003791Reviews & Counting
Adventureland (UR)
BLU-RAY disk
08.28.2009 By: J.A. Hamilton
Adventureland (UR) order
Greg Mottola

Jesse Eisenberg
Kristen Stewart
Ryan Reynolds


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With his future planned out, all James Brennan has to do is survive the summer. But after his parents renig on vacation money (and his tuition) leaving him penniless, James decides to get a job at Adventureland in hopes of solving his financial problems.
When this flick first hit theaters I read one review sporting the tagline ďIf youíre expecting SUPERBAD 2 youíll be disappointed.Ē I donít know about anyone else, but Iíd be pretty pissed to see a SUPERBAD 2 without Seth, Evan and Mclovin! Of course, I know what this person meant, which is if youíre looking for an all out laugh-fest of a comedy, this isnít it. Iím not saying this movie isnít funny, it is, but itís one of those half comedy, half drama setups that follow the same path as CHASING AMY, KNOCKED UP and THE BREAKUP. Like ADVENTURELAND, these were all decent movies, but their first halves really pushed the comedy while the last halves veered into drama. Is that a bad thing? Not really. I enjoyed this flick quite a bit, I just donít think itíll be what most people are expecting.

Jesse Eisenburg handles the lead well, and though Iím sure heíd never admit it, I feel heís trying a little too hard to be Michael Cera (which as it turns out, works for him here). One of the reasons I believe it works so well is because I couldnít shake the feeling that writer/director Greg Mottola wrote the part of James FOR Cera and then for some reason couldnít get him and settled for Eisenburg. Either way, I like the guy and am seriously looking forward to ZOMBIELAND. Iím not a huge fan of Kristen Stewart however, especially as a love interest because I just donít find her attractive. She plays a great Bella in TWILIGHT and I even liked her in THE MESSENGERS, but I didnít buy her and Eisenburgís forced chemistry, despite digging the love triangle with Ryan Reynolds. That said, the three-way love angle (four if count Lisa P) is surprisingly lifelike, which in turn made it feel genuine and believable.

The plot was very grounded (like the love angle) and again, really makes you believe whatís going on. Iím all for the ďlife happensĒ approach, considering shit DOES always tend to hit the fan just when we think we have things figured out. Everything from Jamesís parents not coming up with the cash they promised and then making him spend all his money on car repairs, to the work drama, scams and his (not so reliable) best friend, just screamed realism to me (not surprising considering the writer/director based this flick on his own summer job adventures). Bill Hader was a treat as always, but I was a little surprised to see Reynolds take such a ďlow keyĒ character part. When I first saw him, I thought he might give us an encore performance from WAITING. Sadly no (as his role wasnít meant to be funny), but I enjoyed him nonetheless.

ADVENTURELAND is a mixed bag. Itís neither the comedic event of the summer, nor the feelgood movie of the year, but it was a good coming of age story and certainly has its moments. Thereís fun to be had here and I do recommend it, but it does lose a couple points for not knowing which genre it truly belongs in. I only mention this because commercially it was pawned off a comedy, thus receiving a lot of negative reviews. The good news is, as long as you know what youíre getting into here, Iím quite confident youíll enjoy yourself like I did. That said, I wouldnít say you need to OWN the Blu-ray (the colors were smooth and quite striking in 1080p, but thereís not much replay value with this one), but I would definitely drop the extra couple bucks to RENT the Blu-ray.
Just My Life: The Making Of Adventureland: Writer/director Greg Mottola explains that the idea for this script came about when telling a story about his childhood summer job as a carny. I donít care how degrading it looks, working at an amusement park is bound to produce many a funny story and could easily be one hell of a way to spend your summer...if youíre a teenager.

Feature Commentary- With Writer/Director Greg Mottola and Actor Jesse Eisenberg: You can tell a lot about the overall feel of a commentary when you hear the director and actor dropping F-bombs in the first thirty seconds. These guys are hilarious and if commentaries are your thing, youíll wanna check this out.

Deleted Scenes: A slim two and a half minutes worth with an optional (funny) commentary. Bill Hader and Kristen Wigg (the owners) mostly, taken out because the director felt it slowed down the pace. The joke about ďthe Police not being open on SundayĒ is priceless.

Frigoís Ball Taps: A quick two minutes with the underused Frigo, where he explains how excited he is to be punching so many men in the balls. So excited, that he shows us several different examples of how to get in a ďgood hit.Ē The ďDrive-byĒ and ďStrangerĒ are hilarious.

Lisa Pís Guide to Style: Lisa P gives us a two minute fashion make over. Her eighties theme was somewhat entertaining, but Iíd be more interested in seeing her birthday suit.

Welcome to Adventureland: Four (in character) commercials promoting Adventureland and/or explaining the working environment as an employee. Iíd personally work anywhere that featured a work related video using the word f*ck. Cheesy, but quite funny.

Sneak Peeks: Thereís some trailers, a Blu-ray commercial, a stop smoking commercial (kinda odd) and a digital copy of the film.
I went into ADVENTURELAND with no preconceived expectations (though based on the trailers, I TOO thought it was a raunchy teen comedy), and as such enjoyed the film for what it was. The funny parts were funny, and the dramatic parts were, well, kinda campy but still managed to make me care. Most guys have experienced some of Jamesís bad luck at some point.

Extra Tidbit: A friend of mine was a carny for a year. One of the chicks he worked with told him how she liked to go home with random guys and rob them blind while they were sleeping. Thatís one expensive ride.
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