Sunday, April 5, 2009


After months of missing out on movies due to my impending (now completed) move, I finally got out and caught a flick today. I'd wanted to see Duplicity, but there weren't any good showtimes so I decided a comedy might fit the bill. It was between Adventureland and I Love You Man.

I should have gone with Paul Rudd.

Not that there was anything wrong with Adventureland, it's just that anyone expecting another raucous comedy from the director of Superbad, Greg Mottola, is bound to be disappointed. Adventureland has an aimless, meandering feeling--much like the situation of its protagonist James (Jesse Eisenberg).

After a family financial setback cancels his European summer vacation and puts his grad school future in jeopardy, James takes a menial job at a dumpy amusment park. Adventureland captures the cheesiness of the park atmosphere, but doesn't play it for laughs. The movie is more of a character study than teen comedy.

Although it was lacking in laughs, the cast did a fine job of communicating the emotional pathos of their characters. Eisenberg is fabulous as the earnest, awkward James, Kristen Stewart is luminous as the enigmatically wounded Em and perennial Apatow player Martin Starr as the intellectual Joel. Even Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig--who provide the movie's only comic relief as the owner/operators of Adventureland--were great.

There were the typical teen movie inclusions: barf scenes, crotch injuries, awkward erections and sex obssession, but Adventureland is more like Mottola's The Daytrippers than Superbad.

Even though I didn't get the guffaws I was hoping for, I was tickled to see Pittsburgh's Kennywood standing in as Adventureland. The production designers managed to make the venerable park look tacky and trashy--but the sight of the famed Racer roller coaster was a complete tip off for me.

Ah, Kennywood...Good times, good times.

Adventureland--not so much. It was a good movie, not a great movie. Maybe with a little McLovin it could have been great, but as it is I'd have to say it's a rental.


  1. I like Jesse Eisenberg but yeah, I saw the trailer twice and that was enough!

  2. You really should see I Love You Man. It's so funny. By far, my favorite Apatow movie.