should be a fashion designer or an account executive. What Not to Wear shows two pictures of office wear, polished vs. promiscuous, and asks the viewer to pick which one is work-appropriate.

Post Grad Confidential is a making-of feature that showcases interviews with the screenwriter (Kelly Fremon) producers, and director (Vicky Jenson). Fremon is a sunny girl-next-door type who drew on her own experiences when writing Post Grad. She’s bubbly and sincere and I almost felt bad about hating her script. The producers talk about how nuanced and subtle and “grounded” the film is, and pat themselves on the back for its sophisticated combination of physical and verbal comedy (Examples of physical comedy in the film include Keaton stepping in cat poop.)

Most bizarre is a brief interview with Marcus Buckingham, a British fellow who wrote Find Your Strongest Life a career advice book for women. Wide-eyed and earnest, Buckingham tells women to find out what their strengths are by writing down what they love or hate doing over the course of a week. I understand the connection the DVD producers are trying to make with the numerous “how to get a job” featurettes, but the extra content is unnecessary and by and large uninteresting.

Far and away the best part of the special features is the supremely awkward Real Life Advice with Alexis Bledel & Zach Gilford. Alexis and Zach are perched on overstuffed white chairs on a bed of fake grass lit by bright studio lights. The two dish about starting their acting careers and how similar auditions are to job interviews. Bledel seems slightly uncomfortable, but dutifully promotes the film by offering some solid, if generic, advice like “take your time”. Gilford interrupts with such gems as “This whole movie… I could really relate to,” and “My best advice is be yourself. But your more outgoing self. But don’t be fake.” There you have it, post grads, the key to success: Be outgoing, but not fake.

1

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

Peter Frampton Asks "Do You Feel Like I Do?" in Rock-Solid Book on Storied Career

British rocker Peter Frampton grew up fast before reaching meteoric heights with Frampton Comes Alive! Now the 70-year-old Grammy-winning artist facing a degenerative muscle condition looks back on his life in his new memoir and this revealing interview.

Books

Bishakh Som's 'Spellbound' Is an Innovative Take on the Graphic Memoir

Bishakh's Som's graphic memoir, Spellbound, serves as a reminder that trans memoirs need not hinge on transition narratives, or at least not on the ones we are used to seeing.

Music

Gamblers' Michael McManus Discusses Religion, Addiction, and the Importance of Writing Open-Ended Songs

Seductively approachable, Gamblers' sunny sound masks the tragedy and despair that populate the band's debut album.

Books

Peter Guralnick's 'Looking to Get Lost' Is an Ode to the Pleasures of Writing About Music

Peter Guralnick's homage to writing about music, 'Looking to Get Lost', shows how good music writing gets the music into the readers' head.

Film

In Praise of the Artifice in George Cukor's 'Sylvia Scarlett'

George Cukor's gender-bending Sylvia Scarlett proposes a heroine who learns nothing from her cross-gendered ordeal.

Music

The Cure: Ranking the Albums From 13 to 1

Just about every Cure album is worth picking up, and even those ranked lowest boast worthwhile moments. Here are their albums, spanning 29 years, presented from worst to best.

Television

The 20 Best Episodes of 'Star Trek: The Original Series'

This is a timeless list of 20 thrilling Star Trek episodes that delight, excite, and entertain, all the while exploring the deepest aspects of the human condition and questioning our place in the universe.

Music

The 20 Best Tom Petty Songs

With today's release of Tom Petty's Wildflowers & All the Rest (Deluxe Edition), we're revisiting Petty's 20 best songs.

Joshua M. Miller
Music

The 11 Greatest Hits From "Greatest Hits" Compilations

It's one of the strangest pop microcosms in history: singles released exclusively from Greatest Hits compilations. We rounded 'em up and ranked 'em to find out what is truly the greatest Greatest Hit of all.

Music

When Punk Got the Funk

As punks were looking for some potential pathways out of the cul-de-sacs of their limited soundscapes, they saw in funk a way to expand the punk palette without sacrificing either their ethos or idea(l)s.

Music

20 Hits of the '80s You Might Not Have Known Are Covers

There were many hit cover versions in the '80s, some of well-known originals, and some that fans may be surprised are covers.

Music

The Reign of Kindo Discuss Why We're Truly "Better Off Together"

The Reign of Kindo's Joseph Secchiaroli delves deep into their latest single and future plans, as well as how COVID-19 has affected not only the band but America as a whole.

Books

Tommy Siegel's Comic 'I Hope This Helps' Pokes at Social Media Addiction

Jukebox the Ghost's Tommy Siegel discusses his "500 Comics in 500 Days" project, which is now a new book, I Hope This Helps.

Music

Kimm Rogers' "Lie" Is an Unapologetically Political Tune (premiere)

San Diego's Kimm Rogers taps into frustration with truth-masking on "Lie". "What I found most frustrating was that no one would utter the word 'lie'."

Music

50 Years Ago B.B. King's 'Indianola Mississippi Seeds' Retooled R&B

B.B. King's passion for bringing the blues to a wider audience is in full flower on the landmark album, Indianola Mississippi Seeds.

Film

Filmmaker Marlon Riggs Knew That Silence = Death

In turning the camera on himself, even in his most vulnerable moments as a sick and dying man, filmmaker and activist Marlon Riggs demonstrated the futility of divorcing the personal from the political. These films are available now on OVID TV.

Film

The Human Animal in Natural Labitat: A Brief Study of the Outcast

The secluded island trope in films such as Cast Away and television shows such as Lost gives culture a chance to examine and explain the human animal in pristine, lab like, habitat conditions. Here is what we discover about Homo sapiens.

Music

Bad Wires Release a Monster of a Debut with 'Politics of Attraction'

Power trio Bad Wires' debut Politics of Attraction is a mix of punk attitude, 1990s New York City noise, and more than a dollop of metal.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.