- Released Internationally on 03/04/09
- Released in Malta by KRS on 21/10/09
In a nutshell
James was planning a legendary trip to Europe during his last summer before going to college, but his parents’ financial cutbacks force him to spend his summer at the other end of the spectrum – attending to the arcades at the local Luna Park.
The first impression this film gives isn’t very promising, but it fortunately turns out to be a wrong one. The opening scenes are typical of many recent sex comedies, with college students convening on someone’s house to drink themselves into oblivion and discuss loss of virginity. Coupled with the fact that Greg Mottola, the director, previously brought us the entertaining but formulaic Superbad, I was expecting more of the same.
But once the opening scenes are over, and we realise James’ (Jesse Eisenberg) dreams of a chick-filled summer are fading, the film drops the relentless frat-boy dialogue and focuses on his real and pressing problem of finding a summer job to finance his college education. The only job he finds is the one he was trying to avoid – Adventureland. The local amusement park isn’t half as exciting as the name would suggest, and he even misses out on the slight excitement of manning the rides by being assigned to the arcade games.
I really started getting interested in this unusual film when James started meeting his colleagues at the park. Martin Starr (Knocked Up, Superbad) is a wonderful character as the all-round loser with insight, Joel. His anti-hero persona fits in perfectly with his mind-numbing job, and it takes James a while to access the wealth beneath the surface. Bill Hader (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs) is his usual enthusiastic self as the park manager. Kristen Stewart (Into the Wild, Twilight) is once again well-cast as the sexy but reserved love interest, Em, who manages to seem both very interesting and emotionally damaged. But the most surprising character was Ryan Reynolds (The Proposal, X-Men Origins: Wolverine) as Mike, the park handyman. Shedding his usual funny-guy image, he makes Mike a dark and unsettling character, which both James and probably the audience are unsure about. His involvement with Em is definitely not the stuff of romantic comedies.
In the end
Although on very small scale, the drama is very realistic and is both well-written and well-acted. Many of the peripheral characters are the usual stereotypes, but the main three are definitely not, and they make for refreshing and interesting viewing.
http://www.apple.com/trailers/miramax/adventureland/ (High-res QuickTime)