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Adventureland (2009) R 107min

April 6th, 2009 by Maxim · No Comments · 9,564 Views


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“Adventureland” is a comedy from the writer-director Greg Mottola (”Superbad”). Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Martin Starr, Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig.

The plot: Set in a Reagan era, this movie about a misfit college graduate James Brennan (Jesse Eisenberg of “The Squid and the Whale”) is forced to take any summer job to earn some money for an Ivy-league school when his alcoholic father is demoted to a less-paying job. Nobody would hire him for a low-paying job, even though he naively offers his SAT scores when applying. He ends up taking a job as a game operator at  Pittsburgh’s Adventureland in the summer of ‘87. Since he always seems to have some weed on him, making friends wasn’t hard. Also working at the park, there’s this alluring girl Em (Kristen Stewart – “Twilight”). She only works there to get away from her father and unbearable step-mom. She’s a complete wreck, and has a secret affair with a local [married] musician and park’s repairman Mike Connell (Ryan Reynolds), to whom James confesses his enormous feelings for Em. But there’s a lot of temptation around, such as park’s dancer Lisa P. (Margarita Levieva), who also demands James’s attention.

The good: A believable story. Not surprisingly, since its based on Greg Motolla’s own experience working at Long Island amusement. Great characters. Good directing and acting. Many funny scenes, where the audience can find humor in the most dramatic situations. The scene where James and Em are in the car and he’s looking at her with puppy-love eyes is really funny because many people will recognize themselves in him when they were in love for the first time in their late teens-early twenties – a chance to laugh at themselves. James’s friend Eric is also a funny character – his a bit gitty but it’s impossible to be angry at him. In the end of the movie he gets his best moment when he is fooling around for the last time before he grows up – scene shot with a sunset in the background. Well-reproduced atmosphere of the 80s, with Foreigner tribute band in the bar, Disco in the club and Reagan on TV.

The bad: This movie was marketed as a teen comedy, but it’s not a comedy at all. It’s more of a drama with some funny moments. It’s got some elements of comedy, such as barf  jokes and urination jokes, and it’s got two comic-relief characters – the owners and operators of the Adventureland – “Saturday Night Live”’s Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader. But compared to the rest of the movie they seem out of place. They act like they are in a comedy and everybody else acts like normal dramatic actors.

The summary: This movie is not a comedy – it’s a dramatic story of a young man spending summer in the bad job and who meats different people – good and bad. Some good jokes here and there. Good movie overall. See it (unless you are on a first date – it may get awkward).

Worth noting that Jesse Eisenberg who played James looks almost exactly like Michael Cera in Superbad – only with different hair.

The cast: James Brennan - Jesse Eisenberg | Em Lewin - Kristen Stewart | Lisa P – Margarita Levieva | Arlene – Kelsey Ford | Eric – Michael Zegen | Brad – Ryan McFarland | Mr. Brennan – Jack Gilpin | Mrs. Brennan – Wendie Malick | Paulette – Kristen Wiig | Bobby – Bill Hader | Joel – Martin Starr | Mr. Lewin – Josh Pais | Mike Connell – Ryan Reynolds

The crew: Director – Greg Mottola | Writer – Greg Mottola | Producers – Declan Baldwin, Anne Carey, Ted Hope, William Horberg, Sidney Kimmel, Bruce Toll | Cinematography – Terry Stacey | Editing – Anne McCabe | Sidney Kimmel Entertainment | This Is That Productions | Miramax Films

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Rated 4/5 on Apr 6 2009
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Tags: Comedy · Drama · Movies · USA

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