Adventureland Greg Mottola

Adventureland Greg Mottola
Set in the summer of 1987, Adventureland reflects the character-building experiences one finds when working demeaning service jobs for minimum wage in pursuit of passion. Appearing like a more mature version of Michael Cera, Jesse Eisenberg plays James Brennan, a college grad working at the Adventureland amusement park to save money for grad school instead of cavorting around in Europe with a friend. He quickly falls for fellow Lou Reed-obsessed fan Em (Kristen Stewart) and gets into a general array of post-teen romantic movie hijinks. Subtler and not as laugh-out-loud funny as Superbad, writer/director Greg Mottola's previous effort, Adventureland succeeds on a more modest scale. He creates genuinely relatable characters and affords them the same flaws and charms found in our friends and lovers. Eisenberg is starting to find himself in danger of eternally playing awkward teens (and now post-teens) but his character is afforded more range and the actor rises to the challenge by not making Brennan insufferable or weak. In Mottola's films, nerds share the same flaws as any other character, and for once the nerds (in this case, Brennan and the Russian-literature obsessed Joel, amiably played by Martin Starr) are seen more as precursors for what constitutes hipster cool now ― nerds are always on the forefront of these things. To balance this, Ryan Reynolds' role as the park's married lothario utilizes his natural smarminess instead of romanticizing it. Kristen Stewart also infuses the sullen Em with snarky vigour, resulting in the rare character that appears believably attractive to the lead while not pandering as cute to the audience. And for once a non-deplorable indie rock soundtrack is utilized. Yo La Tengo's murmuring backdrops seamlessly display indie rock's influence on modern film scores, although the characters' Lou Reed obsession grows tiresome. Enter Adventureland with caution at the lack of easy laughs and one will leave satisfied. (Maple)