Written by Greg Mottola

Directed by Greg Mottola

 Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart







Imagine Jesse Eisenberg (of “The Squid and the Whale”) as a new college graduate, ready to go to New York for graduate work in comparative literature at Columbia, suddenly brought back by his alcoholic father’s demotion and the need to earn money to help support the family.  No, I can’t either, but writer-director Greg Mottola evidently can.  In fact he’s got Jesse (whose name in the film is James Brennan), a kid from Pittsburgh, working this summer at Adventureland, not incidentally the name of the film, and a surprisingly popular place judging from the number of extras used to make the place popular.  James, who is assigned to run the (fixed) midway games, is enamored with Em (Kristen Stewart), as who would not be, since she is gorgeous, smart and an NYU student in the winter.  But, and there’s always a but in this kind of film, she’s sleeping with handsome Ryan Reynolds, the married handyman for Adventureland.


That summer, where James is among the oldest virginal males around, he is determined to lose his virginity, smoke as much marijuana as he can, and somehow get to New York.  Meanwhile, lots of fun is had by all the kids who work there, though not necessarily by us in the audience, including James’s oldest friend, who as a way of showing there’s no homoeroticism in this film, manages to hit James in his genitals every time they meet.  The games are fixed, the kids don’t care, they drink lots of their parents’ liquor, and pretty soon – though not soon enough for me – the summer is over. 


Kristen Stewart is so good she deserves more than another Judd Apatow film (he gets executive producer credit), but Jesse Eisenberg had better switch agents before it’s too late.  Writer-director Greg Mottola (“Superbad”) has no sense of how to film at an amusement park, so what we get are endless closeups of the principals without any sense of where they are.  What should have been a subplot involving the big-breasted sexpot Lisa P. whom every male in the film dreams of (Margarita Levieva) is thrown away by Mottola, because nothing ever comes of it.  Adventureland” seems to be another one of Miramax’s failures, released in what’s turning out to be a dreadful spring.