D/W: Greg Mottola. DP: Terry Stacey. Starring: Kristen Stewart/Jesse Eisenberg/Matin Starr/Billy Hader/Kristen Wiig/Ryan Reynolds.
Yes. Finally some clever fluff. A quirky summer set film, Adventureland‘s positioned in the right year (1987 to be exact) when the soundtrack was rad, the clothes whack and shit jobs weren’t a reflection of a national economic recession. Eisenberg serves up a likable James whose family circumstances change so that his post-grad Europe adventure must be traded in for endless shifts at the crappy local theme-park, Adventureland. At the park he joins the usual misfits, girls who are so pretty they’re aloof and boys so dysfunctionally introverted they’re almost endearing. At least Stewart’s Em proves that girls with personality can at least be entertaining, but there isn’t any real stretch for her here. But mostly Hader and Wiig try to steal the entertainment spotlight as the park’s hapless manager couple whose awesomely bad attempts at legitimacy make you wonder if you should ever spend money at a theme park.
Especially a theme park that claims to employ college age kids rather than high school ones. It’s a tough call on this one as naivete and awkwardness happen at any age, but this is a film where I actually felt the aging was off and more believable if the kids were set a peg younger. Most often far too old actors unfortunately play down their age, but here it seems the opposite. This detail and others don’t ruin a sometimes slow script, but likable film that Eisenberg is able to get us through.
And despite the change in his summer plans, Eisenberg’s park experience reveals the true journey he must take as he begins to find gumption (or balls so to speak) and get over his post-grad liberal arts state of being. Because the real issue here is embracing our moments on the lower end of the food chain and not letting the “top” (or Ryan Reynolds in this case) jerk us around. That being said, I would like to see a film where that journey isn’t consistantly paralled to ‘a sexual awakening or maturing’ storyline. Sex is not the only signifier of the next level or phase of life. Let’s through something fresh into that mix. Am I right?