“Adventureland” (2009)

Adventureland glanced off me like water off a duck’s back. I didn’t get the appeal at all, though it received mostly good reviews when it was in theaters. Jesse Eisenberg plays the Michael Cera role–a smart geek inept with women. His post-college trip to Europe is canceled, and the only job he can get is at a local theme park. The year is 1987, and while some references were spot on (mostly the music) others were not quite right. Kristen Stewart and Ryan Reynolds look as if they were dropped in from a modern movie, Eisenberg is so vague in appearance he could have been, so the other characters often looked as if they were in 80’s drag rather than in character.

The plot feels like that of every teen movie, ever, except that it’s characters are supposedly post-college, which never felt quite right to me. Their emotional and communication skills seemed more suited to high school. And that’s kind of an insult to high schoolers. Eisenberg is a geek who likes the cool girl, Stewart, who has the emotional acting range of a turnip. Her idea of emoting is fiddling with her hair, which IMDB says she does 55 times in the film. Stewart is fooling around with the cool guy, Reynolds, but develops feelings for the geek, and things don’t quite come together. SNL’s Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig have a few good moments in supporting roles–one with a bat, the other with stuffed bananas. The plot is not dissimiliar to that of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, which I liked at the time but seems cut from a similar cloth–trying to go for the charm of a John Hughes 80’s romance, and not being sincere enough to pull it off.

My husband G. Grod was similarly unimpressed with it, but two friends, The Big Brain and his henchman C, said they loved it. BB even said it was one of his favorite movies from last year. He wondered if perhaps when I am older and no longer caring for small children, and my heart has softened from its current stone-like state, if I might view it more favorably. I doubt it. I’d rather re-watch a John Hughes movie.

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