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When James Brennan (Jesse Eisenberg) has to cancel his dream summer vacation and make some money for grad school, the only job he can get is at Adventureland, a tacky amusement park where the games are rigged and the rides make you hurl. But it's where he meets Em (Kristen Stewart) and his roller coaster ride to nowhere turns into the best summer ever. Filled with a carnival of colorful characters and set to a killer soundtrack, Adventureland is the kind of adventure we could all use more of!
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Adventureland is the rare film set in the 80's that gets it right. Instead of creating a film where the 80's jokes are forced and the 4th wall is broken for cheap laughs, the end result is a film that just happens to be set in the 80's rather than a film that forces you back into the decade of pastel kicking and screaming. Here you have a coming of age story that most of us can relate to, regardless of what decade we grew up in, that is a successful film on the whole. Everyone will recognize the Adventureland amusement park as standing in for the local version they grew up with, and many of the characters will remind the viewer of people they grew up with.
This is perhaps Kristen Stewart's best performance in a film to date. Here she shows that given the right materials and actors to work with, she is capable of pulling off a good performance. Stewart is no different from any other actor. Sometimes she is the victim of weak material (Twilight) or otherwise puts in a poor performance (Snow White and the Huntsman).
Ryan Reynolds does a good of playing the cool older friend, who has a bit of manipulation and deceit in him. A pre-Bridesmaids Kristen Wiig has a nice smaller role. Jesse Eisenberg basically plays himself.
Adventureland is a film that will evolve in the near future into cult status, if it is not already there. It may be a bit of a stretch to say that it is the 'Dazed and Confused' of the 2000's, but it is close. 'Games, Games, Games' tshirts are available on the web.
Minutes after you watch Adventureland you will be asking yourself 'Wasn't that guy the nerd from Freaks and Geeks?'
1987, Pennsylvania; James Brennan (Jesse Eisenberg) has just graduated college and is ready to embark on his long awaited European tour before going on to grad school in New York in the fall. Unfortunately James' father has been transferred into a much lower paying position which results in the summer trip being canceled and his ability to attend grad school is in question also. James hasn't reached the bottom yet however as he has to get a summer job and with his lack of experience the only thing currently available is a position as a game operator at the local amusement park Adventureland with his former best friend Frigo. The job is less than satisfactory but James does take interest in his co-worker Em (Kristen Stewart) so maybe the job won't be a complete waste of time...
Adventureland was a great movie but isn't going to be for everyone. Adventureland wasn't a basic Rom/Com as it didn't employ the typical over the top slapstick comedy and instead relied on a slightly smarter brand of humor combined with some crude humor.
The Good: Great performances from all the actors/actresses and the move was well cast. I thought Kristen Stewart's take on her character was great. The character is very flawed and Kristen nailed it. The same can be said for Jesse's portrayal of James. The time in which the story takes place was an interesting choice and worked well and also provided a great soundtrack. Loved the humor in this movie and that it didn't rely on trite slap stick or completely on crude humor.
The Bad: Nothing memorable.
Overall: If you are a fan of any of the actors / actresses or Rom Com in general than give Adventureland a try.