Greg Mottola, the director behind 2007's smash-hit gross-out Teen Comedy 'Superbad' has returned to the directorial chair and sat down at his writing table too for his new Comedy/Drama 'Adventureland'.
Set in 1987 and loosely based around Mottola's own experiences, the film revolves around James Brennan (Jesse Eisenberg), a posh college graduate who is home for the summer and preparing for his trip around the world and a Journalism course in New York. When his wealthy parents hit a financial snag, James is forced to get himself a summer job to support his future activities. He lands a place at Adventureland, a run down local amusement park. During his time at the park, his horizons broaden and he begins to understand more of the real world. He meets Em (Kristen Stewart, Bella from 'Twilight'), a lonely outsider with a fiery attitude and a dreary music collection. Em invites James into her life within and outside of Adventureland. The pair are taken on a rough trip about love, trust and friendship, leading to more complex scenarios.
Mottola has been incredibly intelligent with this film, he's stepped aside from the major sex jokes and toilet humour, and allowed more time for the character development to evolve. Although 'Superbad' was a total riot, this picture invites it's audience deeper into the world these characters live in. At times you laugh with them and at others you feel sympathetic towards them. It's a far more immersive experience echoing the stylistic Indie comedy of Jason Reitman's 'Juno'.
The plot is cleverly divided amongst the characters and the story develops as their paths cross during their time at the park giving a nice and thoughtful touch. Mottola has also paid major attention to detail and authenticity, seeing as the film is set in 1987 nothing pops up in the feature that takes you away from that environment; the cars, the clothes, the music; everything is correct.
The casting for the film is fantastic, each character is totally believable in their role. Ryan Reynolds is brilliant as Mike Connell, the father-like Maintenance Guy with major relationship problems, and Bill Hader is as funny as ever as Bobby, the park's manager. Eisenberg and Stewart have beautifully awkward chemistry on-screen and I'm sure we'll see them working together again.
'Adventureland' has the whole package; it's believable, witty, emotive, hilarious and sports a wonderful soundtrack. It's one of the only Teen films that doesn't make the genre look totally mindless.