Sunday, 22 August 2010

Film Review: ADVENTURELAND (2009)

Writer/Director: Greg Mottola
Running time: 103 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

UK release date: 11th September 2009

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 22nd August 2010.


I hadn’t really heard a lot about this film before it came up on TV this week. I have a vague recollection of it being mentioned when Zombieland came out, also last year and also starring Jesse Eisenberg. So I didn’t really have very high hopes when I hit play on my Sky+ box. Boy was I in for a very pleasant surprise! But more of that later, I’ll give you a quick low-down on the plot first.

It’s Pittsburgh in the summer of 1987 and grad student, James Brennan, finds himself having to get a job if he’s to further his education. He tries several places, but finds he is turned down a lot. His last resort is to go and work with his childhood friend, Frigo, at a fun park called Adventureland. The park is run by a couple, Bobby and Paulette, who give him the job straight away. James soon makes a bunch of new friends, Joel, Sue O'Malley, Mark, Lisa P., and the park's repairs technician Mike Connell, who is a part-time musician and claims to have once jammed with Lou Reed. But the person who has the biggest impact on James is Em Lewin. In fact the relationship between these two people takes up most of the film and when it ends in… Oh no, I’ll let you find out for yourself, assuming you haven’t seen it already.

I found this a really engaging film to watch, I could identify with all of the characters and, although the plot is quite complicated at times, it was easy enough to follow. A really great soundtrack provided a great backdrop for the story with songs of the day bringing back memories of what my life was like back then. Great performances all round, but especially from Kristen Stewart as Em and Jesse Eisenberg as James. I thought they both played their parts perfectly. I must also mention Martin Starr as Joel, Margarita Levieva as Lisa P., Bill Hader as Bobby, Kristen Wiig as Paulette and not forgetting Ryan Reynolds as Mark Connell.

Over all a really engaging story about growing up and facing up to the problems you make for yourself. Some great performances and a really good soundtrack lift this movie above others that have tried to tackle the subject. Probably because of the honesty shown in the dialogue and the delivery of the actors. I feel it’s one that will stay with me for quite a while. Highly recommended.

My score: 7.9/10

IMDb Site:

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