Went to see Adventureland yesterday, which was a way better movie than it seemed to have the right to be.
I should probably start with a disclaimer: I have a giant, giant, ridiculous crush on Jesse Eisenberg, who has the lead in the film. It is out of hand and would completely blind my sight to any other film being bad with him in it. But to Adventureland‘s credit, it’s a pretty good movie with or without the cutest guy in the world.
The film, to the surprise of me and my movie-watching companion, was not so much a light teen sex comedy in the confines of an amusement park. It was a light teen drama about the realities of unidealized adult love with characters that are legitimately too intellectual to function in the real world.Stuck miserably in the confines of an amusement park.
James, the main character who “after this summer, would never be the same again”, has just graduated with a degree in Comparative Literature and Renaissance Studies.
Joel, his eventual best friend, is studying Russian Literature. Just as an aside, Joel is played by the incomparable Martin Starr (also known, to me, as Bill on Freaks and Geeks). He attempts at one point to show a girl he likes her by giving her a copy of a novel by Nikolai Gogol, which he prefaces with a brief and horrifying synopsis of Gogol’s life. Martin Starr is my hero.
James’ “complicated” love interest, Em, is petite and sharp and rather pretty and a perfectly played as the type of girl that a neurotic dork like James would fall in love with.
There’s the obligatory baggage that makes their story difficult to maneuver. Though it inevitably works out in the end. Sometimes I am pissed when things “all work out in the end”, this time I was just satisfied. I liked the characters so much that they required a bow-tied ending to allow me to smile when I walked out of the theater.
(I am trying to decide where to work this summer in hopes of meeting people like this. Perhaps they went extinct after ’87?)
The movie is also funny, just not in the more obvious way that other teen movies that I have loved like Superbad and Orange County are. Adventureland is funny in the mere construction of its setting. Adventureland is funny because the dumbasses that sometimes frequent amusement parks are funny. Adventureland is funny because really smart 20-somethings are sarcastic and observant. I liked that kind of a funny, just like how I enjoy the simple kind of drama that the movie had to offer.
There was also a whole hell of a lot of Lou Reed on the soundtrack, which more movies would benefit from.
Good, good stuff. And, of course, there’s a cute, cute guy.