Published at: Aug. 21, 2009, 1:25 p.m. CST by headgeek
Hola all. Massawyrm here.
You know, when you’re a film critic and you have a summer like we’re having – especially such a great late summer – you know the bill is going to come due eventually. For me, the bill came in the form of POST GRAD, your typical late summer, tween to college-age “chick flick”. And when I say “typical” I mean to say that it is a lazy, frustratingly predictable, meandering mess of a movie that serves only to reinforce societal norms while constructing a female fantasy that rivals G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA in its complete and utter lack of a grasp on reality.
Oh yeah. I fucking hated it. I mean, I should have known from the trailer what I was in for, and really, I kind of did. But how bad it was going to be didn’t quite sink in until the theater started filling with packs of girls and I noticed that none of them were pretty. I wasn’t just at a girl movie. I was at an ugly girl comfort movie – one for them to go and see with their ugly, chubby friends. It was like a fucking STAR WARS retrospective screening, but without all the light sabers and goatees.
The premise is a simple and very realistic one that could have been the launching point for a great LOST IN TRANSLATION style journey of self discovery. Alexis Bledel is a girl who has known what she wanted to do since the 3rd Grade. She wants to be a book editor and discover the next great American novel. So she made a plan, worked hard all through high school getting great grades, got scholarships, got into a great school and fell just short of nabbing Valedictorian. She’s even managed to get her thesis advisor to put in a good word at the publishing house of her dreams. She’s set.
And then the unthinkable happens. She blows the interview. It’s not that she does anything wrong – she’s just…average. Of course she was an exceptional student with three big internships at other publishing houses. But so is everyone else that walks in through that editor’s door. This girl has nothing to distinguish her from any other candidate. No spark, no creativity. Just a nice resume and a rehearsed speech.
She doesn’t get the job. And her life spirals out of control. From this point on the movie just goes batshit insane throwing any and every needless plot point Bledel’s way that it can to eat up time until the last ten minutes when the movie finally gets around to doing what it really wants to do. Let’s ignore the fact that Bledel is possibly the whiniest actress to grace the screen in ages, her grating voice constantly bemoaning her terrible lot in life. I would have been fine with her becoming functionally unemployable the moment she stepped out of the public education system had it been the theme of the movie that she had spent so much time gaming the system that she never paid any attention to how things worked in the real world; but it isn’t – they just do it for comedy.
The really mind-numbing thing about this is the romantic thrust of the film. You see, Bledel has herself a gay best friend. He doesn’t know he’s gay. He thinks he’s in love with Bledel who only giggles and gives him the brush off every time he caresses her and tells her that he is madly in love with her. And you totally get why she does. He’s handsome, charming, a pre-law grad accepted into Columbia University and, if that don’t beat all, he’s also the lead singer of a band. I know, I know. Total pussy repellant. Honestly, who the fuck wants to date a good looking, funny, lead singer with a law degree to fall back on?
Let me ask you something guys? Have YOU ever known a lead singer that HASN’T fucked every chick in a five block radius of any point at which he is standing? Have you ever known a good looking law student that hasn’t TRIED to fuck every chick within a five block radius of wherever he is standing? I sure as fuck haven’t, and I’ve known plenty of both. But apparently when you put these two stereotypical serial rapists in the body of one down home guy, all he wants to do is stay comfy in the friend zone of some frigid, whiney college grad who hasn’t yet discovered her own vagina. Can I believe in a world where a guy like that can really exist? I sure can. It also has magic swords and robots that shoot fucking lasers out of their eyes.
It is fantasy, pure and simple, right down to the magical, almost dues-ex-machina-like phone call from the job that initially turned her down to ultimately offer it to her. YAY! I don’t mind fantasy and wish fulfillment. But I detest lazy fantasy and wish fulfillment. The film, if you haven’t figured it out yet, has an important, romantic, somewhat true but altogether unrealistic message that it isn’t what you do in life, it is who you do in life. Wait, no, that’s not it. Who you do it with; that’s what they said. What matters is who you do it with. So guess who Bledel wants to finally do it with? The guy that took off to NY two reels ago.
Oh crap! The perfect job that you’ve worked your whole life for or the perfect guy who you snubbed and refused to put out to for the last four years? Oh poo, such hard decisions! Cue the whining and a fatherly lecture on doing the right thing! Sigh. At this point I didn’t even care that she made the entirely unrealistic choice – after all, POST GRAD is a film marred by terrible choices – but by this stage in the game I was pining once again for the cold taste of steel in my mouth from a .38 revolver to end my suffering. I don’t walk out of films. Ever. But this one tested me. It tested me hard. And every time I dreamed of the sweet, tender embrace of the lobby, I just kept reminding myself that it wasn’t worth it. Of all the films to beat me, I wasn’t going to let it be POST GRAD. Fuck that.
It didn’t beat me. But it did hurt me. It hurt me real good.
Until next time friends, smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em.