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Lukas Haas & Madeline Zima Led ‘Crazy Eyes’ Movie Review

Lukas Haas & Madeline Zima Led ‘Crazy Eyes’ Movie Review

Lukas Haas & Madeline Zima Led ‘Crazy Eyes’ Movie Review

Adam Sherman’s 2012 “just another love story” Crazy Eyes is a classic example of how to blow money on a film. The Lukas Haas and Madeline Zima (Californication) led vehicle is about two twenty-somethings looking for love in all the wrong places. Haas’ Zack is a millionaire with a sick bachelor pad in the Hollywood Hills. His spare empty home hides the fact that he is continuously lonely and therefore seeks out companionship from his vast network of trollops a dial away on his cell phone.

crazy eyes pics

Potentially interesting leads go to waste in the dismal ‘Crazy Eyes.’

One such dame is Rebecca (Zima), who like most young adults, particularly in a city that can be as disconnected as L.A., can’t make up her mind about what she wants. Thus, Zack and Rebecca may be perfect for eachother, if we (or they) really cared to find out. Crazy Eyes, Rebecca’s nickname as well as the title of the film, is a series of alcohol-fueled attempts to get laid between Zack and Rebecca. Zack endlessly pursues her (for no discernable reason, other than possibly physically, though he has several others to fill that void) and continuously comes up short. The film is supposed to be fun, real or both, and while it serves a slight glimpse at dating in the modern era in a big city, the script and execution is such a mess it’s a head-scratcher at best.

Crazy Eyes cost a reported $10 million to make. It’s shot in LA and New York, but with the vast majority of scenes filmed in a bar and a house, it’s hard to envision where that money went. Alas, this film is a classic example of “the script, the script, the script” rule, where no amount of money or talent can overcome a bad screenplay. The film earned a whopping $6,106. Yes, you read that right, a massive $84 earned in its “2nd weekend,” consider it a blown cost and a frustrating example of things gone terribly wrong. How the producers and filmmakers could come to an agreement that this was a quality penned film is beyond me. For those wanting to waste 90 minutes and learn what not to do in a movie, feel free to feast your own crazy eyes on this one. Ugh.

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Master of Schlock Spielberg Ups The Ante, A ‘Lincoln’ Review

Master of Schlock Spielberg Ups The Ante, A ‘Lincoln’ Review

‘Lincoln’ Review: Director Steven Spielberg Mocks Audiences & Filmmaking With Biopic

Steven Spielberg has made hands down one of the years most boring films with his awards contender Lincoln. The film, which chronicles the passing of the 13th amendment to the constitution, where Lincoln and constituents freed the slaves, has about as much drama as paint drying. This is a shame, particularly considering the multitude of acting talent that is present for the film, including the sterling lead Daniel Day-Lewis. His Lincoln is unfortunately a reserved, understated gentle man whose convictions manifest themselves in one of thousands of diatribes throughout the picture.

Did I say diatribes? Yes, this film is almost entirely made up of scenes of Lincoln talking to those about the slavery issue with requisite arguing back and forth. Scenes go from the white house to the courtroom to the senate and house floor and on and on and on. No fewer than four different people were heard audibly snoring during the film for a reason. The film has a serious tone and one stamped by a continuous score that tells the audience how we should feel during each scene. A stirring speech about why there shouldn’t be slavery is given, set to the appropriate orchestral backdrop, repeat ad nauseum. Goodness.

Lincoln holds court with the powers that be in a riveting scene. #OrNot

Lincoln did an amazing thing by freeing the slaves. He did the right thing, the constitutional thing and the difficult thing, particularly given the times and opposition he faced. What the audience unfortunately faces in Spielberg’s picture is one that should have been made for the history channel, not on a large screen in a medium far underused for the purposes of this piece. Virtually no scope is to be found in Spielberg’s direction that made this worthy of being a big screen endeavor. The largeness of the ideas at play are ruined by the smallness of his film. It’s remarkable if not entirely predictable.

