From the director of Superbad comes Adventureland, a smart, witty comedy we can all relate to. When James Brennan (Jesse Eisenberg) has to cancel his dream summer vacation and make some money for grad school, the only job he can get is at Adventureland, a tacky amusement park where the games are rigged and the rides make you hurl. But it's where he meets Em (Kristen Stewart, Twilight), and his rollercoaster ride to nowhere turns into the best summer ever.
A sweet and slap-happy mix of indie coming-of-age drama and Judd Apatow’s scatological but heartfelt manchild comedies, Greg Mottola’s Adventureland is a winning look at the pleasures and frustrations of dead-end jobs and teenage kicks as viewed through a filter of mid-‘80s pop culture. The underutilized and always watchable Jesse Eisenberg (The Squid and the Whale) is a sheltered, introspective New York college grad who discovers that his parents’ financial woes will not only quash his dream of a summer in Europe (to enjoy its more “sexually permissive” nations) but require a move to Pittsburgh, where he lands a job at a dilapidated amusement park. There, he’s thrown in with a motley crew of eccentrics, small-town types and a few genuine free spirits, most notably co-worker Em (Kristen Stewart), whose complicated past proves irresistible to his repressed psyche. Mottola, who directed Superbad and episodes of the well-loved Freaks and Geeks, and who once worked in a similar park as a teen, doesn’t shy from the crude laughs that make Apatow’s features so popular, but he tempers it with a wistful tone and layered characters that hew closer to his earliest work, The Daytrippers. Though ill-matched at first, Eisenberg and Stewart make a likable on-screen couple, and they’re well-supported by a terrific cast that includes such die-hard scene-stealers as Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig as the park’s offbeat owners, Martin Starr as a Russian lit aficionado, and Ryan Reynolds as a former town tamer, now reduced to working as the park’s handyman. A soundtrack performed by underground faves Yo La Tengo and filled with a smart mix of hip cuts (Hüsker Dü, the New York Dolls, the Replacements) and period faves (Falco’s “Rock Me Amadeus”) underscores the film’s blend of tentative emotions and broad laughs. -- Paul Gaita
Beyond Adventureland on DVD
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Stills from Adventureland (Click for larger image)
Deleted Scenes - With optional audio commentary by writer and director Greg Mottola Audio Commentary - With writer/director Greg Mottola and actor Jesse Eisenberg Just My Life: The Making Of Adventureland – Director and writer Greg Mottola sits down to reveal how his real life experiences helped inspire his unique comic vision for Daytrippers, Superbad, Arrested Development and now Adventureland. Cast members Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Ryan Reynolds, Bill Hader, and Martin Starr also talk candidly about what shaped them into who they are today, including the worst job they ever had. Picture Music Selection Read more Show less