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Rated: R for language, drug use and sexual references
Release Date: 2009-04-03
Starring: Greg Mottola
Film Genre:
Country: USA
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Having directed “Superbad”, one of the biggest and most critically acclaimed comedies in recent memory, Greg Mottola chooses another teen-angst coming of age story as his follow up project. But don’t be fooled, “Adventureland” is a completely different type of movie.

Although both the quirkiness and awkwardness of our adolescence are obviously exploited here for comedic effect, the film comes across as deeply personal and honest.  That’s because it is the semi-autobiographical story of Mottola as an uptight, overeducated young man who’s forced to take a minimum wage job at the local amusement park when his family suffers an economic downturn in the middle of the Reagan 80s.

What James Brennan (Jesse Eisenberg) doesn’t anticipate when he gets the job however, is falling head over heels for the alluringly sharp-tongued arcade girl, Em Lewin (Kristen Stewart).  Of course, a number of things have to stand in their way – mainly, the park’s maintenance guy (Ryan Reynolds), who is also vying for her affection. 

At the center of it all, the film is nothing more than a love triangle but it’s the film’s uncomfortably accurate representation of this misfit world that sets it apart from other movies of its kind. 

Unfortunately, that sincerity is threatened by studio interference.  Just when you think you’re watching a film that has the license to present a realistic depiction of an adolescence full of the traumas and failures, you are reminded that Disney is behind the scenes making sure you leave the theater “feeling good”.  It is the disappointment that you’re likely to avoid if this were an independent film. Nevertheless, Adventureland is likely to please most viewers.


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