ELE­MEN­TARY ‘POST GRAD’

WITH THIS RO­MAN­TIC COM­EDY, RO­MANCE IS PRE­DICTABLE AND COM­EDY CAN’T RAISE A CHUCKLE

The Commercial Appeal - Go Memphis - - News - By John Bei­fuss

/ bei­fuss@com­mer­cialap­peal.com

THEY USED TO be­lieve that mix­ing blood lines pro­duced abom­i­na­tions. That the­ory finds val­i­da­tion in “Post Grad,” the un­bear­able is­sue of a forced mat­ing be­tween “Gilmore Girls” win­some com­edy-drama and “Lit­tle Miss Sun­shine” ec­cen­tric-fam­ily shenani­gans.

“Gilmore” alum Alexis Bledel stars as new col­lege grad­u­ate Ry­den Malby, forced to move back home af­ter her dream job in pub­lish­ing goes to her hated col­lege ri­val (Cather­ine Reit­man, daugh­ter of “Ghost­busters” di­rec­tor Ivan Reit­man). “Books are all I know, ev­ery­thing I love,” Ry­den tells us, al­though we never see her read­ing or hear her ex­press a thought that couldn’t have been culled from Life­time Tele­vi­sion.

Al­though we don’t ex­pect “Post Grad” to be un­pre­dictable, it’s some­what de­press­ing when the movie is only

be­fore re­veal­ing its end­ing, which is what hap­pens when Ry­den in­tro­duces us to her “best friend since fresh­man year,” cute, gui­tar-strum­ming Adam (Zach Gil­ford), who can’t de­cide whether to at­tend Columbia Uni­ver­sity law school or to be­come a Ja­son Mraz-like singer-song­writer. The ear­li­ness of Adam’s ap­pear­ance makes the forced de­lay of the cou­ple’s in­evitable ro­man­tic hookup more an­noy­ing than usual.

De­spite the twen­tysome­thing char­ac­ters and a down-to-the-bra near-sex­ual en­counter be­tween Ry­den and her the­o­ret­i­cally hot Brazil­ian in­fomer­cial-di­rec­tor neigh­bor (Rodrigo San­toro), the movie seems aimed at tween girls about a decade away from post­col­lege life. Why else is the story so schizophreni­cally di­vided be­tween Ry­den’s de­sire for in­de­pen­dence and the tug of life at home with the sup­pos­edly lov­able but in fact in­tol­er­a­ble “char­ac­ters” of the Malby house­hold?

Carol Bur­nett is grandma, who ar­rives at Ry­den’s grad­u­a­tion with her oxy­gen tank and a noisy bag of Chee­tos; Bobby Cole­man is lit­tle brother, whose slap­stick soap­box derby race pads the film to its pa­tience-try­ing 89 min­utes; and Michael Keaton is a mis­ter-fixer-up­per dad. (You can al­most see the thought bub­ble hov­er­ing over Keaton’s head: “I used to be Bat­man, now I’m mar­ried to Jane Lynch.”) Near the end of the story, Keaton ut­ters what could come to be re­garded as the direst threat in movie his­tory: “From now on, it’s Malby time.”

Point­less and un­fo­cused and coated with a su­gar glaze of non­stop pop songs that fails to hide the fail­ure of the recipe, “Post Grad” was di­rected by Vicky Jen­son and writ­ten by Kelly Fre­mon, which demon­strates that fe­male film­mak­ers don’t nec­es­sar­ily have an ad­van­tage over other artists in cre­at­ing good roles for women.

Suzanne Ten­ner/Fox Search­light Pic­tures

Foot mas­sage in aisle four: Alexis Bledel and Zach Gil­ford pro­vide the love in­ter­est in the ro­man­tic com­edy “Post Grad.”

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