Adventureland Directed by: Greg Mottola Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Martin Starr, Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, Ryan Reynolds Running Time: 1 hr 45 mins Rating: R
Plot: The summer of 1987 is the scene for this coming-of-age story about James (Eisenberg) and his job at the amusement part Adventureland. The college graduate needs to earn some cash to get ready for grad school, but Em (Stewart) quickly becomes the focus of his attention.
Who’s It For? I already mentioned "coming-of-age" and I'm sure I'll do it a couple more times. That's the draw of this film. Not comedy.
Expectations: I liked everyone involved, but when I saw the previews and it looked just from that Reynolds was going to mail this one in.
Actors: Jesse Eisenberg as James Brennan: Is he attempting to take the Woody Allen trophy? Not in terms of writing or directing of course but it seems he's got the nervous, Allenesque mannerisms-in-the-making. James just doesn't have enough of anything going on here and he complains too much. It's lame. There's a fine line between endearing and annoying, and here Eisenberg is always on the edge. Score: 6
Kristen Stewart as Emily: But you can call her Em. Stewart is good at showing angst, just ask her bottom lip (she bites it to show emotion). I'm just ready for her to do something else. Since In the Land of Women and all the way to Twilight, I don't feel like I've seen range. Em has much more interesting emotions to deal with than James, but that just means we're left feeling disconnected, since she's not at the center of this story. Score: 5
Martin Starr as Joel: Just like Stewart, I am ready for Starr to branch out. Look, I know he's a classic looking nerd. I loved his character in "Freaks & Geeks." But do we really have to hear him say he understands he's an outcast in every role? Score: 5
Bill Hader & Kristen Wiig as Bobby & Paulette: Why contain these two comic juggernauts? What's the point? Hader has a moustache, and Wiig is reserved. That's it. That's their performance. Score: 4
Talking: There is mild amusement in the lines. Much like a roller coaster that only has one small dip in it. You're just left expecting more funny. Eisenberg delivers with "I read poetry for pleasure sometimes," but that's the only line worth remembering. Score: 5
Sights: I'm really glad they didn't pound into our collective heads all the quirky outfits and haircuts that ruled the '80s. The backdrop works but it's nothing magical. Couldn't the workers just taken over the park for a night to show it's fun on some level? Score: 5
Sounds: The soundtrack is the best part of this film. James loves and hates "Amadeus." "Dance Hall Days" blares and so does "Modern Love." It's the focus on Lou Reed that works the best though, and makes me think I'll consider buying the soundtrack, or just taking the best tracks. Score: 7
This movie just "is." You know, man? You watch it, you move on. After about a half hour I realized Adventureland was only capable of a 4 to 7 range on my scale and then you just sit back and watch. There isn't nearly as much comedy as you would expect based on the previews. And there's nothing wrong with that, except the created void isn't really filled with anything. James needs a job, and that puts him at Adventureland. An amusemnt park seems to be a great setting for a coming of age film, but teh roller coasters, blinking lights, and terrible food don't prove to be enough for me to feel like I'm back in 1987, having an unforgettable summer.
Final Score: 5/10