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Adventureland

by

Jeff Nelson

Adventureland is a genuinely amusing film that's recommended to those who can accept it's not similar to Superbad.

Adventureland
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The unfortunate truth is that once a director is famous for a certain genre of film, they're specifically thought to do that one film for a long time. As a new movie is released by the filmmaker and it's different, fans of the previous film aren't too happy. I'm speaking about Greg Mottola, the director of Superbad. When that film was released, it made a huge wave over modern comedies. From that point on, it seemed like those styles of comedies came one after the other. Too many people walked into Adventureland thinking it would be in that group.

James Brennan isn't able to afford the European vacation he has dreamed of. He takes a job at a local amusement park, only to learn that the dead-end job might not be as bad as he thought it'd be. Don't expect this to be stylized in the same vision as Superbad. Humor is in the film, but Mottola toned down on it and focused more on the drama aspect. However, that doesn't stop it from having its laugh-out-loud moments. As we follow James through his story, the audience can't help but get connected to him. He's a likable character who's enjoyable to follow. There are a lot of dramatic situations with an eventual love story. It's a predictable plot, but doesn't make it lose its charm. It creates the love story without feeling preachy and feeling too tacky. It's not the usual romance dramedy.

Over the years, I've really enjoyed Jesse Eisenberg's work. Each film he does, he seems to be only improving on his acting skills. Surprisingly, Kristen Stewart does a decent job and doesn't go over-the-top, as she does in her more recent films. Even though they're only in supporting roles, Ryan Reynolds and Kristen Wiig both do well in their roles. All of the actors handle the light comedy well and don't overdo the dramatic scenes. None of the cast does a phenomenal job, but they're better than most actors in this genre.

Taking place in the 1987, it's important to get the look correct. There were quite a few times that it felt like modern times, but it's not too bothersome. The amusement park is set up exactly the way they always have. Impossible games and the majority of the staff being miserable and angry.

Let me say this once again. Greg Mottola's Adventureland is nothing like Superbad. No matter how many times others have said it, people continue to see this and be upset due to the fact that it's nothing like Superbad. This is its own movie and should be treated as such. It's an enjoyable dramedy that's much better than most. Adventureland is a genuinely amusing film that's recommended to those who can accept it's not similar to Superbad.

My Rating = Three and One Half Stars

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