The Collegian
Sunday, July 12, 2020

Movie Review: Adventureland

Grade: B -

Starring: Jesse Eisenburg, Kristen Stewart, Ryan Reynolds, Martin Starr, Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader.

What happens?

A kid in 1987 has to take a crap summer job at an amusement park. Then he falls in love.

Why it gets a B-:

This is a mosey movie--a flick where nothing really dramatic happens at its own unhurried pace. It's the type that's slightly too fast for stoners but too slow for everyone else, which is appropriate considering weed is its own character in this movie. Moseys are the movies that most resemble real, messy, dumb life.

All of that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Movies like this don't rely on you caring as much for the characters, but for yourself, and even then the message that bad experiences can lead to good ones isn't self-righteous. Their plots are also slow, uneventful, and, well, stoned, even if, unlike "Adventureland," there isn't any pot.

As far as all of that goes, this mosey movie does a fine job of settling you into the uneventful life of an American man-child as he falls in love for the first time. The only problem is that moseys mirror real life. Most people don't want to go to the movies to see a simple, ordinary tale of an incident they could have lived through last week.

The film's only faults just don't make any sense. First, the man-child is 22, and although he's dated a few girls, he still doesn't know not to stare creepily at his girlfriends and hasn't realized that if a relationship only lasts a week, it's probably not true love. Second, the man-child and his emotionally maladjusted girlfriend spend a solid portion of their romantic development with other people, and while the latter has real issues to deal with, the former just awkwardly messes things up because he can't make any decisions on his own. Third, and the most random of the three, the film is set in 1987. Why? That's the right question. There is no reason whatsoever for this movie to be based in 1987. That is, unless this writer or director thought that kids today don't get high, work at fairgrounds, have first loves, or listen to old classic rock. The only 1987-thing about this film is the music, and I still go to fairs and hear '80s music anyway.

In the end, it's a good "this is your life" movie if you already feel strongly that it is or is not the path you are taking. If you're unsure of your own life, "Adventureland" might just bring you down.

Contact staff writer Jordan Trippeer at

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