One of the most famous formulas is the one for Coca-Cola. Do you know one of the best things about that formula? It's a secret. Why, oh why, can't movie formulas be secret? You know what a good formula is? The one that creates the eleven herbs and spices of Kentucky Fried Chicken (fine, it's technically a recipe, a point's trying to be made here). It's not finger lickin' good for no reason, mind you. You know what a bad formula is? Ambitious girl with longtime platonic guy friend is too caught up with her own career and her hunky foreign neighbor -- with prerequisite mid-film montages of happy couple interlaced with scenes of the lonely platonic friend -- to realize THE ONE has been there all along. Ladies and Gentleman: Meet formula. This time going by the title, "Post Grad."

Ryden Malby (Alexis Bledel from Gilmore Girls) has a dream; to work for the best publishing company in Los Angeles. And why not? She's a college graduate! When that doesn't quite work out, she moves back home with her parents (Michael Keaton and Jane Lynch) and eccentric grandmother (Carol Burnett). Her friend since freshman year, Adam (Zach Gilford) -- who also plays in a band! (of course he plays in a band) -- is always there as her emotional rock, but you see, to her, they're just friends. It becomes apparent (never saw this coming) he has feelings for Ryden and is heartbroken when she momentarily falls for her next door French Italian Brazilian neighbor whose cat was run over by Walter (Keaton).

The production notes promise "A wry and honest look at life after college." Let's take a peak at this honest look, shall we? First, Ryden pays for a very expensive apartment in downtown Los Angeles before she even had her job. Strike that, she did this before she even had her interview. She just assumed -- like we all tend to do -- that she'll get the job. Sure, it's 2009 and there's a terrible recession but, hey, she's a Malby! -- an often used rallying cry used by the Malby family. Oh, forgot to mention, she applied to one company. One! Really, Ryden? You applied to one company, didn't get the job after a blow-off, 45 second interview (more on this in a bit), that a dozen other applicants that we know of interviewed for? And this is supposed to show "just how tough it is out there for the college graduate"? Oh, puh-leeze!

Image © Fox Searchlight

Derby races and belt buckles. Sorry for the non sequitur but half this film is a non sequitur. Things just happen with no apparent rhyme or reason. In the last act the family rallies for the big derby race Ryden's little brother is competing in. Huh? When was this discussed? All of a sudden the Malbys are at this derby and it's a big deal. OK? Also, Walter starts a side business selling gigantic belt buckles only to find out... you know what? Forget it, it doesn't matter.

Oh, yeah. That 45 second interview. When Jessica Bard (Catherine Reitman) -- class valedictorian and Ryden's arch enemy -- is fired from the publishing company, guess who gets a call for the job? Really? After a 45 second interview that went just terribly? What happened to that "wry and honest look at life after college"? Will she take the job, or will she finally realize she needs to be with Adam who's debating law school in New York City or a music career? If you truly want "a wry and honest look at life after college," go buy the DVD for "Kicking and Screaming" (not the Will Ferrell soccer movie, the Noah Baumbach directed mini-masterpiece.) Because watching "Post Grad" -- save for one scene involving Fred Armisen -- you're better off with a bucket of KFC and a Coke.

Grade D+

"Mike's Pulse" is a column written by transplanted Midwesterner and current New Yorker Mike Ryan. For any compliments or complaints -- preferably the former -- you may contact Mike directly at
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