Sunday, April 12, 2009

Adventureland (***1/2)

Adventureland.  98 mins.  R.  Written and Directed by Greg Mottola.  Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Martin Starr, Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, and Ryan Reynolds.

Don't go to Adventureland expecting a riotous comedy.   Though the Miramax marketing department is doing all it can to convince people this is the second coming of, say, Superbad - it's not.  There are funny parts but this is more of an independent, coming-of-age dramedy.  Writer-director Greg Mottola does a nice job of nailing the look and feel of an '80s teen flick.  He has a good eye for period detail and the theme park setting is honestly captured.  The story may seem a tad over-familiar at times (hipster slackers + pot = life lessons learned), but the talented cast (SNL vets Bill Hader and Kristin Wiig are standouts) helps sell it.  And while I like both Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart here, they are in real danger of repeating themselves and becoming one-trick ponies.  Eisenberg is like a less funny Michael Cera, and Stewart has trouble looking at other actors when speaking to them and takes way too long to say a line in her attempts to be real.  Adventureland is a modestly charming film - one that entertains and keeps you happy while it's on, but one that's pretty disposable as soon as you leave the theater.  Great '80s soundtrack though - if there's one element of the movie that sticks with you, it's that.



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