Spielberg has done this sort of thing before, with Amistad and Schindler’s List coming immediately to mind. The films don’t allow for the viewer to experience any feeling on their own as the themes and strings hammer home the point for you. Spielberg’s film should not be an Oscar contender in many instances (save for costume or set design and DDL’s performance) and the way he has made it, should not have been made for the silver screen. Viewers are left to shake their heads at this missed opportunity.

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Another Earth Movie Review

Another Earth Movie Review

Movie Review of 2011′s Indie Another Earth

When the discovery of a mirror Earth is found in the sky, MIT-bound student Rhoda (Brit Marling) is driving her car, only to look up into the sky for the discovered star. Her distraction from the road causes a fatal accident when her vehicle slams into another, which is carrying a family of (soon to be) four. Rhoda lands in prison for a 4-year stint and her life changes drastically. Another Earth is an ambitious film that takes chances in telling its tale of a possible mirror existence and the outcome of actions.

Upon release from jail, Rhoda is withdrawn and distant, preferring a flat air mattress on a hard floor in the attic to her old cushy bed and bedroom. She takes a janitorial job far beneath her intelligence level, simply to remain as isolated as possible. Ultimately, she becomes curious to meet the man (William Mapother) who survived the coma from her fatal crash and lost his wife, child and child to be in the accident. Their relationship begins slowly but goes to different areas of growth and consequences.

Another Earth Has A Big Story and Performance but Small Budget

First time director Mike Cahill, working with a limited budget (the film is notably grainy and was supposedly shot in 720p) keeps things moody. The film asks several questions about the mirror Earth and would we would do if we could meet ourselves. What type of questions would we ask? What would we say to ourselves? What about alternate universes? Another Earth blends sci-fi, drama, a redemption story, exploration and a love story into a jumbled mix. Cahill knows this all too well, which is why the film ultimately fails. Cahill knows that the film can’t be properly marketed and audiences “won’t get what they are expecting.”

Brit Marling in Another Earth

Brit Marling's Rhoda wonders if those birds are from Another Earth or Winged Migration extras.

The movie is held together by a strong performance from Marling, who seems central to nearly every scene and was also a co-writer of the project. Mapother, better known as the cousin of Tom Cruise, gives his character weight and the appropriate mood shifts, but he seems to be punching a bit over his pay scale here sadly. Maybe it’s the material, maybe it’s him and while it’s a tough acting role, it’s still a bit hard to tell.

Unfortunately, what Another Earth offers is a multitude of questions asked with little answers. Along the way, the story remains slow and mildly engaging, but not enough substance keeps the audience moving forward with the characters. Discoveries lead to more questions not answers and even though that is really the point, a book might do the material better justice than this film. The budget constraints probably don’t help matters, but the film has to be judged on its own merits and sadly, it doesn’t quite live up to anything transcendent. Despite having no expectations, it’s hard not to feel let down in the end.

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‘Ong-Bak 2: The Beginning’ Review


A few years ago, a new talent was unleashed upon the unsuspecting public in the form of Muay Thai martial arts sensation Tony Jaa. Jaa was the star of Thai film Ong-Bak, which after two years in release and a couple of celebrity endorsements, namely Quentin Tarantino and RZA, the film made its way onto U.S. shores and a new hero for all fans of martial arts films, replacing Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Jet Li, was born. Jaa carried a similar athletic reputation with him and the requisite “he does his own stunts” mantra, making him an instant person-of-interest in future action films. His Muay Thai style displayed in the film contained a ton of brutal elbows and thumping knees landed upon his opponents, eliciting a resounding “wow” factor from audiences. Though the film’s plot had much to be desired, the feats contained within made it a bit of a cult classic and now years later, Jaa has returned to the well that made him famous outside of Thailand, with Ong-Bak 2: The Beginning.

