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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Adventureland Review

Going into this film I braced myself for Superbad’esque antics playing out in an 80’s era theme park, I mean that’s what the commercial said right? The first fifteen minutes of the film can only be compared to the feeling one gets when witnessing a truly awful comedian fizzle on stage. The material was there; Eisenberg as the Michael Cera stand in, Frigo as the slapstick catalyst, and of course "Adventureland" as the land of boundless comedic opportunity but the delivery simple wasn’t funny. If your settling in for a negative review you couldn't be more wrong. It was charming, refreshing, pure, sincere and incredibly realistic. Too truly enjoy this film, one must be prepared to shed any preconceived notions based on the advertisements. I can only describe the commercials as false advertising. This is not a comedy in the conventional sense; although it does have its share of chuckle worthy moments. The more I watched this movie the more I felt for the characters. Eisenberg, who at first struck me as a Cera stand in truly found his niche as the movie progressed and I left the theatre wondering where life would take him. Martin Starr also crafted a truly unique and dense character who one couldn’t help but sincerely care about by the time the credits rolled. The most pleasant surprise in this film had to have been Kristen Stewart. Fresh off her one dimensional angst’ ridden portrayal of Bella in Twilight to say my expectations for her were low is an understatement. What she delivered was something special. I was totally drawn in by her unique magnetism, and as Eisenberg fell for her I was wisped away for the ride.

Each supporting character was so real, so raw, so and so believable that I couldn't help but lose myself in this film. You didn’t watch it, you lived it. Mottola fearlessly stripped away every Hollywood cliché, every opportunity for a far fetched slapstick shtick (and there were many) and what remained was something unique and compelling. At the end of the film there is no life altering resolution, no monumental truth or message, Eisenberg is just as confused and directionless but he has now learned to appreciate and revel in the randomness of life. By the very same token, to truly appreciate this movie one must learn to revel in the random and disjointed realism of the dialogue and plot and appreciate it for its beauty and honesty. This movie beats with a pulse of its own, you just have to be willing to feel it.

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