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School's Out 

Post Grad chronicles the plight of the talented and unemployed

Ryden Malby (Alexis Bledel) is that girl you hated in college. An attractive straight-A student who participated in all the right extracurricular activities, she's the one who seems destined for success and is set on working at the city's biggest and best publishing house. But in Post Grad, a funny thing happens on the way to the dream job. She doesn't get the gig. Rival Jessica Bard (Catherine Reitman) is hired instead, sending Ryden into a tailspin.

Screenwriter Kelly Fremon, who was living on her parents' couch when she started writing the script, says the movie is based on her own experiences. It's not an autobiography, but it does capture how frustrating life after college can be, even for the brightest students.

"I went through job rejection after job rejection," says Fremon. "But I realized everyone I knew was going through this in some permutation. So I think that made me want to write it even more."

Complicating matters is the fact that Ryden leans heavily on her best friend Adam (Friday Night Lights' Zach Gilford). He's clearly in love with her, but she'd rather keep the relationship platonic and falls for the hunky guy-next-door (Rodrigo Santoro) instead.

While the film's not as quirky as, say, Juno, it does go for a similar vibe, particularly in scenes featuring Ryden's family. Her goofy dad (an unhinged Michael Keaton), madcap grandmother (Carol Burnett) and manic mom (Jane Lynch) are such oddball characters, they provide the movie with the comic relief it needs.

"We had such great chemistry," says Lynch. "The whole family really gelled from the beginning. You know you're with professionals when it clicks all of a sudden."

And for Lynch — who has The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Best in Show and A Mighty Wind on her résumé — the appealing thing about the movie is its genuine script.

"It's so well-realized and written," she says. "It's to the point that you feel like you're not always using all your muscles."

jniesel@clevescene.com

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