Post-Grad (2009)

Rated: PG-13 for sexual situations and brief strong language.
Length: 88 minutes
Grade: DB-BF=D-
Budget: $15 million
Box Office: $7 million (6 U.S., 0 Intl., 1 DVD)

Written by: Kelly Fremon (First movie)
Directed by: Vicky Jenson (Shark Tale, Shrek)
Starring: Alexis Bledel and Zach Gilford
With: Michael Keaton, Jane Lynch, Carol Burnett, and JK Simmons.

A goal-oriented young woman has her entire future planned out, including where she wants to work, but reality sets her off course and forces her to reconsider her priorities as she returns home to live with her oddball family after getting her degree.

Entertainment Value: D
It’s not good. I mean it’s the sort of movie you laugh at rather than laughing with. At $7 million box office, I think it got a bit more than it deserved. The basic problem is that, despite the wonderful spice brought in by Burnett, Lynch, and Keaton, the plot is so predictable that my wife and I literally paused the movie after about 6 minutes, planned it out, and then sat back to see 90% of what we said come to pass. I don’t mind a Com-Rom that’s either funny or original (ideally both), but one that’s neither needs to never mature beyond the paper stage.

Superficial Content: B-
Drugs/Alcohol B, Sex/Nudity C+, Violence B, Language B
I was surprised that this got a PG-13 rating, quite frankly. I’d say PG-9, although there are a few sexual situations, a discussion about birth control, and a handful of medium profanity. The violence is slapstick (such as running over a cat) and a car accident in which no one is hurt. There is some situational mild drinking.

Significant Content: B
Family is important, even if they’re total weirdos. The people who perform aren’t always good people. Having a plan is good, but it’s at least as important to travel life’s journey with the right people as it is to be travelling toward the proper destination. People matter more than goals, and we often risk losing what’s right in front of us because we’re too busy trying to achieve something else. The one big thing they did right in this movie is that the guy is the smart one, whereas the girl is the fool. I’m not saying that’s always correct, but given the number of movies in which men are portrayed as buffoons (like Michael Keaton in this movie, tragically), I give extra credit to movies when they’re just fair to men. On the other hand, he’s dumb enough to stay interested in her even when she’s obviously not really worth the trouble. Oh, and parents should spend time with their kids.

Artistic/Thought Value: F
Like I said, this is utterly predictable, and it’s not saying anything we haven’t heard a hundred times before.

Discussion Questions:
~Adam seems overwhelmingly loyal to Ryden. Do you think he is wise for continuing to want to have her in his life, or is he a fool? Does she deserve his loyalty? Would you want a girl like her for your wife?
~Given the economy and the challenges recent graduates are facing, do you think this movie is useful for them or not helpful?
~Which do you think is more important: following your dream or maintaining the right relationships?
~For people who are hyper-organized, is there a danger that when they decide to be impulsive they’ll go too far the other direction? In this movie, should she have done what she did or should she have called first?
~One of the most prevalent lessons our culture promotes is to “follow your dream” and never give up. But this lesson is often heard only from the people for whom it worked, which is statistically rare. Why don’t movies usually get made about the lives of people for whom it didn’t? To what degree should you “follow your dream” and to what degree should you be prudent and practical?

Poignant or memorable scenes:
~Being asked about careers at the party.
~Being confronted by Adam after she forgets to go to his big show.
Overall Grade: D-
The few moments with Burnett and Keaton are not nearly enough to justify this trite, boring, music-montage driven rehash of any romantic comedy you might randomly select off the shelf at the video store. Rotten Tomatoes gave it an 8 out of 100, and they aren’t wrong.

No comments: