February 18, 2010

Rabid Rewind: Adventureland


Title: Adventureland
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Ryan Reynolds, Bill Hader
Directed by: Greg Motolla
Released: 2009
Genre: Comedy

I really hate the word "dramady." You know, that hybrid of a drama and a comedy. The kind of movie that gets hit with that clumsy label is fine by me, but I just hate the term--like Bennifer or Branjelina. It's just awful. One of the worst things about comedic dramas is the trailers. The marketing teams almost always promote the movie as a straight-up comedy, which is what happened to Adventureland, and what ultimately set me up for a letdown.

It wasn't a total letdown, but when the movie's trailers feature the funniest parts of the movie, feature the SNL alumni who actually have minor roles in the film, and hype it as "from the director of Superbad," it's not surprising that the film was given an uphill battle.

To be fair, when the movie goes for the laughs they nail it. And a lot of the more subdued dramatic bits are okay, even good at times, but there are a couple of people who really drag this movie through the mud.

The gist of the film deals with Jesse Eisenberg graduating highschool and looking forward to university in New York City. But when his father gets laid off and his college funds go poof, he has to take a summer job at a crap amusement park just to build up some funds. What follows is a kind of ninety-minute love letter to wasted youth in New Jersey. Watching the movie gave me nostalgic trips back to hanging out as a teen at the local theme park--big for our neck of the woods, but ultimately a faint whisper to the major theme parks.

Jesse Eisenberg does well as that more-mature-than-the-rest teen with a head full of big ideas and a pocket full of lint. Kristen Stewart is a bore. Her character is a bore, but it also seems to be the exact same character from Twilight. Only instead of brooding over a sparkly vampire, she's brooding over Ryan Reynolds in his douchebaggiest role yet. Bill Hader and Kirsten Wiig bring the best moments of the movie, which is a shame because they're in it for about ten minutes altogether.

Superbad this is not, nor was it meant to be. I may have liked it a lot more had I not been taken for a ride by the trailers. God, I hate it when trailers defeat any redeeming qualities a movie might have by misleading the would-be audience. What's your opinion on the movie and its marketing?

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