By Ron Millennor, Executive Sports Producer
Where can you find an AMC Pacer, acid washed jeans, fondue and a good time? Adventureland. I really, really enjoyed this movie. This isn't your run-of-the-mill teen sex comedy. It's funny, sweet, thoughtful and intelligent. The movie takes place in 1987 and follows James Brannen, (played perfectly by Jesse Eisensberg) a bright, but socially naive young man, through a summer of fun, turmoil and love.
James, who has just been dumped by his girlfriend of 11 days, is planning a trip to Europe before attending Cornell in the fall. But his plans are shattered when his parents tell him at a graduation dinner that dad has been demoted and there will be no Europe and probably no Cornell. They suggest he get a summer job to help raise money for his Ivy league education. He winds up taking a degrading, minimum wage gig at a white trash theme park called Adventureland run by Bobby and Paulette (the hilarious duo of Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig of Saturday Night Live).
On the job James meets and falls quickly in love with a co-worker, Em (the sullen and sexy Kristen Stewart). Em is tortured by the death of her mother and the shallowness of her stepmother...so she veils her pain by having an affair with a married co-worker, Connell (Ryan Reyolds). Connell is not only an aspiring rock star but also a slimy chick-magnet who uses his mom's house for all of his sexual rendezvous.
Em is torn between the sweet, innocent James and the slick-talking, good-looking Connell. Eventually she realizes that Connell's nothing but a cad and that James comprises everything she wants and needs in a man. But just as Em's dumping her married lover James learns of the illicit affair and seeks revenge by spilling the beans about her liaison to one of his Adventureland co-workers. Of course, the news spreads like wildfire and Em quits her job and leaves town. That's not how the movie ends, however I won't give it away other than to say the story does stay true to the characters.
Writer-Director Greg Mottola (Superbad) has written a brilliant, funny script that, in some ways, reminds me of Fast Times At Ridgemont High. There's even a Jeff Spicoli-type character, Joel (played wonderfully play Martin Starr), who steals every scene he's in. I highly recommend that you take a trip to Adventureland, you'll really enjoy the ride.