Despite its terrible advertising campaign, this is a genuine
David J. Brown | 04/10/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I got to see this film at a sneak preview. I got free tickets at an 80's club I frequent. I only had a mild interest in seeing this film when I saw the trailers. In other words, this one was going to be one to wait for on dvd. Free is free, and I went with a tribe of folks on a Wednesday night.
To my surprise, this was a really sweet, funny, well-acted, and truly great film. Yes, this is a film, not some flash-in-the-pan, cash in on the youth market, gross out comedy. Sure, it has elements of that too, but they're more subdued and the humor is less broad and more sublte. It's basically about characters you already know or have met in your life. It takes place in the 80's and it's basica plot involves the horror any 20-something would face during a recession, getting a really crappy summer job!
The real revelation I found with this film came in the form of Kristen Stewart. She's the real deal. I had seen her in Twilight recently and found everything anyone did in that film to be hollow. Here, she really shows her acting chops playing a confused youth afraid of the unknown. Jesse Eisenberg is the main character in the film, and I expected nothing but greatness from him, I previously saw him in the brilliant The Squid and the Whale. He is a very talented young actor who I expect to see a lot more from in the future.
The film has all the details of a youth summer job that sucks pegged. Everything from the one hot-chick that everyone wants, the low-rent customers, the over-zealous and possibly dellusional bosses, and on-job romance. It's all done with genuine emotion and situations. Nothing feels contrived or forced. Characters make mistaks and things go wrong, but there are no moments of the characters becoming overwrought and giving prefunctory speeches regarding the film's main themes. This is really well written.
I must warn all the video game obsessed, vapid, youth drones about what they're getting with this film. It has real characters, and a believable situation. It's a hang-out picture. You just spend time getting to know a particular group of characters who share the same crappy theme park summer job. There is no contrived plot devices, like switched or confused identities, no one is masquarading as one of the opposite sex, no plot devices to keep a false narrative going, and no gags just stuck in the film like an overlong action sequence to get yucks. Yes, the kids get wasted and high, but it has more to do with them coping with their boredom, and it also helps lead to their bonding.
The film manages to be honestly touching as well, something I really didn't expect from this piece. It was made by the same director of Super Bad, a really brilliant and funny youth comedy, but it is nothing like it. It's not as great, but its not going for the same thing. The humor comes from character and honest situations and not from over-blown comic situations just set up for the yucks.
If this film would've been advertised differently, I would've paid to see it."
Bittersweet coming-of-age in the 1980s -- one of 2009's best
Robert | 04/09/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Recommended for a great cast, unique setting & memorable characters, and a well-written script, this movie will particularly appeal to those who grew up during the 1980s. But "Adventureland" is still timeless enough to please a broader audience.
Mismarketed as a wild comedy follow-up to "Superbad", this small-scale mini-wonder is a perfect date film, but also a great ride through young adulthood.
The story is both poignant and comic, and the cast is uniformly excellent throughout. Special acting honors go to Kristen Stewart, whose understated and tender performance was exceptionally moving to me (although she may be obviously gay, her straight-girl role is believable, and although I'd never heard of her before, I will be exploring every other film she's in, simply on the basis of this role). I can't say enough about her performance here, and she's going to be a major actress in years to come.
Almost every note of the script rang true to me until the final ten minutes, which were a conventional happy Hollywood ending that probably wouldn't have happened in real-life. But I can't fault the coming-of-age story for needing such a denouement, even if it was largely wish-fulfillment. And so, for Greg Mottola's script & direction, and for Kristen Stewart, five stars. A keeper."
Magical - a more mature Mottola
barry | Boston, MA United States | 10/04/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"ADVENTURELAND is magical, a film of honesty, innocence and real life all centered around the coming of age of teen James played by the very impressive Jesse Eisenberg. Many viewers may at first be surprised by this film and find it slow and lacking in the expected hilarity. When the promotion work was done on this film it was a marketing travesty. This film is directed by Greg Mottola of SUPERBAD fame, a film which redefined the comedy genre. When one thinks of SUPERBAD it is associated with KNOCKED UP, PINEAPPLE EXPRESS and ROLE MODELS. These films were tender tales told with over the top, in your face hilarity. I adore these films and own them all. They are classics. But ADVENTURELAND was promoted as if it was in this genre and it totally is not. The tender story of James is the center and there is heartfelt drama and emotion wrapped around this unique blend of honest characters and low scored humor. The humor is underplayed and always there but not in an over the top way.
James has his life all planned out, just graduated from high school and finds out that his college fund no longer exists so he must get a summer job. The only work available is at the tacky amusement park ADVENTURELAND. The cast is amazing and the story is told intimately in the vein of a small indie film. James falls for Em, the ever talented Kristen Stuart. Ryan Reynolds effectivelty underplays his role of the park gigolo. Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader from SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE are hilarious as the owners of the park but for me most of the laughts come from the very underrated Wendie Malick who plays James mother.
This film is a gentle coming of age story with very real characters. It is not an over the top laughfest but instead a tender drama filled with charmed laughs. If you find this movie to not be what you expected don't give up on it and give it a second viewing. I guarantee it will grow on you. It grew on me so much I had to purchase it.
This film takes place in the mid 80s and is true to the time preriod. There is a classic soundtrack and everything else from scenery to props are right on point. The blu ray version has a very impressive 1080p high def transfer that show colors with immense clarity and treats darks with class. Audio is also superb. This film has a story to tell and with each viewing you will grow fonder and fonder of the characters and its humor and grace will become a huge part of the films charm. This is a coming of age tale that is a must see."
Michele A. Chapman | Seattle, WA USA | 04/03/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is different from your typical teen sex comedy movie such as superbad or american pie. The actors deliver a great preformance. It has its funny moments and its sweet moments and over is a really good movie that you wont want to miss!"
MORE SERIOUS THAN THE COMEDY IT WAS MARKETED AS!
! MR. KNOW IT ALL ;-b | TRI STATE AREA | 09/29/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I expected this film to be another silly teen comedy, but 'Adventureland' is a much more serious film than I expected. That's not to say it's without any laughs. The film has an excellent cast who can all handle comedy and drama well. I have only seen Eisenberg in a few films, but he shows he is an interesting actor. I liked this film very much and its charming run down amusement park setting with a cool 80's sound will certainly spark memories for those of us old enough to remember these times."