EXPECTATIONS: I thought Superbad was a fantastic movie. It had this really nice mix of dumb, funny teen stuff, with likable characters that we were given a pretty decent amount of screen time to get to know. Adventureland is the next film from director Greg Mottola, and looks to be more of the same, so I expect I will like this.
REALITY: This is yet another enjoyable Mottola nostalgia fest. Set during 1987, with a pretty constant '87 musical soundtrack accompanied by some original and appropriate additional tunes by Yo La Tengo; we follow James (that kid from The Squid and the Whale) as he goes through a 'coming of age' summer. His parents' cash graduation present falls through, so James has to spend his summer working at a crappy carnival with rigged games, 'Adventureland'. There he meets Em (that chick who loves shiny skin) and falls head over heels in love with her. Complications arise, bla, bla, bla.
There aren't any major surprises here. We know where the film is headed pretty early on, but the characters are just so likeable. It's great to see Kristen Stewart in something I can enjoy because I think she's pulls off the 'I'm totally cool' vibe pretty well; Bill Hader has some awkward funny moments; and Ryan Reynolds plays a pretty authentic douchebag.
It ends in a nice way, a tiny bit ambiguous, just like Superbad did. This film gives a whole lot less on the laughs though. It's more like an odd nostalgic drama romance film. Still, pretty enjoyable.