Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, and Ryan Reynolds
Without the crystalizing assistance of Roger Ebert, I still knew there was something about Adventureland I didn't like. More than just being a collection of characters we've seen in other, better movies, there was an underlying vibe in each of the major players that just seemed to miss the mark. And then the light went on for me. In his review of 1987's One Woman or Two, Ebert wrote, "It is not funny when people in a movie walk around being dumb and making stupid mistakes, unless the people are named Curly, Moe, and Larry." "If the characters are allegedly people of normal intelligence," he added, "their stupidity isn't funny, it's exhausting." And that's where Adventureland gets shaky. We're meant to believe that these are all smart characters caught in unfortunate situations. But the fact is, they talk like smart people and act like idiots. It's 100 minutes of making amends for dumb decisions, and having one smart-ass thing after another to say about it. What Ebert wrote is basically true, but there are exceptions where we condone smart characters who do stupid things. Usually in movies, the federal government is peopled by boobs, and in Coen Brothers comedies, it's generally accepted. However, there is a balance in those instances. Those movies almost always feature smart characters acting accordingly, as well. But Adventureland is about a recent college graduate who could be going to Columbia in a couple of months, and while he works a thankless summer job at the Adventureland fun park, he sure doesn't act like an Ivy Leaguer. James Brennan (Jesse Eisenberg) can't find a job when he returns home to Pittsburgh. With no other options, he takes a low paying gig running games at Adventureland. He makes fast friends with the rather nihilistic Joel (Martin Starr), who has all the intelligence James possesses, but probably not the motivation. His bosses, Bobby and Paulette (Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig), are completely oblivious to, well, everything.
Watch the Adventureland trailer