Alexis Bledel, the Gilmore Girl with the Traveling Pants, takes a baby step into adulthood with a retro romantic comedy about looking for love and career fulfillment the minute you get out of college.
How retro is Post Grad? It's a cornball affair that presumes that, oh, 40 years of women's rights and movies like Reality Bites never happened. Getting your career started in a dismal economy isn't remotely as important as making sure you're set with Mr. Right first — at the ripe old age of 22. It's like Mad Men with laughs.
Bledel plays Ryden Malby, who finishes college, expects to start work at a prestigious L.A. publishing house, get her own apartment and experience life. But when she doesn't land the dream gig, she's stuck at home with her quirky family (Hollywood loves quirky families), headed by luggage salesman Dad (Michael Keaton), adoring Mom (Jane Lynch) and shopping-for-coffins Granny (Carol Burnett).
Ryden is in a hurry to find her life's mate, too. The men tugging at Ryden's heart are her hunky, older Brazilian infomercial-director neighbor (Rodrigo Santoro), who has her licking her lips — and patient "maybe she'll come around" would-be singer-songwriter suitor Adam (Zach Gilford), who reeks of "just friends."
See Ryden fail at jobs. Hear her nemesis (Catherine Reitman) lecture her that "struggle and strife come before success, even in the dictionary." See Ryden throw herself at one guy and then the other.
That this was written by a woman and directed by another (Shrek vet Vicky Jenson) is particularly vexing. It doesn't help that the pacing lets the wan laughs and trite situations wilt on their own.
Keaton, at least, throws himself at even the slowest scenes. Dad teaches his daughter how to show off luggage with "the wave, just like the girls on Deal or No Deal." He cautions her on sex — "Ix-nay on the oodle-day." Keaton burying a cat in a pizza box? Funny. A pizza box that's too big for the hole? Funnier.
There's nothing here to offend, aside from a few jarring profanities. Bledel is as charming as ever, but you have to wonder whether she believes and would support the decisions Ryden makes. Post Grad is a Devil Wears Prada without the devil, a Reality Bites without any bite — and not much reality, either.