Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Adventureland

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
6 out of 10
Extras Rating:
6 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

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Rating: R

Starring:
Jesse Eisenberg as James Brennan
Kristen Stewart as Em Lewin
Kristen Wiig as Paulette
Bill Hader as Bobby
Ryan Reynolds as Mike Connell
Margarita Levieva as Lisa P
Kelsey Ford as Arlene
Michael Zegen as Eric
Ryan McFarland as Brad
Jack Gilpin as Mr. Brennan
Wendie Malick as Mrs. Brennan
Matt Bush as Tommy Frigo
Todd Cioppa as Velvet Touch Manager
Stephen Mast as Rich
Martin Starr as Joel
Paige Howard as Sue O'Malley
Dan Bittner as Pete O'Malley
Barret Hackney as Munch
Kimisha Renee Davis as Kelly

Special Features:
Deleted Scenes
Just My Life: The Making of Adventureland
Feature Commentary - With Writer/Director Greg Mottola and Actor Jesse Eisenberg
Picture Music Selection

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.85:1)
Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound
French Language
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 107 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

"It's the summer of 1987, and James Brennan (Jesse Eisenberg), an uptight recent college grad, can't wait to embark on his dream tour of Europe. But when his parents (Wendie Malick and Jack Gilpin) announce they can no longer subsidize his trip, James has little choice but to take a lowly job at a local amusement park. Forget about German beer, world-famous museums and cute French girls -- James' summer will now be populated by belligerent dads, stuffed pandas, and screaming kids high on cotton candy. Lucky for James, what should have been his worst summer ever turns into quite an adventure as he discovers love in the most unlikely place with his captivating co-worker Em (Kristen Stewart), and learns to loosen up."

"Adventureland" is rated R for language, drug use and sexual references.

Mini-Review:
When I saw "Adventureland" being advertised as "from the director of Superbad," I was expecting this to be the laugh out loud, raunchy comedy that its predecessor was. While "Adventureland" does have funny and crude moments, it's a lot lighter than "Superbad." There's a bit more drama, a bit more romance, and a lot more teen/twenty-something angst.

"Adventureland" is most fun when it is within the amusement park. Much like "Caddyshack," we see a group of young men and women suffering through their jobs to get their meager pay. James is a literature graduate, yet he must work as a carnie to make his dream of going to graduate school in New York come true. He has to deal with rigged games, rude park guests, and the occasional threat from players. He suffers along with Martin Starr as Joel, a Russian major. Together these intellectuals go through humiliation while pining over the other women at the park. This leads to an interesting love triangle between James, Emily, and Lisa P or Mike Connell. They also must work for Kristen Wiig as Paulette and Bill Hader as Bobby. The two provide a lot of the comic relief for the story as they merrily run the park while screwing over the customers. Throw in the tacky 80's music and clothing and you have a lot of fun moments.

Unfortunately, the constant angst in the film drags things down. Kristen Stewart makes a lot of bad decisions as Em Lewin and she spends almost all the film beating herself down for them. You almost wonder why James is infatuated with her. Margarita Levieva is really pretty as Lisa P (she looks like Natalie Portman's sister or something!), but she's a self absorbed airhead. Ryan Reynolds is also a scumbag and a cheater as Mike Connell, so he's not a very fun character either. So there aren't all that many characters to identify with beyond James. Jesse Eisenberg is excellent as James Brennan and he carries the movie well. But his routine as the intellectual, socially awkward geek is very similar to that of Michael Cera. The two actors are easily interchangeable. You also have to wonder if he's be able to make any friends if he didn't have his secret stash of joints.

If you're a fan of "Superbad" or "Caddyshack," you'll probably be more receptive to "Adventureland" than many viewers. It's not as funny as those other movies, but they have similar themes. If you're looking for a light comedy, this will fit the bill.

The bonus features are pretty light on this DVD. There are three deleted scenes, a 'making of' featurette, and an audio commentary. The featurette is fun to watch because you see some additional deleted scenes within it, info on how they found a vintage amusement park to shoot in, and more. You also get to see Kristen Stewart without all the angst.

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