Post Grad -- Film Review

"Post Grad" is an innocuous -- to the point of blandness -- look at the "hardships" of a recent college grad as she struggles to land the perfect job and perfect boyfriend and wonders why it isn't easier, like getting an A on a history exam.

The film from Ivan Reitman and Tom Pollock's Montecito Picture Co., written and directed by Kelly Fremon and Vicky Jenson, respectively, is very much aimed at young girls. So this essentially is a 13-year-old's fantasy of what it's like to be 22. Naturally, it gets just about everything wrong, but its audience probably will lap it up.

How big that audience will be is a question, though. If "Gilmore Girls" star Alexis Bledel can lure in female tweens and preteens, all to the good. Otherwise, the film seems like it belongs on a small screen, meaning TV or even Facebook.

Fremon's screenplay, her first, doesn't have any real plot as such but rather a linked series of predictable episodes detailing the fall and rise of newly graduated English major Ryden Malby (Bledel). She is so perky and in charge of her life that her immediate disappointment is preordained.

So when she fails to get that for-sure job at a top Los Angeles publishing firm, she has to move back -- gasp -- to her parents' suburban house. Her car gets into an accident, forcing her to go to job interviews on her childhood bicycle or by taxi. And two childhood friends continue to bug her.

One, Adam (Zach Gilford), increasingly is anxious about moving their relationship from platonic to romantic. Another, Jessica (Catherine Reitman), takes every opportunity to taunt her about her unemployment.

What new hell will present itself to poor Ryden?

Her family, the Malbys, is presented as the Maladroits. Dad (Michael Keaton) is an underachiever with new get-rich-quick plans almost daily. Her kid brother (Bobby Coleman) is -- well, his own mother describes him as "weird." Grandma (Carol Burnett -- and where have you been for so long?!) is an oxygen tank-toting, death-obsessed, self-centered nut. Only Mom (Jane Lynch) is cursed with the normal gene.

Director Jenson, an animator making her first live-action feature, tries to turn these overblown characterizations and physical gags into a smooth comedy. It's not entirely her fault she fails.

There are such things as an uneven films with inspired moments. This is a very even film with no inspired moments. No scene is flat-out bad. But then no scene comes close to lifting the film out of its own doldrums.

Tech credits are solid but, yes, uninspired.

Opens: Friday, Aug. 21 (Fox)
Production: Fox Atomic in association with Cold Spring Pictures present a Montecito Picture Co. production
Cast: Alexis Bledel, Zach Gilford, Rodrigo Santoro, Carol Burnett, Michael Keaton, Jane Lynch, Fred Armsen, Bobby Coleman, Andrew Daly, Kirk Fox, Catherine Reitman
Director: Vicky Jenson
Screenwriter: Kelly Fremon
Producers: Ivan Reitman, Joe Nedjuck, Jeffrey Clifford
Executive producer: Tom Pollock
Director of photography: Charles Minsky
Production designer: Mark Hutman
Music: Christophe Beck
Costume designer: Alexandra Welker
Editor: Dana Congdon
Rated PG-13, 89 minutes
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