DVD Reviews | Aug 27th, 2009

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Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Ryan Reynolds, Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, Margarita Levieva, Martin Starr
Written By: Greg Mottola
Directed By: Greg Mottola
Studio: Miramax
Buy On

The latest movie from Greg Mottola, the director of Superbad, gives off a Little Miss Sunshine feel. It’s got some funny moments, but I wouldn’t necessarily file this movie under comedy at the video store.

In the summer of 1987, James (Jesse Eisenberg) is planning on going to Europe with his friend. But his parents tell him they can’t afford it and he has to work in Pittsburgh before going off to grad school in New York City. The only place that’s willing to hire him is the local amusement park Adventureland. Bill the manager puts James on games, something he’s not interested in. James quickly meets all the employees: Joel, a dry & nerdy looking guy; a former best friend who just punches him in the balls now; Lisa P, the park slut; and Mike the park technician and part-time musician. Another park employee, Em (Kristen Stewart), rescues James from a pissed off customer who’s ready to knife him. The two hit off after attended a party together and start hanging out. One snag is Em is having an affair with Mike, who happens to be married. Lisa P asks James out on a date, Em continues to see Mike, and Em and James still see each other on and off, and nerdy Joel is left alone. It makes things a bit messy. You can kind of figure out how it’s going to end up based on that.

I thought the movie had its moments but wished it was funnier. Bill Hader was the funniest thing about the movie I thought. When is this guy gonna get a lead role? I laughed at some scenes at the amusement park like them playing “Rock Me Amadeus” over and over and that the games were all rigged. I knew those damn games were rigged! You know what games are rigged? Those claw machines! I spent tons of money growing up trying to get certain things in there. So seeing stuff from the amusement park brought back memories for me. I just wish this was a full fledge comedy and not have teen drama mixed in as well. This movie had the potential to be a funny movie but it only served up a few laughs.

As far as the other actors in the film are concerned, Kristen Wiig was a bit underused and just stood by Bill’s side for the most part. Jesse Eisenberg did a good job as the awkward James and Kristen Stewart was okay too. I don’t really see the fuss with her. Big deal, she was in that shitty movie Twilight, whoopdedo. It was actually nice to see Ryan Reynolds not be the lead in the movie. He’s usually the comic relief or lead in movies but not this time. He actually kind of played a creep.

The one thing that people will be talking about Adventureland will be the soundtrack. Since the movie takes place in 1987, you get some new wave and typical 80s songs in the soundtrack. Some of the bands featured on soundtrack include Lou Reed, INXS, Husker Du, David Bowie, The Cure, The Replacements, The Velvet Underground and of course Falco. Definitely get the album if you enjoyed the music from the movie.

The DVD extras include audio commentary with Greg Mottola and Actor Jesse Eisenberg, deleted scenes and a making of featurette. The making of featurette has interviews, and stuff like that. Greg Mottola talks about how there is only 2 amusement parks that haven’t been updated. One of them is Rye Playland and I forgot the other, I think that’s where they film though. The deleted scenes give more depth to Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, and Ryan Reynolds roles but that’s about it. They were somewhat forgettable.

If you’re looking for laugh out funny, you might want to just rent Superbad again. But if you’re looking for a drama with some funny moments in it, that will be nostalgic for you; then by all means check this out. I would rent Adventureland before buying though.

– Deleted Scenes
– Just My Life: The Making Of Adventureland
– Feature Commentary — With Writer/Director Greg Mottola And Actor Jesse Eisenberg
– Picture Music Selection

Widescreen 1.85:1 Color (Anamorphic)

ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1 [CC]
FRENCH: Dolby Digital Stereo

Spanish, French

Bottom Line: A good overall movie but wished it was funnier
Running Time: 107 mins
Rating: R
Extras Rating:
Overall Rating:


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