Monday, October 19, 2009

Adventureland - Mini-Film Review

I finally rented Adventureland last week.  We couldn't get tickets for its premiere at Sundance last January, and somehow missed it this summer.  Greg Mottola, the writer/director, is the same one who made Superbad.  The trailer made it seems like it is a similar madcap raunchy comedy.  It's actually a much sweeter film than you would expect.

Jesse Eisenberg plays James, a recent college graduate with an English degree.  He's not qualified for many jobs, and with his family's changed financial circumstances he has to find a summer job.  The only thing left is working at the local amusement park Adventureland.  Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig play the hilarious owners.  Ryan Reynolds is the maintenance guy with the rep that he once jammed with Lou Reed.  James is immediately attracted to his fellow co-worker played by Kristen Stewart.  I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at how well she acted in this film.  She had much more range to show in this role, as she has a secret affair with the married Ryan Reynolds character.  It was interesting that Ryan Reynolds was playing kind of a sleazeball, too, as he has been so squeaky good guy in his recent Rom Coms.

Jesse Eisenberg's character is similar to every one that Michael Cera has ever played.  He's nerdy and a little naive, but somehow I found Jesse Eisenberg much more annoying to me than Michael Cera ever is.  He's supposed to still be a virgin after graduating college.  I suppose that's realistic, but I just found it difficult to swallow.

The plot is not completely predictable, and even the "sexpot" supporting character was allowed a little depth.  It's a lot of 80's nostalgia, too, especially with the music (a Foreigner cover band makes a funny appearance at one point).  I give it three stars for a surprisingly sweet story, and not just being a formula picture.  I won't, however, be going out of my way to see the next Jesse Eisenberg film.  Worth a rental.

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