MPAA: R for language, drug use, and sexual references
Director: Greg Mottola
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Ryan Reynolds
Synopsis: A recent college graduate decides to work at an amusement park, called Adventureland, to save up money for graduate school. Along the way, he experiences growing up in ways he never would have expected.
Review: Adventureland is currently available to view instantly on Netflix, and is a sweet coming of age tale starring Jesse Eisenberg, who relishes in the role of the sweet, innocent young man. You can make a case that this type of role is all Eisenberg would do before he proved doubters wrong the next year with his big break as Mark Zuckerberg in the film Social Network. At this point in his career, Eisenberg was very much like Michael Cera, who would always play the same role, however he was very good at it. I can really relate to Eisenberg’s character in this movie, along many other guys like me. Not only is he very nice and kind of shy, but he is a recent graduate of college and is still trying to figure out what he wants to do with the rest of his life. And in this movie, he experiences a lot of growing up in ways that never treated him in college.
As mentioned before, Eisenberg shines in this type of role, and does a great job as the lead man. Kristen Stewart also does a great job in this movie. Her role is much more complex and dark, as she plays a young woman, about the same age, whose mother recently died, and is currently committing adultery with a married man. It’s crazy to think this was around the same time she began playing Bella in the Twilight series. The two characters instantly start to like each other, for different reasons, and a romance blossoms throughout the movie. I thought the chemistry with these two actors was very good. They both pulled it off, and I could see both of them dating in real life. They made a realistic couple. This movie also has some great supporting actors like Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, and Martin Starr. I thought Bill Hader provided the biggest laughs, and the chemistry between his character and Wiig was top-notch. Which is nothing new, because they were so great on Saturday Night Live. Martin Starr’s character really reminded me of his character on Freaks and Geeks, so for those who love the show as much as me, it’s nice to seem him in a similar-type role once again.
Adventureland is directed by the same guy who brought us Superbad, which is one of my all time favorite comedies. However, I was very disappointed with the directing in this film. This could have been directed much better, and was sub-par at best. I also had some problems with the script, as there were certain sup-plot points that were handled poorly, including Eisenberg’s father in the film. Ryan Reynolds, who will eventually go on to do great things, was not very good in this movie. His character was not likable, and I felt like he didn’t do a great job making us sympathize or like his character regardless. He also mumbled a lot in this film, so it was hard to understand him at times. This is a role, I thought he could have done a much better job with. Also the character, Frigo, in this film was very obnoxious and not funny to me. They could have cut him out from this movie, but it wasn’t something I was overly concerned about.
Overall, Adventureland, is an average indie rom com with some great lead performances. It has its moments where it shines, but also has some noticeable flaws. This movie lacks in originality and is driven by the romantic and coming of age clichés that you probably have seen a lot in other films or shows. However, it is not necessarily a bad film and is worth watching if you have a good hour and a half to spare and want to watch something on Netflix. The music is very good, and fits in with the time period of the film. This movie focuses a lot with the things that all young people have to deal with as they grow up and has a good setting with the amusement park, that offers some great comedic scenes as well as some more serious ones as well.
My grade for this movie is: