It must be a minor law of cinematic physics: If there are two annoyingly titled, Gen-X-marketed films about college roommates who decide against leaving after graduation, one will be a funny, sharply written, convincingly acted, unheralded gem, and the other won't be. Glory Daze is not the unheralded gem (that would be last year's Kicking And Screaming). Instead, it is a considerably weaker variation on the same themes, written and directed by the writer of Airheads and The Jerky Boys. Ben Affleck, the thinking person's Dan Cortese, leads an ensemble cast—which includes Alyssa Milano and French Stewart—through the travails of life following graduation. These include lovesickness, misplaced priorities, and, in one of the film's oddly conservative gestures, a lecherous gay professor. Glory Daze is not a good movie, but it does illustrate some of the frustrating clichés that the Gen Angst genre has accumulated in the nearly four years since Reality Bites appeared. The following should all be banned from movies: goateed heroes forced to decide between the corporate world and the pursuit of art; apartments decorated with kitsch; hip, alternative soundtracks that reflect the director's lovably offbeat sensibility; characters sporting T-shirts that reflect the director's lovably offbeat sensibility; references to Catcher In The Rye; references to existential philosophers; scenes of characters rehearsing speeches in front of mirrors; skateboards; punk bands as metaphors; belligerent late-night phone calls; cathartic scenes of sentimental property destruction; brooding; and goateed heroes driving off into the sunset, headed toward parts unknown. Flannel shirts will be allowed to remain, as long as they are once again accepted as practical, attractive garments, and not symbols of a subculture appropriated long ago.

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