Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

The 'Land of the Lost 

Wednesday, May 13 2009
Drawn from Superbad director Greg Mottola’s own experiences working at a ramshackle suburban amusement park in the 1980s, Adventureland feels at once personal and generational, a Proustian madeleine for anyone who rode the roller coaster of post-adolescence while Iran-Contra was in prime time and Wang Chung on the radio. For self-serious aspiring travel writer James (Jesse Eisenberg), the summer of 1987 is supposed to be spent backpacking through Europe, until a family fiscal crisis forces him into the only job he can find, manning a games booth at a low-fi Pittsburgh fun zone, where the ride operators rule the roost and a leather-jacketed maintenance man (Ryan Reynolds), who claims to have once jammed with Lou Reed, exudes an air of impossible cool. The film centers on the virginal James’s courtship of a comely arcade attendant (Kristen Stewart, here tapping into an emotional reservoir that Twilight neither revealed nor demanded), who inspires him toward a newfound self-confidence, which he then nearly blows by succumbing to the tawdry temptations of a gum-chewing, bra-strap-baring ride girl. But if Adventureland inevitably traffics in certain clichés of teen and twentysomething relationship movies, Mottola cuts so swiftly to the underlying truth of those clichés -- to the euphoria and pain of youthful rites of passage -- that he leaves most of the genre looking especially plastic and shallow.
May 22-28, 2009

About The Author

Scott Foundas


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment


  • Third Eye Blind @ The Masonic
    Third Eye Blind performed on Sunday, July 26 at The Masonic to a sold out show with the support of Dashboard Confessional & Ex-Cops. Photographs by Christopher Victorio.
  • Morrissey @ San Jose Events Center
    The last stop for Morrissey serenaded the sold out crowd during his only Northern California date on Saturday, July 25 at the San Jose Events Center. Photographs by Christopher Victorio.

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed