‘Post Grad’ misses the mark

2 out of 5 Pitchforks

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Published On:
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
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Yeah, I’m a dude, and yeah, I’m reviewing a chick flick. Don’t let the Y chromosome fool you. I cried at the end of “The Notebook,” I absolutely love “When Harry Met Sally” and I quite enjoyed myself when I saw “Julie and Julia” last week.

I’m a dude, and yes, I enjoy a good chick flick. Now that I’ve made my confession, something else needs to be said: I don’t automatically like just any chick flick. It has to have an original story, well-developed characters and can’t depend on hopeless romantics to go “aww” when the guy and girl in question finally kiss at the end. That won’t cover up the drab hour and a half that preceded the magical moment.

There has to be some sort of depth, originality and some insight into what love really is. And these are all things “Post Grad,” released last Friday, severely lacked.

The movie did have a heap of romantic comedy and coming-of-age cliches thrown on top of each other, forming one large, stinky mess.

The film stars Alexis Bledel of “Gilmore Girls” and “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” as Ryden Malby, a girl who just graduated college at the top of her class, but can’t seem to catch a break. Zach Gilford of the TV show “Friday Night Lights” is Adam Davies — Ryden’s soft-spoken, deep, musician best friend who wants things to be more than just platonic.

Seem like familiar lead characters for a romantic comedy? They should.
You have to give the director and screenwriters an “A” for effort, though. They tried very hard.

And it shows.

The whole movie is full of zany characters like Michael Keaton as the off-the-wall father, Walter Malby, doing crazy things, such as running over a cat (a scene that’s supposed to be funny, but really, you just feel bad for the cat) or getting busted for selling stolen belt buckles.

Poor Ryden. She’s the only normal one in a family full of crazies.

So, here’s the gist of things: Ryden just graduated college and has everything all planned out, but things don’t go according to the path she had in her mind. She must find a job, but she can’t seem to get offers from anyone except her dad. Adam wants Ryden bad, so bad he even tells her, but they both laugh afterward, and things somehow aren’t awkward.

Then Ryden meets her family’s hunky Brazilian next-door neighbor, and romance ensues. Although he’s from Brazil, he counts out “uno, dos, tres” when he juggles his soccer ball. Brazilians speak Portuguese, so he should have counted uns, dois, três, quatro. It’s similar, but not quite right. Nice try!

The neighbor is quite a cliché — corny accent and all. He’s single, older, tall, dark and handsome.

Then everything unravels, like every other romantic movie without soul does. The rest of the plot synopsis can be inferred.

Now, it’s common knowledge that you don’t go into a romantic comedy and expect to see an Oscar-worthy movie. But it’s not too much to ask for something original and insightful, much like this summer’s indie hit “500 Days of Summer.” It’s a lousy excuse to give up on having any original thought because it’s a romantic comedy. So hey, why try?

From all of the indie music, the little red Geo that every high school or college kid seems to drive in movies these days, to the obvious effort that was put into making Ryden’s family abnormal, and the typical riff in the father-son relationship that Adam and his dad were going through, this movie just lacks anything interesting.

It couldn’t even get this hopeless romantic to smile when the girl and guy finally kissed at the end.

Reach the reporter at preston.melbourneweaver@asu.edu.