As a college graduate fresh out of school, James (Jesse Eisenberg) has it made. He plans on traveling to Europe on his summer break before moving to New York City to attend grad school at Columbia University. That was before his parents went poor. No more Europe trip for James. He’s back with his parents in Pittsburg looking for a summer job.
Finding summer employment is hard enough, but with no real work experience and a major in Renaissance Studies, James is having issues. The only place that accepts him is a dinky amusement park called Adventureland.
The place is a rundown joint filled with recycled rides, scam games and refried corndogs. Nobody can seem to knock the top hats off the mannequins to win a prize. Oh wait, that’s because they’re glued on.
James’ coworkers are an eccentric bunch. There’s Joel (Martin Starr), the socially awkward philosophical connoisseur. Then there’s Lisa P. (Margarita Levieva), the highly attractive boy-magnet who can’t carry on a halfway intellectual conversation for the life of her. Ryan Reynolds plays Mike, a maintenance man with a James Dean sex appeal. And Twilight star Kristen Stewart portrays Em, the girl who James falls head over heels for.
At a low paying, minimal effort job the employees are offered extensive time to interact with each other. When stuck with the same people day-in and day-out, this is bound to happen. Relationships form, and bring with them inevitable conflict and drama. The bad news is that if the latter occurs, these people are trapped with each other until someone quits.
Greg Mottola directs this coming-of-age tale told in a comedic, laid back fashion. With hints of his previous film “Superbad,” “Adventureland” is certainly not the most thought provoking narrative. The fact that almost the entire plotline revolves around drugs and sex is a bit artificial. Though there may not be too much to gain from watching this movie, it is nevertheless entertaining.
Most people can say they’ve worked a crappy summer job at some point in life, but no matter how unbearable it may have seemed, it was most likely a memorable experience. If nothing else, it could probably make a good story to tell at a party. Heck, it could even be made into a movie.
Staff writer Marjorie Hamburger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.