Adventureland – Review

Definitely NOT the happiest place on earth.

adventureland
Image Courtesy of IMPawards.com

Director: Greg Mottola
Notable Cast:
Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Bill Hader, Ryan Reynolds, Kristen Wiig, Martin Starr

Adventureland at times tries to be a twenty something coming of age comedy. At other times it tries to be a lighthearted romantic drama. And that’s the problem with this film; it never really knows what it wants to be.

James (Eisenberg) has his future planned. Sure he’s just been dumped by his girlfriend of eleven days cause she found out he’s a virgin. He’s in a state of flux at the moment: a recent college graduate, his goal was to spend the summer traveling around Europe with his best friend before going to Columbia in the fall. When his father gets demoted and can’t afford it, James ends up getting a summer job at the theme park Adventureland instead.

From there the film follows a pretty formulaic story. James meets Emily (Stewart) and there’s an instant connection. What he doesn’t know is that she’s sleeping with Connell (Reynolds), who also happens to be married. He becomes good friends with Joel (Starr) and the “hot girl” Lisa P (Margarita Levieva) even starts flirting with him. But things won’t be that east for James as he tries to balance two women, lots of pot and alcohol, customers that want to beat him up and a friend that keeps punching him in a sensitive area cause he thinks it’s funny. They whole break up make up thing plays out and you can pretty much see the ending coming from a mile away.

The comedy in this film works sometimes, but there is more silence than laughter and most of that is mere chuckles. Bill Hader really ups the humor providing the biggest laughs in the film when he threatens an unruly park attendee with a baseball bat. However the film does have fantastic soundtrack with everything from Lou Reed and David Bowie to Falco and Simple Minds, which helps you get through many of the scenes.

Eisenberg and Stewart have really good chemistry between them and it is believable, but there relationship gets so serious towards the end of the film that you forget that you’re watching a comedy. Eisenberg gives a pretty good performance but mostly it just feels like he’s channeling Michael Cera with his awkwardness. Stewart gives a really good performance, yet sometimes feels like she playing Lindsay Weir from Freaks And Geeks evening wearing a military jacket in a couple scenes.

It’s a slow paced film that isn’t in a hurry to get you to the finish and parts of the film do drag. At an hour and forty-five minutes, fifteen of those could have easily been trimmed. The characters feel real which is nice and there are some really great moments from time to time but it switches back and forth from comedy to drama too often making the whole experience feel very disjointed. If you’re expecting a Superbad type film you’ll be sorely disappointed. Not that this film is trying anything to be like that but I think audiences have come to expect that kind of humor from their comedy, for better or for worse. It’s cute film and not a total waste of your time, but I’d wait for video, there really is no reason to shell out ten bucks to see this in the theater.

FINAL RATING (ON A SCALE OF 1-5 BUCKETS):

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