The first difference from the initial film is an obvious one as the story no longer takes place in a modern day cityscape, but the 15th century Thai jungle. Ong-Bak 2 is a prequel if ever there was one. The story focuses on Tien, a young boy born into nobility, but after the murder of his parents is stripped of his title and relegated to poverty. When in horseback transit to another village, with a bodyguard, Tien is ambushed by a rival tribe and the bodyguard sacrifices himself in hopes of Tien making a great escape.

The guard’s efforts don’t hold up for long, as Tien is picked up almost immediately by the gang of thieves. Tien’s first instinct, however, is not one of fear, but instead he enacts an insubordination and resistance to authority destined to get him killed. This is indeed the gang’s plan, as they force Tien to walk the plank into a muddy pit inhabited by a ferocious crocodile. Tien displays all the mighty heft and angst toward the crocodile as he does his captors and his rambunctiousness is rewarded and his life spared.

After his display of skill, Tien is taken to a martial arts training ground with tons of young students, like a Muay Thai Hogwarts. With a childhood consisting of learning an unwanted dance, Tien is able to quickly adapt to his new surroundings as his acquired skills transfer fittingly to his new teachings. Over a short period of time Tien earns rank in the training ground and is soon promoted to the number two man in charge. However, the breeding is solely for future thieves and murderers and in order to avenge his parents’ death, he must take down the very man who helped him get back on his feet.

The croc's breath is positively abhorrent.

The croc's breath is positively abhorrent.

Ordinarily, I’m the type to think it unfair to compare one film to another, especially when determining quality. I believe each film should be given a chance to stand on its own two and not be beholden to any film which came before it. This ideology has to go somewhat by the wayside when discussing sequels, though. It’s inevitable to compare it to parts of the same franchise as they’re supposed to be a continual telling of one story, just in multiple parts. Ong-Bak 2 pales in comparison to the original in many ways and should hardly be considered part of the same franchise, though Ong-Bak 3 is said to fill in the cap between the two. Therefore in George Lucas-ian logic, the chronology of the franchise will eventually be 2, 3 and then 1, forever dooming any child learning to count based on the Jaa-starring series.

As the film’s star, making his directorial debut (as co-director alongside mentor and writer Panna Rittikrai), Tony Jaa had a lot riding on this film. He seems to have taken his position so seriously he is said to have broken down during the middle of the shoot and retired to the jungle, undergoing a personal Hearts of Darkness in the process. He had good reason to be stressed. It’s impossible to blame the filmmakers on desiring to create an artier or more respectable film than the primary entry, but despite that film’s storyline shortcomings, it at least had the action to fall back on. Ong-Bak 2 possesses an even less engaging story, compared to its predecessor, but sadly has not even a handful of the athletic and artfully violent prowess.

The first 60 of the film’s 90-minute runtime will leave action fans sorely disappointed and disheartened. Though Ong-Bak was mainly an exercise in showcasing Jaa’s talent, it did so greatly. With dialogue sprinkled thinly across the film’s surface, Ong-Bak 2 appears to perhaps solely exist to bank off of the Ong-Bak name. Jaa displays little of what made him famous, aside from an overlong 10-minute period toward the film’s end, but done so in a straightforward and somehow disorienting manner, rendering the effect as lackluster. The film’s final pathos is largely devoid of dramatic heft, regardless of how you’re “supposed” to feel

To say I was disappointed by Ong-Bak 2: The Beginning would be understatement, though not a feeling entirely unanticipated. Jaa’s Ong-Bak fallow-up, The Protector, was a letdown from his first film, but at least was able to deliver on an impactful, visceral level. Ong-Bak 2 will leave you yearning for the new discovery once again and perhaps have you doubting Jaa will ever see another uptick in his career trajectory. We would rightfully have felt robbed if Jaa had chosen to let Ong-Bak stand by itself, but these poorer efforts only dilute the initial classic. Instead of spending your life with Ong-Bak 2, give the original one more spin and remember the promise that once was.


