Post Grad

August 21, 2009 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Alexis Bledel, Zach Gilford, Michael Keaton
Directed by: Vicky Jenson (“Shark Tale”)
Written by: Kelly Fremon (debut)

It’s no secret college graduates nationwide are having one heck of a time landing a dream job. Even with a fresh degree and a go-getter attitude, finding a career in today’s market is like finding a script in Hollywood without the words “remake,” “reboot,” or “sequel” attached to it. Once you’ve found one, hold onto it tight because chances are another might not come along for a while.

That’s what makes a film like “Post Grad” such a disappointment. Somewhere inside the pages of the predictable and fruitless script, there’s a real story about what it must be like for a young woman to graduate from college jobless, helpless, and hopeless. It’s unfortunate that director Vicky Jenson (“Shark Tale”) and first-time screenwriter Kelly Fremon couldn’t find it amid the clichés and stale characters that mute the entire point of the narrative.

In “Post Grad,” recent college graduate Ryden Malby (Alexis Bledel) thinks she has it all figured out. Actually, she’s had it all figured out for a while. Even as a little girl, her life plan is something she always intended to follow. With high school and college behind her, the next step is to secure a position at one of L.A.’s most respected publishing houses.

When things don’t go quite as she wants, Ryden hesitantly moves back in to live with her parents Walter and Carmella (Michael Keaton and Jane Lynch), little brother Hunter (Bobby Coleman), and Grandma Maureen (Carol Burnett, who is completely wasted as the coffin-shopping granny) until she can find a job and move out on her own.

There to comfort Ryden during her pity party at home is best friend Adam (Zach Gilford), who wishes he could be more than a shoulder to cry on, and the hunky Brazilian neighbor David (Rodrigo Santoro), who is basically written into the script to give Adam someone to envy and to spout off motivational nonsense as Ryden tries to understand her place in the big scary world.

While Ryden starts off as a respectable character and one that might have actually been able to break all romantic comedy stereotypes, Fremon slowly but surely presses her back into that exact mold. Who could have guessed that someone as well-educated, independent, and charming as Ryden would morph into the one person a girl like her probably despised back when she had a brain in college?

Sadly, Jenson and Fremon don’t respond to her sudden change in principles. It’s all go-with-the-flow from there as “Post Grad” goes from slightly empowering to shamefully unrealistic. Like everything else these days, it would probably be best if Jenson and Fremon blamed this one on the economy.

Horton Hears a Who

March 5, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: (voices of) Jim Carrey, Steve Carell, Carol Burnett
Directed by: Jimmy Hayward (debut) and Steve Martino (debut)
Written by: Ken Daurio (“The Santa Clause 2”) and Cinco Paul (“Bubble Boy”)

When it comes to tapping into a child’s imagination, no one does it better – and with more creativity – than the late Dr. Seuss. Know for classics like “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” and “The Cat in the Hat,” both of which disappointingly did not translate well to the big screen, Dr. Seuss’ books are bound to be adapted for years to come. (Not sure how you would write a screenplay for One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, but weirder things have happened in Hollywood).

So is the case for the 1954 Seuss story “Horton Hears a Who!” In the new CGI-animated film, Horton (Carrey), an elephant who lives in the jungle of Nool, is excited when he discovers that an entire world known as Whoville exists on a speck that is floating through the air. Worried that something will happen to the inhabitants of the speck, known as the Whos, Horton catches the tiny particle and places it on a clover (some type of Seuss- conceived flower) until he can figure out how to help his hidden friends.

One of the residents of Whoville is the Mayor (Carell), who realizes that his town is a lot more microscopic than he could have ever imagined. Although the Mayor cannot see Horton (they’re just too small to see something that big), he can hear him from time to time. Plus, with bizarre things happening in Whoville like spontaneous sunsets (Horton going into the shade) and tremors (Horton falling to the ground), the Mayor knows there is more to his existence that his (literally) small town.

Amusing for much of its runtime (like Stitch from “Lilo and Stitch,” the little Seussian character named Katie steals the show), “Horton Hears a Who!” offers up great voice work by Carrey, Carell, and others and keeps the pop culture references at a acceptable level. Kids might not get the “Apocalypse Now” allusion (although they might get the MySpace one, which is scary), but at least there are a few gems parents can look forward to as their little ones oo and aah over the colorful characters and fresh approach to all things wacky.