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Adventureland (2009)

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8/10: Coming of age in Eighties...
Friday, April 3, 2009

Coming of age in Eighties Pittsburgh Greg Mottola, director of the mega-hit Apatow comedy 'Superbad,' has another, less hilarious but much more personal, go at the young American male zeitgeist in 'Adventureland,' which he both wrote and directed this time, and which focuses on a recent college graduate in Pittsburgh in the Reagon era. It's the summer of 1987 (a moment underlined with a rich, sometimes intentionally maddening song soundtrack). Young James Brennan (Jesse Eisenberg) has been accepted at the Columbia journalism school and looks forward to his first trip abroad with a friend. But Lady Luck messes with James. Due to an economic downturn, his dad's suffered a salary cut. His parents not only back out of paying for the Europe jaunt; they won't bankroll lodging in New York for him either. In desperation James looks for summer jobs, but finds that high SAT scores and an honors degree in comparative literature don't even...

4/10: A few laughs, mildly entertaining...
Sunday, April 26, 2009

A few laughs, mildly entertaining at best, poorly edited This movie was just OK--there's really nothing surprising whatsoever, other than how much it smacks of bad editing and/or careless errors. Spoilers from now on: Each character's story is glazed over quickly, then dragged out as it plays through the current time. No emotional attachment possible--and I'm the sort that tends to 'live' the movie when I watch it. Not this time. I expected the movie to center around the job experiences; instead, it is a tired, overdone "virgin falls in love with odd girl" story, and the park just happens to be where he meets her (and others he befriends). A few funny things happen there (at the park), nothing more. The movie seems to promote pot nearly as often as a Cheech & Chong flick--seriously, it adds NOTHING to this movie, very pointless. Worst part: the ending. Are we really supposed to believe...

6/10: Eisenberg and Stewart shine! Adventureland...
Sunday, October 27, 2013

Eisenberg and Stewart shine! Adventureland was a lot better film than I anticipated. The summary sounds incredibly boring, which it is. There is really no excitement or anything overly engaging about the film. However, Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, and the rest of the cast make for an interesting story. Their characters are really well developed and how all of them mesh together during a summer of non-fun in the 1980's is intriguing. Eisenberg and Stewart play the same exact roles they do in every single film I've ever seen them in. Eisenberg is a neurotic but witty guy with self-esteem issues and Stewart is a beautiful but troubled young woman with emotional issues. They definitely don't go outside the box for their roles but they have mastered their niche archetypes. All-in-all, this isn't the most entertaining movie around but it has a certain charm to it. The characters feel real, the music...

5/10: Just mediocre Adventureland is neither...
Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Just mediocre Adventureland is neither as good as the fanboys claim nor as bad as some of the semi-illiterate posters here say. It's just a mediocre coming-of-age movie, which unfortunately seems to think it's smarter than it really is. Just because you mention Melville and Horace does not mean you are an intellectual with something deep to say. It just means you took a couple of lit courses and remembered a couple of things. (Although, in the 21st century, that qualifies you as smarter than 75% of moviegoers.) Clich├ęs abound in Adventureland, from Em showing how wonderfully good-hearted she is by criticizing a girl who won't date a Jew, to every single adult in the movie being a fool, to the nerdy guy who hasn't had sex yet, to a romantic meeting in the rain.... Once again, the fact that this thing is hailed as a good movie shows just how lousy...

6/10: Satellites of Love (but mostly...
Monday, November 14, 2011

Satellites of Love (but mostly sex) The sexual dynamics between a group of young people in 1987 who work at a small town amusement park. Jesse Eisenberg is the indecisive high school graduate who ends up employed there, finding himself drawn to the pretty brunette teenager who runs the gaming booths. Well-cast film with a lightly-nostalgic bend, supported nicely by a barrage of pop-rock gems from the '80s on the soundtrack. It has a tendency to sneak up on you even if there aren't many surprises in the plot. The relationships between the desperately-casual kids and their uptight or turbulent parents is predictable (and formulaic), however the sequences at the park (particularly with Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig as the supervisors) are bracing and funny. Not a barn-burner by any means, and padded with silly asides and prurience, but with smart little nuances and a memorable scenario. **1/2 from ****

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