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‘Amelia’ Review


“You can vote? But you are woman?…In Kazakhstan, we say God, man, horse, dog, woman, then rat and then small [crustacean].” Those are Borat’s words when discovering a female head-of-household was allowed to vote, during a door-to-door meet-and-greet alongside congressional candidate, James Broadwater, in a segment for “Da Ali G Show.” Although humorous to think even his country hadn’t caught up with the times, there was an era in which even the United States ignored a woman’s right to vote. It wasn’t until 1920 when the 19th Amendment went into affect. That was right in the middle of when Amelia Earhart was in pursuit of becoming the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, thus breaking down another wall in the crusade for equal rights.

As far back as she could remember, Amelia Earhart always wanted to fly planes. She’d stare up at them from the ground, surrounded by hayfields as the iron giants flew up above. No fear was struck in her, unlike the classic scene from North By Northwest, but more of a serene loneliness. She liked being by herself and being her own person, not having to conform to somebody else’s sense of time and rules. This independency from others continued to dominate Amelia’s form of thought as she ascended through the piloting ranks.

After logging 500 solo hours in the pilot’s seat, Amelia was given a chance in 1928 to become the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, just one year after Charles Lindbergh’s historic flight. The catch was that all she needed to do to qualify for such a feat was to be flown by two men, while Amelia could only play the role of backseat flier. Though problems emerge with her male crew, Amelia is determined to make it across the ocean come hell or high water and practically wills the team into the record books. She remains unsatisfied with her “achievement,” however, and vows to be the first female in the pilot’s seat to reenact the feat.

Her “historic” flight was set up by publicist George Putnam, who is determined to create a celebrity persona around Amelia after her trip around the Atlantic, regardless of where she sat inside the plane. She’s featured in corporate print ads and speaks at sold out concert halls. Eventually, George becomes enamored with his female subject and asks for her hand in marriage. Amelia, being the independent woman she is wants to pull a Beyonce, but eventually caves. George continues to orchestrate Amelia’s quest for personal glory through the air, but their relationship faces turbulence while grounded, due to the presence of Gene Vidal (author, Gore’s father), who is the director of the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Air Commerce.

The only time Amelia is truly happy, by herself.

The only time Amelia is truly happy, by herself.

The funny thing about Amelia is it depicts its title character not as someone who is into pushing for women’s rights, but is much more of a selfish loner only out for number one. George and Gene warn of her image in the media as someone who indulges in literal flights of fancy for her personal gain. Newspapers report she shills herself for endorsements like a real-life Krusty the Clown, purely to lavish more attention on her accomplishments. Sure she encourages a young female flier and starts an organization of female pilots called The Ninety-Nines, but those scenes are glossed over with nary a hint of meaning. The film portrays its star exactly like the media contained within it pretends to condemn.

Rather than focusing on her accomplishments or her courage to push the boundaries and confinements of women’s suffrage, the film is far more concerned with Amelia’s romantic exploits. It seems like a huge misfire given the character and heroics she brings to the table, but it could at least be partially forgiven if her romantic transgressions were in the least bit interesting. The script by Ron Bass (Entrapment) and Anna Hamilton Phelan (Girl, Interrupted) wants you to feel for Amelia’s relationship with both George and Gene, but there’s so little spark from the disinterested Amelia, why should we bother to care when she doesn’t? Due to this oversight, director Mira Nair’s film is largely devoid of any drama, aside from the inevitable final scene of Amelia’s life.

From the outset, it would seem a biopic on the life of Amelia Earhart would be an actor’s dream about a strong, determined and successful Midwestern girl. I’m sure those were the traits that attracted the two-time Oscar-winning Hilary Swank. She brings her typical tour-de-force self to the character, complete with hick-like accent and a stubborn wonderment to it all. Sadly, the material handed to her almost assures her of not reaching the heights she achieved in her two previous statue-winning performances. Much the same can be said of both Richard Gere’s George and Ewan McGregor as Gene. They’re both competently solid, but have next to nothing to work with, especially McGregor, whose character is practically superfluous.

