Thanks to my wonderful, amazing, and hooked-up Little Holly, I got to see a screening of the new movie Adventureland tonight! It was kind of like a Superbad/Nick and Nora’s Infinate Playlist movie… but a lot more realistic and drama-filled (while, of course, hilarious). And what could make such a great movie even better? Kristen Stewart of course. The main character, Jesse Eisenberg, is not really known – but he has the same awkward sense of humor as Michael Cera. The film also features Bill Hader and Kristen Wig from SNL. And to top off the cast – Ryan Reynolds was also in it. The movie takes place in an 80’s amusement park (random but so random it’s so funny) and focuses on “interesting” teenagers who are working at this rundown amusement park for the summer. Here’s the plot from IMDB.
For a Reagan-era pothead, James is a terribly serious, woefully earnest guy who offers up his SAT scores when applying for low-end summer positions. He also somehow has emerged from college still a virgin, but his saving grace as far as his Adventureland cohorts are concerned is that he’s always has some weed. This makes the days go by easier, and also fuels the night, which the gawky James surprises himself by chastely spending with the alluring but massively screwed up Em (Kristen Stewart), who works at the park only as a way or getting away from her father and unbearable new stepmother.
What James doesn’t know is that Em is having a clandestine affair with older local musician and handyman Mike Connell (Ryan Reynolds), to whom James sometimes confesses his amorous feelings for Em. Adding further to the equation is a flirty cupcake Lisa P. (Margarita Levieva), a known virgin-for-life who nonetheless encourages James’ attentions.
The set-up provides plenty of opportunity for crude humor, Mottola indulges with abundant involving puking, groin pinches, drunk and stoned behavior, and lax work habits. But his real interest is the navigation of dubious emotional and ethical straits by immature characters who make serious mistakes while trying to feel their way out of their unhappiness.
The filmmakers’ investment in James’ sudden loss of a safety net, Em’s justifiable distress at home, and brainy stoner Joel’s (Martin Starr) fury over a one-time date’s anti-Semitism is genuine as far as it goes, but little that happens here is particularly surprising, especially the occurrence of some virginity divestment at the end.
Rather off-putting at first with his furrowed-brow attitude, Eisenberg’s James becomes increasingly palatable as the summer progresses. Stewart impresses again with her steady, clear-eyed gaze and sense of self. Nice comic turns are put in by Starr as the Gogol-reading outcast and Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig as the goofball but dedicated park owners.
Definitely go see this movie! It’s soooo funny and also really heart-warming in a weird kind of way.