David’s Adventureland Review

25 Aug

Since Adventureland came out on dvd today, I thought it was a good time to put a review up for a movie that we missed reviewing while it was in theatres.  It won’t help you decide what to see at the cinema this weekend, but it might help you if you want to stay in.

Adventureland surprised me.  I had heard from various sources that it was NOT the next comedy from the Judd Apatow machine, but it was still hard not to have a few preconceived ideas along those lines going into the theater.  I mean, I loved Superbad, but it was hard for me to see Greg Mottola doing much different from that in his next effort in feature film direction.  But Mottola, along with Adventureland, surprised me.  I failed to take into account the fact that Superbad was written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, while Mottola penned Adventureland himself.  I also failed to take into account that directors can direct whatever they want.  I mean, Ron Howard directed Frost/Nixon last year, but I happen to own another film he did called Night Shift that’s not quite as critically acclaimed.

But all that is to say, Adventureland surprised me.  I would have had a good time going to a 1980’s version of Superbad, but I enjoyed what I saw a lot more.  I really loved the story.  I really loved it, because I really believed the story.  Mottola did an amazing job of creating characters that were hilarious, but in the way that your college roommate is hilarious.  I cared about the characters because I felt like I had known most of them at some point in my life, and I had sincerely enjoyed the time I spent with them.  So, consequently, I sincerely enjoyed the two hours, or however long it was, that I spent watching this movie.

Mottola’s writing and directing are not the only part of making these characters great.  This movie had excellent acting all the way around as well.  Jesse Eisenberg was perfect in the lead role of James Brennan, a brilliant, but confused college graduate.  Kristen Stewart pulled off the confused/angry/injured/bitchy/innocent/guilty teenage girl much better than most actresses I’ve seen.  And Ryan Reynolds was also very good in a character that was actually a lot less likable than most of the ones he plays.  But just like Superbad, the movie is made with the supporting characters.  You wouldn’t have a story without the lead characters, but you wouldn’t fall in love with the story without the supporters.adventureland

Martin Starr once again plays the supportive best friend that he perfected in Freaks and Geeks and Knocked Up.  In fact, watching this movie is almost like looking in on Bill Haverchuck (from Freaks and Geeks) seven years after the show ended.  He’s there for his friends, but is definitely more of a loner.  He does his own thing regardless of what everyone thinks.  And his self-esteem is the lowest of the entire cast.  All of which combines to make you almost heart-broken that he’s not your best friend.

Starr is backed up by Matt Bush as Tommy Frigo.  Bush had an almost non-existent resume before this movie, but I predict he gets more offers after this performance.  I take that back.  He should get more offers, I don’t have any idea if he will or not.  Tommy Frigo is every person I was friends with in high school rolled into one person.  And Bush played it perfectly.  I laughed very hard every time he was on the screen because, once again, I knew this person.

And finally, we have Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig.  I love that these two are married in this movie.  They’re both shining examples of what Saturday Night Live can be, and they’re both the go-to people for smaller, but usually funnier, roles.  And to combine them into a married couple on this was nothing short of genius.  Which goes along with the rest of the movie perfectly.

I loved this movie.  I loved the characters.  I loved the story.  I loved the setting.  I loved the music.  It’s a great movie.  It’s not perfect, I can’t think of any movie that is besides maybe The Muppet Movie, but I didn’t notice anything wrong with it while I was watching it.  I just sat there and enjoyed it.  Which is exactly what movies are supposed to make you do.  So I guess in a way it is perfect.

games games games,

david

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