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Adventureland movie poster


Genre: Comedy
Rated: R
Directed by:
Greg Mottola
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Jesse Eisenberg, Ryan Reynolds, Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, Martin Starr, Matt Bush
Released by: Miramax Films

In Short: A funny, poignant coming-of-age film set in the bad-hair disco days of the summer of 1987.
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Life Lessons, Circa 1987
Laughter, Tears in an Amusing Slice of Life

With Adventureland, director Greg Mottola of Superbad fame has stepped up his game. This time out, he’s also the screenwriter, offering up a terrific personal memoir of his rocky summer after graduating from college in 1987.

Jesse Eisenberg is James Brennan, Mottola's alter ego, a skinny, awkward, still-virginal graduate whose summer plans to wander across Europe go up in smoke when his parental graduation gift of cash dries up. So instead of backpacking across the continent, James finds himself back home in Pittsburgh, spending the summer working a crappy job at Adventureland, the local amusement park.

Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg in Adventureland Ryan Reynolds in Adventureland

What James finds there are old friends and new, as well as romance, a bit of intrigue, and a plethora of comic situations that build to a very satisfying climax—literally. Mottola populates his coming-of-age story with plenty of memorable characters, including the pretty, angst-ridden girl (Kristen Stewart of Twilight fame), her handsome, already-married lover (Ryan Reynolds), and an assortment of freaks and geeks (highlighted by Martin Starr's terrific turn as a bespectacled nerd with a jaded view of mankind). Kudos go to Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig as the park's goofy owners, too, a pair of grown-ups that are oddly satisfying role models for the younger set.

Adventureland is a deftly-made film, with just the right combination of great '80s tunes and very funny moments juxtaposed with the all-too-real emotions and situations that this motley crew of theme park misfits experience as the summer goes by. It's Superbad with more depth, but with plenty of laughs, too; in other words, Adventureland is a movie that is definitely worth the trip to the multiplex.

Reviewed by Jenny Peters

PKR032709 (Updated: 04/03/09 KR)

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