Adventureland (2009)

Genre(s): Comedy / Drama
Miramax || R - 107 minutes - $29.99 || August 25, 2009
Reviewer: Tyler Thomas || Posted On: 2009-08-24

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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.

.:: A U D I O ::.

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Director: Greg Mottola
Writer(s): Greg Mottola (written by)
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Bill Hader, Kristen Stewart, Ryan Reynolds

Theatrical Release Date: April 3, 2009

Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • 1 Featurette
  • Deleted Scenes

Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Iím a pretty big fan of Ryan Reynolds. In fact, Iíve had numerous discussions with people about how heís an underrated comedy star who is always on his game in the movies heís in. While he may not be a bankable star (yetÖ donít worry his time will come) it does always seem like he brings his A-material to every flick he stars in. That being said, and the proper setup required for this review, Adventureland breaks that streak.

James (Jesse Eisenberg) is getting ready to go to New York and go to college after graduating high school. The bad news is that his parents donít have the money for his graduation party and are now somewhat broke, and heís not going to go anywhere on vacation or have a lavish college experience. To help pay for the bills and save some money, he decides to work at the local amusement park, aptly named Adventureland. He manages to get a job there against his will by asking the manager Bobby (Bill Hader) to work for the rides but gets stuck working in the games department. Yes, itís those types of games that you win crappy prizes for that are probably worth ten cents but you pay thirty bucks to win them. I donít judge, as I do it all the time.

One day a customer threatens James unless he gets a big panda as a prize, and Em (Kristen Stewart) manages to come in the nick of time and save his hide. The two strike up an immediate friendship, and after smoking some weed and drinking and driving, which was apparently the hip thing to do in the 1980ís, head to a party. They bond even more but James has been hurt before and is reluctant to get close, and it turns out that Em is dating someone but he doesnít know that. Soon after James meets the maintenance man, Connell (Ryan Reynolds), and confesses his love after only the second date to Em. See, it turns out that the guy Em is dating is none other thanÖ Connell! Oh, did I mention the fact that Connell is also married? Ouch, thatís got to burn just a little bit doesnít it? Can James win the girl of his dreams, save enough money to go to college, and not drink and drive like Em does the entire film? Or will he crash his car into a tree and lose the girl of his dreams?

Thereís a really good reason as to why this film flopped in theaters: itís not funny. The jokes are just not there. Hader is miscast, yet again, as the crazy psycho boss with a few lines that arenít funny and his antics are just getting stale. Reynolds has a laugh or two as Connell, but one is at the start and the other is somewhere else. I give credit to Eisenberg for trying hard, but this just isnít his vehicle. His lines come off as forced, and itís just not believable that Em and his character could be a couple ever.

To me, this movieís previews had it seem like it was a romp in a theme park that was hellish and horrible. Instead, it focused more on the emoness that is inside Em and the rest of the boring, dull cast.


Commentary with Greg Mottola and Jesse Eisenberg: Eisenberg reminisces about the scenes heís in as the movie progresses, and Mottola talks about the overall goal of the movie and its meaning. Itís insightful, but not something I think most people will sit through so you can skip this.

The Making of Adventureland (16 minutes): The cast and crew talk about their roles in the film and obviously the making of it. This isnít that funny, as thereís not a lot of value here that people will find either entertaining or informative.

Deleted Scenes (3 minutes): There are only three scenes here, and honestly the only one thatís funny is the first one. The other two are dull and can be skipped.


For a primarily outdoor film, this one looks great for the most part. Colors are bright and vibrant, but at times they are a smidge too much in both categories. A few of the t-shirts tended to bleed a little bit, and at times I didnít really see any depth in the color scale. Colors themselves look how they should, which is a giant plus, but I just wasnít impressed with the overall detail of the video presentation. Black levels were decent although I did notice some major areas filled with grain, mainly during the nighttime scenes at the park. Itís not a bad transfer, but it is one that needed some work done.

The audio on the other hand needs a major overhaul. The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is light on the audio, and even lighter on the dang surround. I only recall my back speakers being used a handful of times, at best, throughout the long duration of the flick. Dialogue levels were low and inconsistent, and I had to crank up the volume to hear some of the characters. There are a few scenes in particular that I couldnít make out what the cast was saying, but I managed to follow along anyway. I was heavily disappointed with this track, as for a new release these sorts of things shouldnít be happening with inconsistent or too low audio tracks.


Adventureland came and left theaters rather quietly, and will probably do the same when it releases on DVD. Itís not a ďcomedyĒ by any means as I think I only laughed maybe two or three times, and I think it was just one of those uncomfortable laughs that happen from time to time when you donít know what else to do. The technical package isnít the best, and the special features are downright abysmal. Even as a big fan of Reynolds and Stewart, I think this is one you may not want to purchase a ticket for, but instead rent it first and judge accordingly. This is one land to visit, but only for a brief time.