Meet the new coming-of-age classic: ‘Adventureland’


Rated R

Grade: A

Now showing

Go ahead and clear a spot in your Blu-ray collection for “Adventureland.” After you see it on the big screen three, four times, you’re going to start thinking about how invariably necessary it is to file the film next to your copies of “The Breakfast Club,” “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and all the other time-honored, coming-of-age movies that reign.

This film is an insta-classic.

Set in the decade of the hour, the 1980s, this is the story of James Brennan (Jesse Eisenberg), a highly-intellegent college graduate who takes the worst summer job known to man in order to fund his way to grad school at Columbia.

In between working the game booths, staving off corn dog enthusiasts and cleaning up puke at the fun-tacular amusement park, he gets hit with the love bug -- an alluring arcade girl named Em (Kristen Stewart of “Twilight” fame). As James makes his way through his slice of the universe, hidden dreams and sexual exploration tap him on the shoulder.

The quick-witted ride through innocence, idealism and reality is augmented by a long list of talented actors including Ryan Reynolds (“Smokin’ Aces,” “Just Friends”), Martin Starr (“Knocked Up,” “Superbad”) and “Saturday Night Live” cast members Kristen Wiig (“Knocked Up”) and Bill Hader (“Superbad,” “Knocked Up”).

“Adventureland” was written and directed by “Superbad” director Greg Mottola, who based the film on his own experience working at the real Adventureland in Long Island, N.Y., after graduating from college.

Recounting his experience in the production notes, Mottola said: “I should have had a good job -- I should have been a tutor or gone to Manhattan and been an intern at a magazine or something respectable -- but no, I was working for minimum wage, handing out stuffed animals to drunk people. And there’s something about doing that when you’re not really a teenager anymore that makes it more unsettling.”

The raw, humanistic emotion that comes with that unsettlement makes for an intelligently funny film, one that can be appreciated by anyone who has ever been through “growing up.”

‘Adventureland’ Soundtrack

The soundtrack for “Adventureland,” which features songs from The Replacements, Lou Reed, New York Dolls, David Bowie, Yo La Tengo and Big Star, is as good as the film. Check it out