Post Grad (2009)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Domestic Comedy, Screwball Comedy  |   Release Date - Aug 21, 2009 (USA)  |   Run Time - 89 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Review by Alaina O'Connor

In today's world of recession, stimulus packages, and layoffs, it seems only fitting that a film should attempt to explore the notion that a college degree no longer guarantees a place in the job market. This holds true in Post Grad, a romantic comedy of sorts that appeals not only to the Facebook generation, but to the hopelessly unemployed. Alexis Bledel stars as Ryden Malby, a tenacious recent college graduate whose life is essentially planned out: do well in high school, get a scholarship, graduate from university, and land a position at Los Angeles' top publishing company, Happerman & Browning, where she plans to discover the next Great American Novel. One day, Ryden arrives at said dream job for an interview, along with a gaggle of fresh-faced applicants, only to have her idealistic hopes of success shattered by an overly ambitious valedictorian rival, who snags the coveted position. Defeated, Ryden is forced to move back to her childhood home to live with her eccentric family. After a series of missteps including a sales assistant job at the Luggage Shack and working as a production assistant for David Santiago (Rodrigo Santoro) -- infomercial director by day, steamy next-door neighbor by night -- Ryden finally gets the big break she's been waiting for. Things get complicated, however, when hopelessly devoted BFF Adam's (Zach Gilford) acceptance into Columbia Law School sends him clear across the country, which leads Ryden to ponder whether it's possible to be happy with only a job to keep her warm at night.

Post Grad seems to teeter between a twentysomething romantic comedy and a dysfunctional family film in the vein of Little Miss Sunshine, but never really finds a balance between the two. Bledel is convincingly adorable in her failed attempts at securing employment, but her character comes across as just plain boring, which makes it difficult to muster sympathy for her plight. It's unfortunate that director Vicky Jenson and screenwriter Kelly Fremon shy away from creating a meaningful story arc that explores the irony of being over-educated and under-employed, and instead opt for a bland mixture of cheesy romance and wacky family fun time. Still, the film boasts a veteran cast of supporting actors including Michael Keaton as the free-spirited, get-rich-quick scheming father and Carol Burnett as the quirky, death-obsessed grandmother, who, oddly enough, keeps a prescription-drug display case on the kitchen counter. They keep the film interesting, but alas, with a formulaic plot and uninspiring dialogue, not even Mr. Mom can help the film stay afloat.