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Post Grad (2009)

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 1/12/2010

All Ratings out of
Movie: 1/2
Video: 1/2

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 1/17/2010

If a movie wants to be accepted, it should try to make a connection with the audience. If possible, this connection should be on an emotional level. A good way to do this is make the subject of the film something to which many audiences members can relate. Taking this last step into consideration, Post Grad should be on its way to being a successful movie, as if focuses on the transition from college to career, a subject which many have experienced. However, it takes this giant step in laugh and stumbles...many times.

Alexis Bledel stars in Post Grad as Ryden Malby, a young woman who has just graduated from college. An A student, Ryden has her future planned, as she's convinced that she's going to get a job at a publishing house in Los Angeles. When this doesn't happen, she's forced to move back home, where she must face her odd-ball family -- Dad (Michael Keaton), Mom (Jane Lynch), brother (Bobby Coleman), and Grandmother (Carol Burnett). Ryden is comforted by her lifelong best-friend Adam (Zach Gilford), whose love for Ryden goes unrequited. As she tries to find a job, she quickly learns that her dreams of a career in publishing are growing more distant, as she isn't hired for even the simplest of positions. With Adam pondering a move cross-country to begin law school, and her attempt to put a career together failing, Ryden fears that she may be stuck with her family.

There are a lot of problems with Post Grad (which I'll discuss), but my number one issue with the movie is with Alexis Bledel. I hate to come across as harsh, but she simply isn't a good actress. Thanks to my wife's obsession with the show, I've seen every episode of Gilmore Girls, and I knew from that experience that Bledel's chops weren't up to snuff. However, I assumed that a lot of it had to do with the fact that she was up against the whirlwind that was Lauren Graham on that show. But, Post Grad proves that she doesn't really know how to act. She recites dialogue and makes facial gestures, but none of it comes across as the least bit realistic. This isn't helped by the fact that this A-type college student is a lot like Rory Gilmore, which implies that she doesn't have much range.

In her defense (sort of), Bledel isn't helped by the film's script. While watching Post Grad, I got the feeling that someone (presumably credited screenwriter Kelly Fremon) had an idea for a movie about a girl who graduates from college and then her dreams go awry. The problem was that that she only had enough material for 40% of a movie. Thus, the story was padded (or, in my imagination, combined with another script) with scenes involving Ryden's dysfunctional family. At times, Ryden's story takes a backseat to subplots concerning her father's new business, her grandmother's need for a casket, for her brother's soap-box derby racer. In short, there are a lot of subplots here -- U-571 didn't have this many subplots. The problem is that none of them really pan out. The casket thing comes back around, but most simply seem like an excuse to make the family seem "weird". There's also bit involving Ryden's neighbor (Rodrigo Santoro) which, again, goes nowhere.

The biggest problem with Post Grad is how unrealistic it feels as times. Again, the film tackles a topic which could have nearly universal appeal, but instead, it creates disconnect with the audience. Ryden is portrayed as smart, but she assumes that she's going to get a job for which she's yet to interview. She even puts money down on an apartment based on this assumption. There is also a storyline concerning something which happens to her Dad which feels completely improbably, and draws the viewer out of the film. However, Post Grad's biggest flaw may lie outside of its control. With the economy, many college graduates are having difficulty finding a job and the last thing that they'll want to do is watch a movie which reminds them of this. Despite a good idea, Post Grad is a few hours shy of making the grade.

Post Grad puts way too much emphasis on belt buckles on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 30 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing only a very slight amount of grain and no defects from the source material. The colors look fantastic (Director Vicky Jenson co-directed Shrek) and the image is never overly dark or bright. The picture has a nice amount of depth and the detail level is very good as well. The Disc contains a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.3 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. For a movie of this sort, the sound is pretty good. We get some nice stereo effects which show good separation. The surround effects are good in key scenes, most notably crowd or street noises. The music in the film sounds especially good.

The Post Grad Blu-ray Disc contains an assortment of extras. The Disc provides ten DELETED AND ALTERANTE SCENES which run about 14 minutes. A few of these play more like bloopers than deleted scenes, but there is one interesting scene which shows another girl showing attention to Adam, and more Andrew Daly. "Real Life Advice with Alexis Bledel and Zach Gilford" (4 minutes) has the two actors talking about the challenge of pursuing/choosing a career (which is odd as Bledel has been working steadily in acting since 2000). "Know Your Strengths: Career Advice" (6 minutes) has author Marcus Buckingham discussing the best way to pick a career. "How Not to Get a Job" (3 minutes) is simply a list of bad things which happened in the movie. "A Guide to Moving Back Home" (3 minutes) is simply another list of scenes from the movie. "Dress for Success" (2 minutes) is a discussion of the costumes in the film (but not were Ryden got the clothes). "Find Your Match: The Best Job for You" is sort of an interactive career guidance game. "What Not to Wear" is set-top fashion IQ game, not the TLC show. "Post Grad Confidential" (14 minutes) is a making-of featurette which contains comments from the filmmakers, who discuss the story, production, cast and characters. Finally, we get the MUSIC VIDEO for the song "One Day" by Jack Savoretti.

Review Copyright 2010 by Mike Long