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Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Language, drug use and sexual references.
Kristen Stewart, Jesse Eisenberg, Ryan Reynolds, Bill Hader, Martin Starr, Kristen Wiig, Margarita Levieva
A comedy set in the summer of 1987 and centered around a recent college grad (Eisenberg) who takes a nowhere job at his local amusement park, only to find it's the perfect course to get him prepared for the real world.
Adventureland (2009) | Review
Love Is No Playground
Of course, because this is a summer teen love comedy, there's a girl. Her name is Em (Kristen Stewart of Twilight) and she's torn between the new guy, and the old guy. Literally. The park custodian, Connell (Ryan Reynolds), who supposedly once jammed with Lou Reed and who now messes around with the local music scene while hoping for a big break, is stringing her along while supposedly reconciling with his wife. And, of course, the other necessity for the comedy is that weed is a mandatory participation program for all involved.
But rather than being as funny as Superbad, the movie really seems to be aimed at finding some more metaphysical underpinnings. While everyone gets high, the conversations still often find themselves skimming into theology, like when James and one of the other carnies are in the spinning teacups, smoking pot, and end up talking about how James believes in love (not God). Now, interestingly enough, I'm of the opinion that God is love, so I have to consider that you can't have one without the other. But James' view of love comes from his own blend of Shakespeare and everything else (his poetry writing, his broken heart, etc.).
James' problems (his parents, his situation between Em and another carnie, his sometime friend, Frego) all seem pretty typical of teenagers, but it's the Shakespearean part that makes this one into a laugher from time to time. James doesn't know he shouldn't be talking to Em about a girl he's broken up with and he doesn't understand that asking the other girl not to tell Em about a date they share means it will automatically happen. James just doesn't get women!
In the end though, after massive miscommunications and outright stupidity, this proves to be a traditional romantic comedy where the two starcrossed lovers find themselves and each other. James proves to be a man who is a lot like Romeo: he may not get it right all the time, but his judgment is not served alone by what society tells him. He sees Em differently than she sees herself, not as the colossal failure in love (with Connell) but as the person who defended him, the person who stood up for someone's heritage, and the person (who seems) to live her life for herself.
Adventureland, in the very end, with all of its pockmarks and hiccups, shows us what happens when we see people the way God sees them. We see Em as James does, a person doing her best and trying to love justice and mercy, and for a moment, all of the junk washes off of Em and she is pure. Maybe that's the rain falling on the New York City streets as these lovers (who are not yet lovers physically in the moment) meet again, or maybe it's the love of James, unassuming and determined, that uncovers the best in all of us.
Copyright © 2009 Hollywood Jesus. All rights reserved.
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