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Monday, April 27, 2009


Rated: R for language, drug use and sexual references
Runtime: 1 min 47 secs
Genre: Comedies
Review :
Adventureland has a lot going for it from the fantastic use of ’80s tunes, solid comedy and a well developed story.The only negative I can come up with is that it does have a few moments where it drags, but I appreciate the effort by writer/director Greg Mottola to tell a story as opposed to only offering enough plot to get the story to the next punchline. Adventureland is an R-rated comedy utilizing the same kind of jokes as Mottola’s last feature, Superbad, but it is far more accomplished in telling its story as Superbad had a three-act structure in which only two of the acts actually worked as part of a fluid storyline.

This time around Mottola has gone back in time to 1987 for a film that is sure to appeal to those born in the late ’70s (such as myself) and made their way growing up in the ’80s. If you recognize names such as Whitesnake, The Cure and Crowded House you already have a leg up on other viewers. Beyond that, if you have any idea of what I am talking about when I mention “Rock Me Amadeus” by Falco then you are in for a treat as Mottola has woven that song into the background of this film as a solid inside joke the audience is actually in on.

The film centers on James Brennan played by Jesse Eisenberg, a recent college grad who was expecting to spend his summer touring Europe with his college friends and then begin his life in New York City. Financial difficulties have thrown a wrench in his plans and he is going to have to spend his summer back home with his parents. The new plan: work at Adventureland, the local amusement park, earn a few extra dollars and forget the summer of 1987 ever happened with sights set on the Big Apple.
Run by an eccentric couple played by “Saturday Night Live” regulars Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig, Adventureland is exactly what you would expect as it is made up of high school dropouts, the carnie cutie, the misunderstood girl and the maintenance man with a back-story too unbelievable to be real. The set decorations, costumes and overall aesthetics of the film easily pass as for the ’80s. People never look out of place and you never get the feeling they are trying to recreate the ’80s as much as it is the ’80s. Each character seems comfortable in their own skin, and it all fits naturally into the storyline without any forced moments.
As is to be expected, James’ experience at Adventureland doesn’t exactly go according to plan as he begins to make friends with his co-workers and a romance begins to blossom between him and Em played by Kristen Stewart. The ups and downs of twenty-something relationships guide the story and occasional moments of confusion provide the plot twists. The charm in which Mottola has found and his ability to allow the music in the film help tell the story and set the scene is a fantastic bonus.
Eisenberg as James is the perfect awkward, yet too cool, character. He has a swagger about him, but he is quickly brought down to reality as he finds comfort in his new friends and is more-or-less distanced from his college mates. Stewart as Em is a bit of a different story.
Despite starring in several films over the past five years I have only seen Kristen Stewart in Into the Wild and Twilight until now. Her performance in Into the Wild was excellent and strangely enough her performance in Twilight closely mirrors who she is here, down to the way she nervously brushes her hair out of her eyes. In Twilight it didn’t work, but here it is a different story. The hesitant nature about her and the quiet way she goes about her business works for the story and the character. She is an actress that either has a lot of potential or has already reached her limit. I am still holding out my opinion, but what she does here certainly works for the film.
Overall this is a solid flick, but it’s going to be a tough sell for Miramax. Watching the trailers they have shown on television it is obvious they are having a hard time getting the message of the movie across as well as trying to appeal to the immature audience that will be intrigued merely by the sex jokes. This isn’t Knocked Up or Superbad even though it occasionally dwells in the same sense of humor. This is more of a John Hughes kind of flick that ratchets up the punch lines to the expectations of the Oughts. A fantastic use of music, solid casting and a unique approach to the coming of age story using the infrequently utilized twenty-something storyline made the film feel fresh and new, which is something I definitely appreciated.


SUPERBAD's Greg Mottola directs this comedy about a floundering college grad (Jesse Eisenberg) who decides to work at an amusement park when his post-graduation plans fall through. ADVENTURELAND's... SUPERBAD's Greg Mottola directs this comedy about a floundering college grad (Jesse Eisenberg) who decides to work at an amusement park when his post-graduation plans fall through. ADVENTURELAND's talented cast includes Kristen Stewart (INTO THE WILD), Ryan Reynolds (DEFINITELY, MAYBE), and KNOCKED UP cast members Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, and Martin Starr.

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Martin Starr, Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Margarita Levieva, Ryan Reynolds, Sue O'Malley, Jack Gilpin, Wendie Malick
Director: Greg Mottola
Screenwriter: Greg Mottola
Producer: Anne Carey, Ted Hope, Sidney Kimmel
Studio: Miramax Films



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