Life is a rollercoaster…

More evidence that young ’uns enjoy a better grade of romantic comedy than their elders (see also this month’s (500) Days Of Summer), Greg Superbad Mottola’s period piece is smartly observed, witty and well-acted, with recognisable characters we actually care about.

Think of the last time you could say the same for anything starring Sandra Bullock, Katherine Heigl or even Julia Roberts.

Admittedly, Mottola isn’t reinventing the wheel here. Adventureland is one of those ‘the summer I lost my innocence’ stories, with Jesse Eisenberg as a 22-year-old virgin quietly besotted with the altogether more worldly Em (Kristen Stewart), though she’s banging Ryan Reynolds’ hunky old-job man.

It’s 1987, and James (Eisenberg) is back home for the summer, newly fortified with a degree in Renaissance Studies, but not remotely qualified for any gainful employment in the environs of suburban Pittsburgh. Which is how he winds up at the eponymous amusement park, separating punters from their cash with the vague promise of a stuffed toy for the lucky winner.

Even in the pathetic hierarchy of Adventureland this is the lowest of the low. James does have one thing going for him though: a bag of weed. It’s enough to get his co-worker Em to take him seriously, and to attract the attention of the lovely Lisa P (Margarita Levieva)…

Eisenberg and Stewart make a sympathetically low-key couple, a kind of fresh-faced Woody and Mia, while Martin Starr slyly steals scenes as the theme park’s resident pipe-smoking intellectual.

A subtle, sensitive director, Mottola invests this unremarkable story with the care and compassion of someone who actually lived it. Don’t expect the constant cock gags of Superbad – instead, be prepared to come away reflecting on your own worst job and any romantic compensations that it might have thrown up.


Mottola’s Superbad follow-up is one from the heart, a clear-sighted love letter to his own teenage tribulations. Starting out in high spirits then skewing more serious, it’s a funny, poignant, bittersweet treat. Get in line…

Film Details

User Reviews

    • vanillasky

      Sep 15th 2009, 19:14


      This film was very good. Do you ever get when you go and see a film that it stays with you for days after viewing it? Well that is what I got from this film. You get to know the characters and their background which makes you actually care what is going on, not like some of the rubbish that has been out this year. I would recommend this to anyone and by the way if you do see this, is the car which Em drives the same one from Waynes World?

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    • ColouredPurple

      Jan 20th 2010, 22:34


      I had no idea what this was about when I went in but I thought it might be good because the poster reminded me of Clerks, s****y job and all. It turned out very different but still wonderful in its own way. It's a heartfelt comedy. You actually care about the characters and if you've ever worked a summer job, you will feel a connection. Being the 80s the soundtrack and the cars are cool. Martin steel and his pipe are great fun. Jesse Eisenberg is really sweet in his role. Bill Hader and Kristen Wigg have great, hilarious chemistry. And it was good to finally see Kristen Stewart in something which is not s****y or glittery.

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    • Latz1987

      Mar 16th 2010, 20:31


      really enjoyed Kristens performance in this! excellent film!

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    • shanebot

      Mar 24th 2010, 22:37


      Casting, direction, screenplay and music are seamless in this pastiche of coming-of-age 1980s movies, taking all Brat Pack films and taking out the dull clichés to make a wonderful film. All of Eisenberg's awkwardness and likability goes into James Brennan, not unlike Woody Allen, and he creates a character who knows a world gone by but not the world he lives in. Brennan's degree in Renaissance Studies can't hold a candle to that of Em's (Kristen Stewart) knowledge of the cruelty of the world and that getting knifed over a "Giant-a*s Panda". The two make a couple so brilliantly different that they need to be together. Martin Starr's Joel adds to the intelligent fervor that comes with the story, as well as Matt Bush's sack-tapping Frigo. Take away Stewart's Twilight fame and watch this and you'll grow a newfound respect for the up-and-comer. As for Eisenberg, let's see if his portrayal of self-made billionaire and Facebook creator; Mark Zuckerberg in David Fincher's The Social Network can boom him to the A-List. shaneb0t

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    • NMM1310

      Apr 26th 2010, 18:46


      Haveing watched this movie i was hopeing for something like superbad for comedy value. however this film is a big dissapointment as it lacks comedy and showcases drink and drugs as good things and jesse eisenberg plays the same role in almost every film he is in. ryan reynolds is a talented actor wasted on this film.

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      Jan 25th 2011, 7:45


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