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Review: Adult World

Adult World
Feb. 13, 2014by:
3 10

PLOT: Amy (Emma Roberts) is a recent college grad. An English major focused on writing poetry, she fully expects to take the literary world by storm, but her lack of talent and crushing student debt forces her to take a menial job at a porn shop called Adult World which is populated by an eccentric cast of characters.

REVIEW: ADULT WORLD is a film that's pretty much doomed right from the get-go. It starts off with perky Amy, inspired by the poster of Sylvia Plath that hangs on her wall, oh-so-adorably planning to commit suicide in a quirky way figuring it's the fastest way to literary fame. Because suicide is hilarious, right? Naturally, this is accompanied by a trendy, indie rock soundtrack, making everything all that much cuter. Clearly, this was going to be another in a long line of quirky indie comedies that often pop up on VOD after some festival play dates. About one in ten of these movies work. ADULT WORLD is among the vast majority that fall flat.

More than anything, ADULT WORLD is a star vehicle for Emma Roberts, and this seems like an attempt to turn her into an adorably klutzy, Greta Gerwig/ Zooey Deschanel style-heroine. Sadly, Roberts doesnt have the spark those actresses have. In their hands, Amy might have been cute or even endearing, but with Roberts playing her shes downright insufferable. Saddled with $90,000 in student debt, and somehow convinced that shes going to emerge as a major literary voice despite any kind of discernible talent, shes so out of touch with reality that its hard to sympathize with her. Clearly, this is intentional, as a big deal is made out of Amys unearned entitlement, but its hard to invest in a character for ninety minutes if you hate them.

As per this kind of indie formula, ADULT WORLD is populated by all kinds of quirky supporting characters, all of whom only exist to help Amy figure out things about herself. This is true of the porn shops elderly owners (Cloris Leachman and Jerry Adler) who are so sweet that despite this being a minimum wage job they give Amy a comprehensive health plan. Its also true of Adult Worlds resident transvestite, Rubia (Armando Riesco) who allows Amy to crash with her immediately after they meet, as well as the nice, clean-cut boy (Evan Peters) who works the cash, and serves as her de-facto love interest. All of these characters are infinitely more interesting than Amy, but their screen-time does not reflect that.

The movies only flashes of inspiration come from John Cusack, in a supporting part as Amys literary hero, Rat Billings, a gen-x icon (just like Cusack) whos since gone to seed. Amy cleans his house and sucks up to him in exchange for mentorship, and its a stretch to think that the ornery Rat would allow Amy to hang around, even if she is (as the movie constantly tells us) adorable. Cusack does get off one good line, where he explains that Amy is a person whos completely without knowledge, which seems true but, again, doesnt make for a compelling protagonist. ADULT WORLD would have been more interesting if Cusacks Rat was the focus, as hes the only character with any depth.

Its always a drag giving an indie like ADULT WORLD a bad review. Everyone involved clearly had their hearts in the right place, but as an indie heroine, Roberts isnt able to carry the movie. That said, she shouldnt shoulder all of the blame, as Amys such an unlikable brat its doubtful anyone could have really made this work. ADULT WORLD is just another failed indie comedy that might entertain some teens on a Netflix binge, but isnt especially worth going out of your way for. This is definitely one to skip.

Source: JoBlo.com

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12:59PM on 02/13/2014
What is the criteria for whether everyone involved had their hearts in the right place? if everything is so contrived in its quirky and trendy-ness, this entire movie sounds as if it is an absence of original ideas, themes or characters that I would think should be the criteria for trying something "with my heart in the right place" even if it fails. sounds like this movie is just trying to be the new version of the same type of quirky and trendy indie-movie we have seen in the past, which is
What is the criteria for whether everyone involved had their hearts in the right place? if everything is so contrived in its quirky and trendy-ness, this entire movie sounds as if it is an absence of original ideas, themes or characters that I would think should be the criteria for trying something "with my heart in the right place" even if it fails. sounds like this movie is just trying to be the new version of the same type of quirky and trendy indie-movie we have seen in the past, which is the opposite of having your heart in the right place.
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2:31PM on 02/13/2014
"hearts in the right place" = 'got paid peanuts'
"hearts in the right place" = 'got paid peanuts'
10:53AM on 02/13/2014
The trailer looked funny enough and Cusack and Roberts have enough charm to carry a film like this. But it looked like the film doesn't really have any characters that you can really root for or are maybe too zany to be relatable.
The trailer looked funny enough and Cusack and Roberts have enough charm to carry a film like this. But it looked like the film doesn't really have any characters that you can really root for or are maybe too zany to be relatable.
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6:12AM on 02/13/2014
I think the premise of this movie should be made into a TV sit-com series instead.
I think the premise of this movie should be made into a TV sit-com series instead.
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6:45AM on 02/13/2014
But a single-camera sitcom with no laugh track, preferably done on HBO.
But a single-camera sitcom with no laugh track, preferably done on HBO.
7:32AM on 02/13/2014
They are already doing it. It is called GIRLS
They are already doing it. It is called GIRLS
8:37AM on 02/13/2014
Oh yeah, I totally forgot about Girls.
Oh yeah, I totally forgot about Girls.
5:37AM on 02/13/2014
I empathize as an unemployable Gen-Y-er with a Literary degree and aspirations of success with my screenplays, books, op-ed pieces, etc. It's difficult to want to be a writer. It's a passionate aspiration, but the odds of being successful, let alone truly respectable, are about on par with the lottery. Anyway, this film feels like a tongue in cheek message from a technically successful screenwriter and definitely successful actors about the people who aspire to be them, but most likely never
I empathize as an unemployable Gen-Y-er with a Literary degree and aspirations of success with my screenplays, books, op-ed pieces, etc. It's difficult to want to be a writer. It's a passionate aspiration, but the odds of being successful, let alone truly respectable, are about on par with the lottery. Anyway, this film feels like a tongue in cheek message from a technically successful screenwriter and definitely successful actors about the people who aspire to be them, but most likely never will be.
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