Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Post Grad

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual situations and brief strong language
Profanity:Some strong language
Nudity/Sex:Sexual references and non-explicit (but embarrassing) situations, references to birth control and STDs
Alcohol/Drugs:Drinking
Violence/Scariness:Tense family confrontations
Diversity Issues:None
Movie Release Date:August 21, 2009

There is not one single thing in this movie that you don’t see or guess from the trailer, but for some audiences that means that it will deliver just what they are looking for.

Alexis Bledel plays Ryden, who thinks the hard part is over because she is graduating from a good school with an excellent record and has lined up an interview for the job of her dreams at a publishing house. But she discovers that, as her father says, “the world doesn’t play by the rules.” Everything is messier and harder to control than she thought. She soon finds herself living back at home with her parents and going on an excruciating series of job interviews only to be subjected to an even more excruciating series of rejections. And to make it all worse, her rival at school (played with zesty mean-girl brio by Catherine Reitman) seems to have effortlessly taken over the life she thought she was supposed to have.

To add to the confusion, there is a handsome and devoted friend who wants to be more (“Friday Night Lights’” Zach Gilford), a handsome next door neighbor who is accomplished, sophisticated, and exotic (Rodrigo Santoro), and an assortment of quirky family problems from her assorted quirky family members.

The most creative part of the film may be the opening credits, as we watch Ryden’s vlog and she tells about her plans. After that, it’s pretty much by the book.

It’s nice to see Michael Keaton back on screen, and the always-watchable Jane Lynch makes the most of the underwritten role of Ryden’s mother. Carol Burnett lugs around an oxygen tank as the irascible grandmother, with her face oddly stretched and kind of spooky. At times the film’s disjointed, almost random moments help to make it feel less formulaic. Santiago and Reitman are more vivid and interesting than any of the main characters, throwing it all off-kilter. And then it takes a predictable, but retro turn that will leave audiences feeling unsatisfied and even cheated. The folks who made this movie need to go back to school and study a little harder.



  • Your Name

    Hi – this is me your over 60 yr old happily married (Over 40 yrs) guy (info just for a prospective). I think it is interesting that most of today’s movies seem to have the “good” guy more committed than the girl. This is another one where she didn’t appreciate what she had until it was gone. This trend seems to go way back (seems like the same trend in 16 Candles years ago). I always wonder how close to reality it is and do they young ladies see this. It might be a good thing to teach in high school instead of how to have sex. Nothing to do with the movie – just something I thought about ½ ways into it. It was interesting that many of the ladies in the movie got mad at the heroine when she missed the date.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Hello, thanks, and I welcome your perspective on this. Movies (and romantic novels) marketed to women tend to rely on this popular fantasy of being pursued by a man who is completely devoted and (almost) patient. Think of it as a modern-day equivalent to slaying the dragon to win the princess.
    As the conflicts in love stories are generally about overcoming the fear of intimacy, this is one way to address those issues in an near-metaphor. And I think we still have a cultural bias that the man should be the instigator of romance, asking for a date, proposing. But it is also quite often mutual (as in “The Proposal” with Sandra Bullock) or the other way in movies, as in the upcoming “All About Steve” with Sandra Bullock.
    As for missing the date — she really did treat her loyal swain poorly throughout the movie and it was appalling that she missed the date, even for the sexy neighbor. Don’t you think?

  • Tracy

    I just looked up the man who played the neighbor and his name is Rodrigo Santoro, not Santiago. I spent the whole film wondering if he was Karl from Love Actually and, alas, he was.
    Even though I’m sort of the target for this film, as a teenage girl, I’m disappointed I paid $7 for it. I felt the acting was clunky and the script too incoherent. It’s made out to be about Ryden’s job search, but the focus was too often shifted to her family. I only stuck around for the whole movie because I was curious to see if it became less formulaic, and it didn’t.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thank you, Tracy! I mistakenly typed the character name instead of the actor’s name. I appreciate the correction and as you may know the rule is 10 corrections and you get a copy of my book, so keep track! I knew he looked familiar, but did not think of “Love, Actually.” You have a good eye!
    I agree with you entirely — the movie managed to be both formulaic and incoherent, which when you think of it is quite a challenge! Sorry it was a disappointment.

  • Tracy

    I think I already have one correction from your review of Adam, so this makes two :) And even having seen Love Actually as many times as I have (it’s a favorite), it took me a while to recognize him!

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Excellent, Tracy! Keep the corrections coming. And I love “Love Actually,” too. What a cast!

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