Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Post Grad

You think that people would have had enough of silly chick flicks

Being a 22 year-old college graduate, with a dream job in publishing waiting for you, a guy who believes you are the center of his world, and with the whole world ahead of you, one might think that the future is bright, happy, and in your grasp. Unfortunately, life doesn't work that way. "Post Grad" is a straightforward, unpretentious comedy about the postgraduate life of Ryden Malby, (Alexis Bledel). A chick-flick, this fast-paced, light-hearted, funny story is a pleasant surprise.

Director Vicky Jenson builds a quirky cast that compliments each other's weirdness. Leading off the cast of kooky characters, is Alexis Bledel ("The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants"), as Ryden, the girl whom, during her college years she puts aside the crazy party life to finish her education in hopes of getting started in the publishing world. Living at college, away from her, not-so-normal family, we meet Ryden, her best friend, Adam (Zach Gilford), and the rest of the slightly off Malby family. Walter Malby (Michael Keaton - "Beetlejuice"), Ryden's eccentric, happy go lucky attention deficit disordered father. Keaton steals the show and livens up the story, and saves the other wise hopeless situations that his unlucky family finds themselves. In addition, starring in "Post Grad" are veteran actors, Walter's mom, Grandma Maureen, played by the wonderful, yet cynical Carol Burnett. Ryden's mom is a bit more down to earth, but not by much, is the incredible TV actor Jane Lynch (Glee, 2 & 1/2 Men). The one to watch is Ryden's 13 year-old, short, weirdly creepy baby brother, Hunter ("The Martian Child") played by the kid character actor Bobby Coleman. In minor roles, yet worth mentioning are Catherine Reitman ("I Love You, Man"), as the pompous self-centered, bitchy, girl-who-gets what she wants, valedictorian Jessica Bard. Last, but not least is Rodrigo Santoro ("Che," "Lost"), as David Santiago, the Malby's hot Latin slightly older neighbor from across the street. Walter as issues with David's cat, whom Walter eventually accidentally kills and as a penance must bury the cat in the back yard.

"Post Grad" moves quickly with the imaginative opener, provided by Ryden on her laptop. Using multiple windows popping open and closing as Ryden introduces us to the people in her life -- who they are -- their context -- and how they fit. She introduces Adam, as her best friend, and Adam describes Ryden as the girl he loves but never gets anything in return but platonic friendship scene the third grade. The Malby family is a strange clan, indeed. When arriving at Ryden's graduation ceremony, during Jessica’s valedictorian speech, making noise, bumping into guests with their purses and Granma's air tank; we see immediately that this is a family film. With "promises" of a job with Los Angeles's leading publishing company, Ryden signs a lease on a gorgeous condominium a block away from her soon to be work place, based on the promise of work. When going to the interview of her life, reality sets in and Ryden finding out quickly, just how ordinary she is. Ryden quickly loses the job to her personal nemesis from the third grade through college, Jessica. Giving up her apartment, moving back into her parents life, having her car smashed, Ryden's life could be on the rocks. Fortunately, all her family members’ and her best platonic friend, Adam, support Ryden. Going to interviews, trying to show the prospective employers that she is, vivacious, excited, passionate, eager, and willing to do just about anything to get a job, Arden is still bombing out. Her best friend Adam has an envelope on his desk at home with his acceptance letter to Columbia University of Law in New York, waiting for him at his house, unopened. Adam too has decisions to make.

Michael Keaton steals his scenes with his infectious optimism that keeps his family moving along in life. He takes on fixing Ryden's car after a hit and run accident leaves the front end messed up and un-driveable. He takes on and a shady independent belt buckle sales business, and builds his son Hunter, after constant badgering (with strange costumes, strange puppets, and in strange demon possessed voices - creepy) a go-cart to enter in the Boy Scout races. Walter is imaginative in the construction, of the go-cart and worth staying with the film for at least that scene, near the end. Ryden gets herself into and out of trouble with the support of her family right beside her. Carol Burnett has some funny lines and Jane Lynch gets her funny lines in as well, sharing the fun all around. The pacing of this movie starts out fast paced during the opening scenes, however, after Ryden's job doesn't pan out, the film slows the pace down a notch to develop Ryden's character some, showing her as a frustrated, grad, without any experience, hoping to get noticed. Picking up the pace a bit after Adam, decides to move on with his life, director Jenson picks up the pace and drives the film to its predictable but highly expected and hoped for end.

A good movie in any way, however, "Post Grad" is not a film that belongs anywhere near the Academy of Film Arts and Sciences. "Post Grad" is the movie for a quiet Sunday after noon with your family. A film that will provide quite a few laughs, some sentimental moments, until you look up at your clock after the film is over and the titles rolling and you say, "is it over, already?"

Movie Data

Genre:  Comedy
Year:  2009
Staring: Alexis Bledel, Michael Keaton, Jane Lynch, Carol Burnett
Director:  Vicky Jenson
Producer(s) Jeffrey Clifford, Joe Medjuck, Ivan Reitman
Writer: Kelly Fremon
Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 88 minutes
Release Date: 8/21/2009

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