In comedy, there is a function known as a "straight man." Bud Abbott of Abbott and Costello and Oliver Hardy of Laurel and Hardy are the best-known examples of this. Their job is basically to be the springboard for the goofier member of the team, as well as other, more commonplace duties like reciting all the boring, plot-advancing dialogue. Alexis Bledel is such a "straight man," or for the purposes of this review, straight woman. On her TV show "Gilmore Girls," she was a superb, smart straight woman to her offbeat, wisecracking mom (Lauren Graham). And in her two hit Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants movies, she was the practical, rock solid springboard for her three more outrageous co-stars (America Ferrera, Blake Lively and Amber Tamblyn).
Being straight man or straight woman is a good and noble job, but unfortunately it's one that doesn't translate well to leading roles. Here is Bledel, making her bid as America's next romantic comedy sweetheart, and though she fares much better than Katherine Heigl in the abysmally stupid The Ugly Truth, her new movie Post Grad is a fizzle. Her big, dewy blue eyes look great on the big screen, she has a superb wardrobe and -- refreshingly -- she radiates intelligence, but she lacks the ability to initiate any comedy. (Her main skill is to receive comedy and send it flying back again.) When she's required to do one of those cute scenes, like driving an ice cream truck onto a basketball court, giving an apology speech to her would-be-boyfriend over the truck's loudspeaker, she can't really pull the stunt off. She looks small and misplaced in the scene, rather than funny. She'd be better off as the recipient of the apology, or perhaps driving the truck while someone goofier did the loudspeaker speech.