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
Catherine Reitman as Jessica Bard
Mary Anne McGarry as Barbara Snaff
J.K. Simmons as Roy Davies
Robert Arce as Chancellor
Craig Robinson as Funeral Director
Fred Armisen as Guacanator Pitchman
Kirk Fox as Buckle-O-Bill
Directed by Vicky Jenson
If subjecting moviegoers to lazy stupid humor was a punishable crime, “Post Grad” should be put in front of a tribunal and those responsible given the maximum sentence for their lack of respect to their audience.
Ryden Malby (Alexis Bledel) has just graduated college but after failing to get her dream job, she’s forced to move back home with her crazy family (Michael Keaton, Jane Lynch, Carol Burnett and Bobby Coleman) who proceed to make her life even more miserable. Things are looking up when she meets their handsome Brazilian neighbor (Rodrigo Santoro) but it becomes clear that Ryden’s best friend Adam (Zach Gilford) is smitten with her, causing even more drama.
For all of those who loved Alexis Bledel in “Gilmore Girls” or “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,” who’ve been waiting for her to come into her own, we’re sorry to say that you might as well move along; there’s nothing to see here. In fact, “Post Grad” might force you to reassess your opinion of the young actress.
Ryden Malby’s journey starts simple enough as she’s graduating college with hopes of getting her dream job as an editor’s assistant at a publishing house. That’s not to be, so she gives up her dream apartment and moves back home with her family, and that’s pretty much where everything goes downhill and it never recovers.
Within the first few minutes, you’ll probably know if this movie is for you because if you can get through Bledel’s cutesy “blog” intro, then maybe you can get grit your teeth and tolerate her character for the film’s 89 minutes. Otherwise, you better be ready to be put through a painful exercise in how much inanity can be thrown into one movie. In every scene, Alexis Bledel successfully shows off her lack of acting skills with less emotional range than either Heather Graham or Zooey Deschanel, often trying to make up for it by veering into Meg Ryan territory in terms of zany physical humor, which she’s not very good at either. It’s not just that Bledel is playing essentially the same character she did on “Gilmore Girls,” but the material and writing clearly isn’t as strong so she does little to endear herself to the audience.
Zach Gilford from “Friday Night Lights” does his best to channel John Cryer’s Ducky from “Pretty in Pink,” and he seems like a pleasant enough guy, if not a bit dopey and hard to tolerate. When he performs with his band in one scene, dedicating a song to Ryden, it’s apparent that he’s a better singer than actor. Bledel and Gilford have absolutely no romantic chemistry whatsoever, so the way the movie tries to get them together seems forced in a way no one possibly could buy.
Then there’s Ryden’s family, who on paper is made up of an amazing dream cast, but with such horrendous material, their talents are mostly wasted. We’ve seen a lot of Jane Lynch in recent years and deservedly so, but how often in the past few years have we seen Carol Burnett take on a live action comedy role? Certainly, Burnett is the funniest part of the movie despite being given absolutely awful material to work with. Just the fact you can have Burnett and Lynch, two of the funniest women of the last five decades, on screen together in a scene that’s not even remotely funny is the crux of the problems with Vicky Jenson’s lazy direction. Michael Keaton’s hammy over-the-top performance is just plain embarrassing and hard to watch. Whether he’s stepping in cat poop or just acting plain crazy, one can only hope his paycheck was big enough to make it worth this humiliation.
Small and irrelevant cameos by the likes of Craig Robinson, Fred Armisen and Demetri Martin, comics who usually can steal a scene, are wasted as they’re in and out so fast, there’s no time to really appreciate their characters. You may also ponder the degree of nepotism involved with casting Catherine Reitman, the daughter of producer Ivan Retiman, as Ryden’s arch-rival Jessica, as she gives a flat deep-voiced performance that’s never even remotely funny.
The movie is supposed to be about Ryden, so when the movie starts spiraling out of control with silly subplots for each member of her family, not to mention two pointless scenes of Adam trying to connect with his father (a similarly underused J.K. Simmons), something that’s never revisited or resolved. Instead, we’re forced to watch as every single dumb gag is followed through to its obvious conclusion, and even after Ryden finally gets that dream job she always wanted, she throws it away in order to chase Adam to New York after he left her to go to school. Even though the platonic relationship between the two of them was easy enough to believe, the chemistry is not, which makes the ending even less plausible.
If “Post Grad” was just a victim of incompetent filmmaking, maybe we couldn’t fault it for being so terrible, but in this case, it doesn’t even seem like anyone is even trying to make a good movie, which is just a much greater insult, especially following the far funnier things “The Proposal” did with the dysfunctional family comedy. Let’s face it, this whole premise has more of the markings of a sitcom than a feature film, and maybe as a television show, some of the worse moments might be forgiven if they were counterbalanced with even a high school GED level of cleverness.
The Bottom Line:
If you’ve been hoping one day to find a movie that contains every single bad movie cliché known to man in one place, then “Post Grad” is that movie. In a summer where comedies like “I Love You, Beth Cooper” and “My Life in Ruins” have already set a very low bar for Fox, it’s absolutely astounding that “Post Grad” still finds room to lower that bar even further.