ADVENTURELAND:

Movies have long acknowledged that experienced young females often take the lead when it comes to deflowering sincere but not so worldly guys. It’s one of the main storylines in this enjoyable romantic comedy about overqualified twentysomethings working at a second-rate amusement park circa 1987 where the games are rigged, corn dogs are borderline edible and every other song on the loudspeaker is “Rock Me, Amadeus.” In such a setting, one could expect to find colorful, unique characters, and director/writer Greg Mottola (SUPERBAD) delivers with an ensemble cast who feel perfect for their roles. Especially notable are Kristen Stewart (TWILIGHT) as a mature, beyond-her-years park employee and Ryan Reynolds (DEFINITELY, MAYBE) as the philandering head of maintenance. I can’t leave out Jesse Eisenberg (THE SQUID AND THE WHALE) who epitomizes male awkwardness in the ways of “getting past second base” while pulling off the task of being a player that viewers want to invest themselves in. Along with the fashions and Yo La Tengo’s musical soundtrack, the movie hones in on both the spirit and tone of the ‘80s with the sort of familiarity that makes you forget that it was over 20 years ago that all of the action is set. More than anything, ADVENTURELAND has a nice balance of both comedy and drama that possesses a natural narrative flow that seldom feels contrived. At a time when so many people are being force to work at crappy jobs beneath their skill levels, this film takes on an added timeliness even though the unlikely friendships that emerge from the narrative situations are realistic and identifiable enough to make you wonder what became of the characters once the rides shut down for the season.

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