Inglorious Bastards! Why didn’t anyone — and by ‘anyone’ we of course are referring to the studio behind the new movie POST GRADS — bother telling us that this weekend we could have spent one hour and twenty-nine minutes in a darkened air-conditioned room with GILMORE GIRLS’ Alexis Bledel and FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS’ Zach Gilford!? Luckily, this all-but-forgotten release didn’t sneak past our good friends over at theREELaddict.com, which is why we thought we’d share with you their take on Alexis Bledel’s Mission Impossible: The Search for a Post-GILMORE GIRLS Career.
In the interest of full disclosure, you should know that because my affection for them runs so deep, when it comes to anything featuring Rory Gilmore and Matt Saracen (aka Alexis Bledel and Zack Gilford) it’s very hard for me to maintain any sort of critical objectivity. All the more so with POST-GRAD, since they are almost exactly appearing as they did/do on their respective shows, Gilmore Girls and Friday Night Lights. It’s like some sort of inter-serial crossover fan fiction fantasy come true, which is why in my book POST-GRAD gets away with a lot more mediocrity than I know it probably deserves to.
POST-GRAD begins almost exactly like a deleted scene from the Gilmore Girls. On the day of her graduation Ryden Malby (Alexis Bledel) speaks to us video blog style, catching us up on her very Rory-like “The Plan” of using her straight A’s to land her dream job at renowned literary firm. She also introduces us to her best friend since childhood, Adam (Matt Saracen), who is a sweet, sensitive, supportive guitar playing guy. If you can’t see where either plotline is going, then you might be one of the few people to be graciously spared the pervasive sense of worn out familiarity that bogs POST-GRAD down.
In addition to those storylines going in precisely the direction you would expect, the film seems to almost want to distract you from it by inexplicably throwing in numerous additional characters and sub-plots that really don’t amount to anything beyond adding superficial quirky sheen to the film. What starts as an attempt to address the ever growing problem of post-grad reality and quarter life crises mixed with a SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL romance, veers in and out of plotlines involving her zany family members. Granted, they are played by an all-star cast that includes Michael Keaton, Jane Lynch and Carroll Burnett, who do better with the material than should be possible, but all their plotlines – nor one involving Ryden romancing her older neighbor (Rodrigo Santoro) – don’t amount to anything more substantial than a college course on humor. In effect, it seemed the movie never was sure what kind it wanted to be, and instead we get somewhat of a jumbled, inconsistent film.
Even more disconcerting is the fact that once POST-GRAD moves into its third act it turns completely into a romantic comedy (not that it ever really offered any deep insights into the post-grad experience), one that contributes to an unsettling trend in the genre of ambitious career oriented women being forced to learn that – to paraphrase one character’s apparent sage words – who you spend your life with is more important than what you do with your life. Maybe not an untrue sentiment, but an unfortunate one when in movies that always seems to mean a woman giving up her promising and ambitious career prospects for a boy. It’s all the more surprising when – like here – that narrative path is taken by not just a woman screenwriter, but a woman director.
But, here’s the thing. Despite all of that, it’s still Rory Gilmore and Matt Saracen. That makes a lot of things better in my book, especially when Alexis Bledel and Zack Gilford do demonstrate a cute, sweet chemistry together. Whether scenes involved them on their own or together, it always sort of made me smile to see their television characters unintentionally reprised and brought romantically together. For those of you unfamiliar with either show, or those of you who don’t love those characters, POST-GRAD may be harder to sit through. For me? It just made me a happy fan, and made me wish somebody would make a movie where Chuck Bartowski and Lorelei Gilmore hook up. Grade: C