What could have been an important film for audiences, cast and crew alike was instead dumbed down to be both dull and boring. If the film was served as a history lesson of sorts, it could have been made tolerable, but instead was more of a filmic 1930s issue of “Us” magazine. The stars deserved better with the effort they put into it, but the material doesn’t justify the hard work.


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‘Pandorum’ Review

Christian Alvart’s Pandorum is an attempt to tap into the science-fiction realm of paranoid claustrophobia while still maintaining an accessible veneer of an aggressive sound mix along with the usual modern, new age horror tactics. The result is a preposterous amalgamation of a psychological sci-fi horror-action film which is so flaccid and loopy that you’ll be shocked it isn’t based on a video game. After all, Travis Milloy’s script displays all the necessary characteristics of an adaptation; equal parts uninspired and tediously dim-witted. It’s more “Dead Space” than Alien, without any of the formers ingenuity or instinctive feel for atmosphere and legitimate dread.

In the film’s opening prologue, we are informed through a time-lapse that Earth is becoming overpopulated and under-resourced to the point of extinction. It is the year 2174 when we are given a glimpse at the Elysium, a thoroughly extensive ship capable of carrying thousands of willing human beings – where to and what for? Well, surely our two protagonists will know, right?

Corporal Bower (Ben Foster) awakens from hypersleep aboard the Elysium.

Corporal Bower (Ben Foster) awakens from hypersleep aboard the Elysium.

Corporal Bower (Ben Foster) awakens from hypersleep to an apparently abandoned ship, his clothes almost molded to his body, which are discarded the way a snake would shed its skin. After grazing for signs of life and a quick, blade-free shave, Bower is treated to the company of a Lieutenant Payton (Dennis Quaid), who is awoken in similar fashion. The problem is that the two can’t remember anything besides their instinctive training – no memory of the mission, family, time, date, etc.

Conveniently, the one thing that the Corporal can remember is a psychological side effect of emerging from hypersleep in deep space called ‘pandorum’, which causes its victim to experience severe paranoia, anxiety and hallucinations. After discovering that the door to the bridge must be opened, Bower climbs through the vent system and with the voice guidance of Lt. Payton, finds more than he bargained for on the other side, along with a feisty temptress named Nadia (Antje Traue).

Along the way, Pandorum slowly reveals (as the characters regain lost memory) certain aspects of Bower’s pre-Elysium existence and the crisis facing all of mankind. As a result, the film is heavy on back story and light on interpretation. Sometimes I just wanted the film to shut up for a second, but when it isn’t bending over backwards trying to explain itself, it’s parading scene after scene of supposedly pulse-pounding action like a dagger to the sternum.

Dennis Quaid (as Lt. Peyton) just stumbled onto the set of another bad movie.

Dennis Quaid (as Lt. Peyton) just stumbled onto the set of another bad movie.

There is no sense of intended paranoia, anxiety or claustrophobia because the filmmaking is just inconsistent, unfocused and bumpy – shifting from psychological horror to Resident Evil action to descriptive end-of-the-world shenanigans. By the time a disheveled and dishonest cook named Leland (Eddie Rouse) shows up, Pandorum has crossed over into a full-blown mess all the way to its disappointing climax.

Ben Foster (Alpha Dog, 3:10 to Yuma) is an actor who always plays psychotic blood-boilers with short fuses and wide-eyed stares. Here, he’s not even given the confines of his own typecasting. He barely even registers a blip on the radar and not even obvious attempts at humanizing him through flashbacks can help matters. Dennis Quaid is still in an extended, almost Nicolas Cage-like slump of ineptitude. You almost have to go back to Todd Haynes’ Far From Heaven to find his last memorable performance.

