Forego ‘Adventureland,’ head elsewhere

Denise Wright

Lackluster film fails to earn hype surrounding it

If you’re like me, you’ve been anticipating “Adventureland” for months. And why wouldn’t you be? The film received a lot of hype during January’s Sundance Film Festival, has an all-star cast and is directed by Greg Mottola, who was also the director behind mega-hit comedy “Superbad.”

But chances are, you’ll also be like me when you finish watching this film – bored and wishing you’d been watching “I Love You, Man” for the third time in theaters.

This film had all the potential in the world, too. Aside from the aforementioned benefits, the movie has a relatable storyline.

“Adventureland” follows recent college grad James Brennan (Jesse Eisenberg) as he reluctantly takes up an unglamorous summer job at a local amusement park. Brennan had been expecting to backpack across Europe with his best friend but finds himself trying to enthusiastically man various carnival games, smoke weed and run from angry park attendees – all while unknowingly vying with the park’s maintenance man (Ryan Reynolds) for the attention of fellow games employee, Em (Kristen Stewart).



Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Ryan Reynolds

Directed by

Greg Mottola

Distributed by


Rated R

Runtine 107 mins.

Stater rating (out of five): ☆☆

Sounds like a plotline any normal 20-year-old college student looking for a summer job could appreciate, right? That’s what I thought, too – until I realized it would have been far more entertaining to strap a camera on a friend’s hat, tape my life for the summer and try to pass it off as a hit film.

Do you know why there weren’t any funny clips in the trailer? Because there really weren’t any in the movie. Honestly, I felt cheated as I sat there waiting for the raunchy, period blood-soaked comedy I’d expect from Mottola. I should have known it was merely a selling point.

But I can’t be entirely harsh. I suppose Brennan’s scrotum-slapping friend Frigo (Matt Bush) provided some comic relief as well as “Saturday Night Live” stars Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig, who squeezed out a few laughs as the married couple trying to regulate the whole rickety amusement enterprise.

Honestly, the most interesting thing about this film is that it was filmed at Pittsburgh’s Kennywood park. As a Pennsylvania native, I found it intriguing that I recognized the rides and the park’s surrounding area. Aside from those fleeting moments, the film failed to make a connection, despite its practical message of realizing your self-worth and not passing up someone who has already done so.

Much like you’d feel when the sexually-frustrated games girl tells you she doesn’t want to hook up anymore, this film will tease your excitement and then leave you to deal with the letdown when it doesn’t deliver.

Contact all editor Denise Wright at [email protected].