I had heard that this movie was one of the best this year, so I wanted to see it before the end of 2009. I had very high hopes for it, considering it is about the late 1980’s (1987 to be exact, the year I graduate from high school), has an awesome soundtrack and some actors who I think highly of (Ryan Reynolds & Jesse Eisenberg). But the problem with “Adventureland” is that is suffers from an identity crisis and it never really gets off the ground. It meanders…and then becomes a standard love story.
When the movie starts, we meet James, a recent college grad who is now stuck looking for a job before heading to New York for grad school. He ends up working at the local Pittsburgh amusement park called Adventureland. There he becomes friends with a cast of characters who are dweebs, nerds and slackers. This includes Kristen Stewart, taking some time between “Twiglight” movies to hone her dramatic skills. And trust me…she IS very dramatic. Anyway, James ends up falling for Em (Stewart) and the entire film is really their love story. How her life is complicated. How his life is complicated. How they are gonna be complicated together. It’s all very complicated. But really…it isn’t.
Not to say this film didn’t have some fun moments. Kristen Wiig & Bill Hader make an appearance as the park owners in hilarious fashion and a few of the nerds are quite good (especially Martin Starr, who is the nerdiest of the bunch and somehow the star of the show). But Reynolds gets lost in the shuffle as a park mechanic who has a way with the ladies and Eisenberg, who was so great in “Zombieland”, is limited to looking dumbfounded most of the time and it’s not until the end of the movie when he finally grows a pair and becomes the man that he needs to be. Which is what the movie is all about, I guess.
“Adventureland” is not one of the best movies of 2009. Instead, it’s a nice evening rental which had potential. Not to say it’s not good…it’s just not great. And it could have been. But instead, it’s more of an homage to the John Hughes films of the 80’s…and not a very good one at that.
Overall Rating: C