But you’ll forgive the two lads for coming up with something so uninspiring given the material, which offers plenty of promise and no execution. Despite its best efforts to shake things up and deliver a bloodcurdling, moody piece of horror interlaced with psychosomatic undercurrents, Pandorum pulls off neither. Instead, it boils down to the equivalent of a second-rate survival-horror action game with one too many cut-scenes.


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‘Jennifer’s Body’ Review

This film, Jennifer’s Body has a lot of expectations riding on it. Especially for its writer, Diablo Cody, and star Megan Fox. For Cody, this film marks her first script since winning a Best Original Screenplay Oscar for 2007’s Juno. With Jennifer’s Body, she has to prove to everyone that she is not a one-hit wonder. Star Megan Fox is out to prove that she can carry a film, while also proving that her acting abilities extend beyond wearing tight clothes and talking to robots, as she did in the two Transformers films. Does either woman prove themselves worthy of their almost overnight success? For me, the answer would have to be no.

The plot for this high school-meets-horror film surrounds the title character Jennifer (Megan Fox) and her best friend Anita “Needy” Lesnicky (Amanda Seyfried). These two characters have been friends since they were young girls, even though they are polar opposites, Needy is the nerdy one and Jennifer is the hottest, most popular girl in the entire town. The reason behind their enduring friendship, we are told through Needy’s voice over, is “sandbox love never dies.”

The events of the film are put in motion when one night Jennifer decides to drag Needy away from her boyfriend, Chip (Johnny Simmons), and go to their town’s only bar, to see her favorite band, “Low Shoulder.”  As Jennifer tries to attract the attention of the band’s lead singer, Nikolai Wolf (Adam Brody), the bar catches on fire, and after Jennifer and Needy escape to the parking lot, the band convinces Jennifer to get in their van. Needy is left wandering what has happened to her BFF until Jennifer shows up hours later at Needy’s house, covered in blood. Jennifer says nothing and only vomits up an inky, black liquid before leaving.

Needy routinely got frustrated when Jennifer failed to make the bed.

Needy routinely got frustrated when Jennifer failed to make the bed.

The next day at school, Jennifer is seemingly fine and mentions nothing of the previous night’s events. Something however, is terribly wrong with her, as she was the victim of a botched satanic sacrifice by her favorite band (they mistook her for a virgin) and becomes possessed by a demon. This is a demon that requires human flesh to survive and soon the town’s teenage male population begins to disappear. It’s up to Needy to stop Jennifer before she consumes the entire male population of Devil’s Kettle, Minnesota.

The film’s dialogue is signature Diablo Cody, everyone speaks in a hyper-witty, sarcastic tone that anyone who saw Juno will know as soon as they hear it. The problem with Jennifer’s Body, unlike Juno, is that the dialogue that was fresh and fun then - sounds forced here.  It seems Cody is trying too hard to make the film funny and quirky, and it doesn’t work. The dialogue isn’t done any favors by Megan Fox who, while delivering some decent lines, doesn’t add any emotion behind her delivery. I think Fox, who has complained so much to the press about not being able to show her true talent, was proven wrong. I’m now certain we have already seen her range as an actress with the Transformers series.

Fire. It does a body good.

Fire. It does a body good.

It also didn’t help Fox look any more capable by putting her opposite Amanda Seyfried (Mamma Mia!). Seyfried proves that she is miles above Megan Fox in the acting department by putting in the film’s only genuine performance as the heroine of the movie. The rest of the cast is decent with J.K. Simmons’ comedic talents going to waste in such a small part. The only other notable performance besides Seyfried, is Adam Brody’s comedic cameo as the band’s lead singer.

The films biggest offense however, is its tone. It’s never clear what the film is trying to be. It has elements of horror, but is neither scary nor gory enough to be considered a horror film. It isn’t a comedy, as it doesn’t feature enough laughs to be in that genre. Lastly, it can’t be considered a teen sex comedy either, as contrary to what the film’s publicity and its premise would have you believe, the film features no nudity. The sexual elements are rather PG-13 (sorry, Fox fans).

