Directed by Vicky Jensen
Written by Kelly Fremon
Starring Alexis Bledel, Zach Gilford, Michael Keaton, Jane Lynch
89 minutes, English
When it comes to a critic’s personal biases and preferences, transparency is crucial. So, I’ll admit that I have a hard time with films about pretty people years younger than me who spout preciously overwritten dialogue while trying to decide between Columbia Law or a career as a rock star, or pick poetry and love over med school. I licked the inside of a bag of Cool Ranch yesterday for nourishment. Fuck all of you.
That said, I can’t get too mad at Post Grad, which follows Ryden Malby (Alexis Bledel) through her post-collegiate anxiety. That’s because there’s not much to get mad at. It’s so innocuous, so tame, so very neutered, that it’s the cinematic equivalent of ordering room temperature tap water at a biker bar.
Ryden, for some reason, is convinced that her life will fall into place within half an hour of graduating with an English literature degree, as if her entire worldview were informed by some guidance counsellor’s wet dreams. Failing to get her dream job immediately, she must suffer the indignity of entering the workplace somewhere in the middle rather than the top. And that’s not the end of her ‘problems.’ Her parents, played by Michael Keaton and Jane Lynch, are the kind of weird that easily passes by Disney Channel story editors, and her best friend Adam (Zach Gilford) has the hots for her in a Hannah Montana kind of way, where he wants to hold her hand and maybe writer a love song on an acoustic guitar. Those all too familiar ingredients come together rather lazily, creating little conflict and even less tension.
What’s worse, Ryden’s sense of privilege infuses the entire film, which doesn’t deign to comment on her preposterous expectations, portraying her as unlucky rather than spoiled and delusional. If Bledel weren’t such a likeable performer, and the film too bland to excite much emotion, Post Grad wouldn’t be far removed from listening to Paris Hilton complain about her nails for 90 minutes.
Both writer Kelly Fremon and director Vicky Jenson seem to be going through the paces, telling a familiar and predictable story as inoffensively as possible. Perhaps they’re reaction to the recent spate of hard-R comedies, like a parent dialing the car radio away from a college radio rap show towards a station that plays early Hanson. In any case, there’s little to latch onto here, to criticize or laud, and so the film slips away into the aether, soon to be forgotten.
Pictures courtesy of Fox Searchlight.