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Post Grad fulfills every high-school cliché

BY ERIC SUNDERMANN | AUGUST 24, 2009 7:05 AM

1/2 out of *****

Oh my god, I’m graduating. I don’t know what to do. I don’t have a job. All my friends are leaving. I’m so sad. Life stinks. Blah blah. Blah blah.

Graduation — the end of an era, new beginnings, the first day of the rest of your life — namely, every cliché ever created but a reality nonetheless. This coming-of-age provides an ideal opportunity for Hollywood to make a profit by making movies. Sometimes, the films are successful (such as The Graduate), but most of the time, and especially with Post Grad, yet another awful movie that insults viewers is born.

The film opens with Ryden Malby (Alexis Bledel) sharing her life “plan,” which included getting good grades in high school, going to a reputable university on a scholarship, graduating from said college, and finally — obtaining her dream job at the best publishing company in the city. After the final step falls through, she is forced to move back home with her eccentric family and search for a job, while balancing crazy home life and her complicated friendship with Adam (Zach Gilford). The movie tries to center on themes of growth, self-determination, and coming of age. It tries and tries and tries — and fails.

Post Grad’s main problem is Bledel’s character. Each scene with her is a struggle. For example, in a late-night party between her and Adam, they share intimate details of their lives with each other. Not only is this a cliché moment, but the acting downright blows as Bledel decides to pause after each piece of dialogue. This is a common mistake she makes throughout the movie, which not only forces the audience to hate her character, but also makes her come off as stupid and flakey. Not every movie is perfect, and actors make these mistakes every so often, but when your lead actress can’t hold a scene and is in 90 percent of the film, it makes 89 minutes feel like 89 years.

But maybe the actors aren’t all to blame — Post Grad’s script would’ve made Meryl Streep look like a fool. The film doesn’t know what direction to take, whether the focus is on Ryden, her family, or her friends. Moreover, each scene was not even close to reality, and because the characters live an ideal life where problems fix themselves, those of us who could sympathize with Ryden instead hope she doesn’t get a job, and continues to live in the attic.

Ryden’s situation is familiar to a lot of college graduates, and this movie had a chance to be culturally significant by capitalizing on the current economic environment. But instead, the film decided to piss away that opportunity and give us a predictable script, standard scenes, and bullshit characters.

If you want to watch a movie about postgraduation, The Graduate is showing at the Englert next weekend. But, for the love of god, do not waste your time or money on Hollywood’s newest garbage.


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