In the end, the film’s muddled tone really brings the whole thing down. It can’t decide what it wants to be, and it fails for this reason. If “Body” falters at the box office – I’m sure Megan Fox will continue to get roles with her looks alone and Cody will continue to write scripts – I just hope next time she brings something new to offer and doesn’t try to replicate her Juno dialogue again.  Jennifer’s Body is not a true disaster, but it lacks any real soul.


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‘Post Grad’ Review

The opening scene of Post Grad gives us a unique spin on an intro to a film, Ryden Malby (Alexis Bledel of TV’s “Gilmore Girls” and Robert Rodriguez’s Sin City) is handling her social media mess with a video blog post that explains it is her graduation day from University and she is ready to embrace the next phase of her life. The screen is filled with email pop-ups with Ryden conducting the video, responding to messages, and it is actually pretty cleverly put together.  Too bad the rest of the film doesn’t live up to that level of creativity…at all.

The film descends into cliché at nearly every turn, wasting a nice performance from a long missed Michael Keaton (in Mr. Mom mode here) and squandering any opportunity it had at continuing the creative momentum with which the film was briefly moving.  Zach Gilford (TV’s “Friday Night Lights”) plays Ryden’s best friend, a singer/law student who has long had a crush on her, and the movie attempts to balance Ryden’s career ambitions with her love life the rest of the way.

David sees an opportunity in Ryden and takes his shot.

David sees an opportunity with Ryden and takes his shot.

We see Ryden move back in with her parents after trying to land a loft apartment, she struggles with finding work and deciding what is most important to her.  She will be taught life lessons along the way.  I mentioned cliché right?  What seemed like it might be a more ambitious piece of work, touching on adult themes of how challenging it can be to land a job, apropos in these difficult economic times, and how one needs to make risky choices on their own in order to stretch themselves, something Keaton as Ryden’s Dad encourages, there is no raising the bar. Instead we get a rather pointless and completely trivial boxcar race that is meant to be Ryden’s final awakening, showing her there is more to life than the pursuit of her dreams.

Jane Lynch (Role Models) J.K. Simmons (Juno) and Carol Burnett as Ryden’s grandmother, effectively interject whatever level of humor they can into their roles.  The best line in the film comes from neighbor and love interest David (Rodrigo Santoro), when he advises Ryden that, “only half of life’s importance is the act of doing something, the other half, the more important half, is who you do that something with.”  He meant that her career isn’t everything – to nobody’s surprise – she got the message.

Ryden attempts to land her dream job.

Ryden attempts to land her dream job.

Vicky Jenson, who has worked extensively in the animation field, with co-directing credits for both Shrek and Shark Tale, didn’t take advantage of those experiences for this live-action pic.  Apart from the aforementioned opening sequence, she doesn’t give us much of interest to look at, particularly struggling with her one “action” scene during the boxcar race.  She tried to rely on humor and the leads to carry the day.  But the script and lack of chemistry from the romantic leads failed her.  Similar to this year’s The Great Buck Howard, this glaring problem really hurts its prospects at being at least a decent movie.  Hopefully Jenson can learn from this misstep should she try her hand with real actors again.

My leg bounced impatiently often during the film, not a good sign. It is completely standard fare with nary a hint of originality.  It’s almost surprising that the same studio (Fox Searchlight) made (500) Days of Summer and this movie.  It’s too bad for Bledel, who is cute enough and actually holds the screen, but ultimately comes across as awkward in a few scenes due to stilted dialogue and a touch requiring more than she was able to overcome alone.  The movie is about taking chances in your post-graduate life, a lesson that might be easier said than done for many, but the package that the message is delivered in, is one that I would just assume have left in school so it can learn to become something more unique.  Post Grad needs a Doctorate in filmmaking before it can become what it intended to.


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