Thursday, May 28, 2009

Film review: Adventureland

Director: Greg Mottola
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Ryan Reynolds
Country: USA

"We are doing the work of lazy morons" – James

Remember that summer when it seemed like everyone had lost their virginity except for you? Or perhaps that summer job you hated but situated you around a cool group of people for one last blast of adolescent fun? And then there was that girl, the one you’ll remember for the rest of your life as the first you really fell for and who inexplicably may have fallen for you too? Greg Mottola (Superbad) does and he isn’t afraid to take us on a trip down memory lane to share his story.

Adventureland stars Jesse Eisenberg as James who, fresh out of college and still in possession of his cherry, takes a job in a carnival to save for his post-grad tuition after his alcoholic father suffers a fall from working grace. The girl is Kristen Stewart who plays the gorgeous, if distant, Em. Certainly Stewart has the looks and cute ticks of a girl who could steal you heart, but her stockpile is starting to look very limited. Likewise Eisenberg, who now seems like a poor man’s Michael Cera before there was a Michael Cera, struggles to pull off a truly engaging character here.

The two leads are not alone either because Mottola, who smashed the ball out the park with Superbad, fails to capture any of the magical potential of this dilapidated carnival in Pittsburgh, preferring instead to bombard the audience with a 80s soundtrack and bodily humour. When the neatly tied ending finally arrives it feels neither satisfying nor particularly earned.

Adventureland is released in Australian cinema Thursday, 28 May
This review also appears in 3D World