Experience Necessary 

“Post Grad” is an unemployable job-hunting movie.

click to enlarge art35_film_postgrad_200.jpg

Coming soon to the in-flight programming menu and next to the M&M stand at Kmart: “Post Grad,” starring Alexis Bledel as Ryden Malby, a recent college graduate who discovers she can't get a job.

OK, I can understand the opportunistic thinking here: Economy troubles plus cute girl from “Gossip Girl” plus recent approval of Lexapro for adolescents equals hit movie. But there's an issue with the resume: If nobody is even willing to give a girl like Ryden a job, what makes the audience want to spend an afternoon with her?

Besides the merciful ending, the best parts of “Post Grad” don't involve Ryden at all, but her family, performed with courage by Michael Keaton as Ryden's bumbling dad, Jane Lynch as the mom dealing with a superweird younger son (Bobby Coleman), and Carol Burnett as Ryden's dying grandmother, who test drives some coffins for her own funeral. Making the best of things, all three make you wish the movie were called “Post Retirement” instead.

Less interesting are Ryden's circle of friends — including Adam, Ryden's ultraplain guy pal (Zach Gilford), and David, a tall, dark and handsome Brazilian next door (Rodrigo Santoro) — who form the other corners of a love triangle around the perky, fresh-faced Ryden.

She, in turn, forms the troubling enigma at the center of the movie. Unless we're Adam and David, why do we care what happens to a pretty but otherwise featureless person? We see Ryden dress up in business casual attire, go hither and yon in a few job-hunting montages, accept employment opportunities she feels are beneath her — but good luck finding an instance where the movie shows us why this is interesting.

I suppose “Post Grad” was intended to play to the college crowd, but aren't their lives difficult enough? The movie can't even find a decent line for J.K. Simmons (as Adam's dad), but its biggest problem is that it's all objective, no experience. (PG-13) 89 min. HIIII S



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