With a title like Adventureland, you’d expect some thrills in this coming-of-age comedy. But frankly, it’s about as fun as standing in line for a rollercoaster for two hours. You wait and wait for some action, it’s really fun for like two minutes, and then afterwards you’re like, “That’s it?”
You also expect way more laughs, considering it comes from Superbad director Greg Mottola, and it’s about a virgin (Jesse Eisenberg) working at an amusement park during the summer of 1987. Sounds hilarious! We were hoping for a Wet Hot American Summer vibe (or even Porky’s). Instead, Adventureland tries too hard to be poignant and has a couple of subplots that are kind of major buzz-kills. Look for anti-Semitism, alcoholic dads, and wigs.
Eisenberg plays James Brennan, a geeky college student who has to get a job at a dilapidated theme park in his hometown to pay for grad school in the fall. Of course, working in the cheesy “Games” booths, he meets many wacky characters, like his stoner co-workers, and has to hide his boners from his love interest Em (Twilight’s Kristen Stewart). But see, Em’s kind of sullen, because she hates her step-monster, and she’s having a secret affair with the humorless, married maintenance guy (Ryan Reynolds).
While not exactly a barrel of laughs, the 80s soundtrack and kitschy clothes are spot on — and there are some funny bits from Saturday Night Live stars Bill Hader and Kristin Wiig, who play the goofy park owners. But the best character of all has to be Lisa P. (Margarita Levieva), the sexy bombshell, who comes back to work at Adventureland every summer, but won’t let anyone sleep with her. We all know that girl. She rhymes with tockclease.
Eisenberg, with his pretty cherry lips, and Stewart, with her natural magnetism, are never dull. Unfortunately, this script is. And, like winning a cheap stuffed animal after you finally get a ring around that damn bottle, that’s disappointing.
2 Radars (Out of 5)