MPAA Rated – R
It’s 1:46 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Ryan Reynolds
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Miramax
Kiddie Movie: Please leave them at home unless you want them to work at the summertime carnival.
Date Movie: If she wanted an artsy “Superbad.”
Gratuitous Sex: Some people get it on but no boobies.
Gratuitous Violence: Some penis punching.
Action: Not really.
Laughs: In an adult, artsy kind of way.
Memorable Scene: Frigo in the window.
Memorable Quote: Nothing totally stood out.
Directed By: Gret Mottola
Produced By: Ted Hope, Anne Carey, Sidney Kimmel

I understand why they did it, hell, if I were the movie studio I probably would have done it, too, what with “Adventureland” being directed by the same dude, Greg Mottola, who also directed the riotous “Superbad,” but if you are going to see “Adventureland” expecting the same kind of movie as “Superbad,” as the trailers suggest, you will probably be kind of pissed because even though there is drug use, even though there is drinking, even though there are some funny moments, “Adventureland” is a different breed of comedy movie, bordering on drama, so if you are looking for moment where a McLovin gets to shoot a gun, it won’t be happening, but there is a lot of punching to the balls.

Here’s the story basics…

James (Jesse Eisenberg) is planning out his life – looking to spend a summer in Europe after graduating college, getting ready for grad school, and looking for a life of probably potential snootery as a journalist.  Sadly things quickly change when his dad, played by Jack Gilpin, gets demoted and transplanted to Pittsburgh, and now James, who has to earn some money for grad school since his parents can’t afford it anymore, must find a summer job.  Sadly no one is looking for a Renaissance studies’ major, so low and behold he ends up working the Games area of Adventureland.  But even with artsy aspirations as a journalist, in a weird way as a carnie worker James seems to fit in with a lot of the other wayward souls, stoners, and seeming lowlife who aren’t really lowlifes at all.  And with this mix comes Em, (Kristen Stewart), a cute, dark-haired girl who is also kind of lost in her life, and wouldn’t you know it, James and Em hit it off.  So, for a little over an hour and a half, we see how their lives intertwine during a summer, how their own insecurities become broken as they begin to fall in love, how the temptation of the hottie, Lisa P (Margerita Levieva), and the studliness of the carnie mechanic, Connell (Ryan Reynolds – who is really coming into his own as an actor, way past his goofball reputation as Van Wilder), who professes to have played guitar with Lou Reed, come into play, and somehow, over a summer, there is a lot of growing up to do.

Sure, there are other characters around, with the spotlight being kind of on Bobby (Bill Hader) and Paulette (Kristen Wiig), the owners of Adventureland, and who can forget the scene with, I hope his name is Frigo (Matt Bush), in the window at Em’s house, but really this movie is a spotlight for two people, James and Em, and how in the end, through it all, they both need each other.

So, for you “Superbad” fans, please don’t go into “Adventureland” expecting the same kind of movie, and for those of you afraid of seeing the movie because you don’t want another raunchy comedy, let me say that this movie is a little more realistic about coming-of-age, probably a little more relatable to those who hit late high school and college in the late 80’s, and this is really a thinking person’s comedy, a little on the artsy side, so don’t be afraid to see it.  The only issue I had with the movie is that for most of the movie I couldn’t get past the vocal affectations of Jesse Eisenberg as James, because it seems his role was written totally for either Michael Cera in the character he played in “Juno,” or Jesse has been studying too many of Kristen Wiig’s characters from Saturday Night Live because his pauses and manner of speaking sounded too much like her, and not like his own character.  I know, I’m probably over-analyzing that too much, but as the movie went on, I just kept thinking James should be more like James and not Paulie Bleeker.

In the end I did like “Adventureland,” even thinking it is a solid 4 stars out of 5, but I do want to warn you not to expect “Superbad,” because this film ain’t it.  Expect a lot more dialogue, subtle jokes, and a little more realism that in a weird way you might be able to relate to.

And, oh yea, and I don’t know why I obsessed on this so much while watching the movie, but I forgot how tall Ryan Reynolds is because compared to Jesse Eisendberg and Kristen Stewart, he looked like a giant next to them.  Just me and my observation, because I’m weird.

That’s it for this one!  I’m The Dude on the Right!!  L8R!!!