Alexis Bledel, Zach Gilford, Michael Keaton, Jane Lynch
Carmella: You’re keeping him overnight? But he’s not a criminal, he’s just a moron!
Ryden (Bledel), in addition to having an odd name, has always had a plan for her life: excel in high school and college, then get a great job in publishing or a similar field where she can put her love of literature to good use. Unfortunately, after graduation, her dream job goes to her biggest rival from school. As she unsuccessfully looks for work elsewhere, Ryden is forced to move back in with her parents and re-examine where her life is headed.
What we have here is a fairly cookie-cutter movie about that rough transition from school to the job world as well as from youth to adulthood. There’s nothing really new or original here, but it’s handled sincerely, for the most part, and there’s a lot of likable performances from some respectable actors. J.K. Simmons even pops up for a few scenes, is good as always, and then disappears for the remainder of the film. Michael Keaton is a bit over the top as Ryden’s father, but he’s still likable.
As far as Alexis Bledel…well, I’ll say this. I was a big fan of her’s on Gilmore Girls, and frankly I could watch her read the phone book and be rapt with attention as long as she kept glancing up with those blue eyes, but some of her line deliveries can sound like she’s about as enthused about them as she would be if she was, in fact, reading from the phone book. She can do sarcasm and aloofness well, but it’s almost as if she’s too reserved a person to truly show strong emotions. It doesn’t make her character any less likable, but it is a little distracting.
The real predictability of the movie comes in the form of the story line about Adam (Gilford), Ryden’s best friend in the whole world. He has proclaimed his love for Ryden, while she just sees him as her best friend. Will she end up realizing her true feelings for him, or will she instead choose to be with the older, handsome Brazilian guy who lives across the street? Honestly, I gotta say the Brazilian guy seems pretty nice, and he even helps her out when she’s looking for work. Meanwhile, Adam is needy, guilt-trips Ryden all the time, and even kicks her to the curb as a friend because she missed him singing his angsty, John Mayer wannabe songs at his first gig. But that’s okay, (*SPOILER ALERT*) apparently he’s still worth her abandoning her dream job for in the end! Sheesh. (*SPOILER ALERT – ALL CLEAR*)
I feel like I’m starting to ramble. Let’s get back on point. Is the movie worth seeing? Sort of. If you like Alexis Bledel, here she is, front and center. If you don’t…well…what’s wrong with you??
It’s not an overly funny movie, but it does have some good scenes and a few witty lines scattered about. Strangely, though, it kind of felt like a TV movie right from the beginning. Something about the look and the direction just screamed “made for television” to me. I guess the presence of Rory Gilmore didn’t help with that either…
There are things to like about this movie, and I’m sure most people can identify, to varying degrees, with our protagonist’s struggle. Yet, despite it being funny here and there, and generally pleasant, I can’t help but think the lack of risk-taking resulted in a fairly bland, unoriginal film. Near the end of the movie, Ryden’s dad gives her a speech about how planned out she’s always had her life and that doing something crazy and unpredictable might be the best decision she’s ever made. You know where I’m going with this…the movie should have followed its own advice.
I think the real lesson here is for the women out there…and the lesson clearly is: loving and supporting your man comes first, then you can worry about your own career and whatnot. (Hey, that’s not me talking, it’s the movie! Or maybe I’m just misinterpreting things…that’s always possible.)
10 – 2.3 for it being a bland, predictable story – 1.8 for some failed comic situations + .1 for = 6.0