Post Grad (Blu-ray)
Directed by Vicky Jenson
Studio: Twentieth Century-Fox
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 1080p AVC codec
Running Time: 88 minutes
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English; Dolby Digital 5.1 French, Spanish, Portuguese
Subtitles: SDH, Spanish, Portuguese, others
MSRP: $ 39.99
Release Date: January 12, 2010
Review Date: January 14, 2010
Contrived is about the nicest thing one can say about Vicky Jenson’s totally prosaic coming of age comedy Post Grad. Though blessed with a talented cast and a decent production, the film’s tired, trite storyline is paint-by-the-numbers predictable, and no amount of mugging by the fabulous supporting players can enliven what is basically a bland story with two all-too-familiar leading characters.
Expecting to take the corporate world by storm when she graduates with near-top marks from college, Ryden Malby (Alexis Bledel) is quickly brought down to earth when she finds dozens of people with similar qualifications applying for the job she’s always wanted and doesn’t get. Forced to move back home with parents Walter (Michael Keaton) and Carmella (Jane Lynch), grandmother Maureen (Carol Burnett), and weird little brother Hunter (Bobby Coleman), Ryden’s life goes from bad to worse as she can’t even land crappy jobs and is reduced to, first, working for her dad and then later trying life as a production assistant for her next door neighbor David (Rodrigo Santiago) who directs infomercials. True-blue pal Adam (Zach Gilford) is always there for Ryden even if she’s too obsessed with landing a perfect job and moving away from home to notice that he’s desperately in love with her.
If that plot synopsis seems overly familiar and bankrupt of originality, it’s because it is. Kelly Fremon may have based her screenplay on people, places, and activities she’s known, but that doesn’t make them unique enough to front a feature-length film comedy, and the viewer can basically tick off one-by-one the bad luck situations that Ryden will have to face before she lands her dream job and then finds it isn’t exactly what she expected. The beginning of the film, done up as Ryden’s live blog happening minutes before she sets off for her college graduation, is the film’s lone creative sequence getting a nice chunk of exposition out of the way rather charmingly. After that, however, it’s all downhill as story and direction take completely conventional paths to arriving at a conclusion we knew was going to happen long before the movie characters did.
And what a waste of a talented group of performers! Alexis Bledel has just enough peppery personality to make her performance an agreeable (if familiar) one. Zach Gilford can’t wring much of anything special out of the tattered sackcloth of his character’s construction. His performance of a song midway through the movie (illustrating his character’s desire for a music career) is near-painful, possibly suggesting that vocal dubbing might have been the way to go for that moment. Jane Lynch, the sensationally talented improvisational comedienne, has her comic chops straightjacketed in the emotionally sterile role of the "normal" mother. Michael Keaton pushes way too hard for fun eccentricity as the father who’s into everything. Carol Burnett gets off a couple of good deadpan lines, but once again the script lets her down. Catherine Reitman as the ignominiously entitled class valedictorian gives the role a spot-on portrayal of a very clichéd character.
The film’s 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio is delivered in a 1080p transfer using the AVC codec. Sharpness is usually better than average though there are moments when the focus has definitely been softened. Colors are usually accurate and solid though flesh tones often tend to the brownish side of things. The transfer is pristine with no dirt or marks, and black levels are nicely inky with good shadow detail. The film has been divided into 24 chapters.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix does not feature a lot of activity in the rears apart from the music score of Christophe Beck. More could have been done to enliven the surround soundfield especially since scenes throughout the film take place in busy offices, malls, on a movie set, and at the beach.
All of the bonus features (with the exception of the trailers) are presented in 480i.
There are ten deleted/alternate scenes which can be viewed individually or in one 13 ¾-minute grouping.
The song Zach Gilford sings in the movie, “One Day,” is performed by its writer Jack Savoretti. It lasts 3 ½ minutes.
“Real Life Advice with Alexis Bledel and Zach Gilford” finds the film’s two stars talking about their own post graduate experiences and their approaches to auditioning for jobs. The interview segment lasts 4 ¼ minutes.
“Know Your Strengths: Career Advice” is a 6-minute lecture by job advice counselor Marcus Buckingham who offers three things for graduates to consider before going in for an interview.
“How Not to Get a Job” gives viewers ten tips of things not to do when applying for work, all drawn from experiences in the movie (using clips from the film to illustrate). It runs 3 ½ minutes.
“A Guide to Moving Back Home” again summarizes some tips to remember for those graduates who have to move back home with their parents, all drawn from the movie. It runs for 3 minutes.
“Dress for Success” has the movie’s costume designer Alexandra Welker discussing the clothes she put her two stars in for the movie reflecting the moods and tones of those particular periods in their lives. This is 2 minutes long.
“Find Your Match: The Best Job for You” is an interactive game which suggests your perfect job after answering a series of multiple choice questions.
“What Not to Wear” is another interactive game in which the viewer answers a series of A-B questions about proper attire in the workplace and is then rated as to his level of professionalism.
“Post Grad Confidential” is the film’s EPK featurette, a 14-minute discussion with the film’s screenwriter, producers, and director about what they found so appealing in this project.
The second disc in the set is the digital copy of the film. Enclosed are directions for installation on Mac and PC devices.
The 1080p trailers offered on the disc include (500) Days of Summer, Jennifer’s Body, Amelia, Whip It!, Aliens in the Attic, Fame, and All About Steve. The trailer for Post Grad is not offered.
2.5/5 (not an average)
Post Grad is a rather leaden coming of age comedy, but don’t be fooled by the stellar cast of performers. The film is completely predictable and unremarkable and is a big disappointment despite the Blu-ray’s decent picture, sound, and extras.