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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

The “Adventure” of adolesence

Published: April 24, 2009
Section: Arts, Etc.

I’ve seen numerous of films with my parents. Some of these movies I’ve viewed within the confines of my own home and others I have ventured out to the movie theaters to watch with them. This does not make me special (unfortunately I will have to unearth another way in which I’m unique). What I’ve found that separates me from many of my peers who attend the movies with their parents is the reason why. Whereas some individuals have to be coaxed (with the promise of the candy and the movie selection of their choice) to leave the comfortable nook they call their bedroom, I, on the other hand, relish the chance to view movies with my parents. I especially enjoy watching movies with them while in the theater. The elation I receive from being afforded the opportunity to select a movie that my parents are required to watch comes from that fact that these occasions happen once in a blue moon (maybe not a blue moon, because I’ve never actually seen one of those, but you understand what I’m getting at). Thus, when I am given the chance to choose a movie, I have to ensure the pick is inspired. It is for this reason, that over break I chose to have my mother take me to “Adventureland.”

“Adventureland” was marketed as everything teenagers want to see and everything that adults would want to skip over. Greg Motolla is of course the man who brought the masses “Superbad” (not exactly a family favorite, which I for the life of me can’t understand). Once again, Motolla finds himself in familiar territory with his newest film. Starring Jessie Eisenberg (“The Squid and the Whale”) and Kristen Stewart (“Twilight” fans rejoice) “Adventureland” tells the story of a recent college graduate who must take a job at an amusement park after his father is demoted. What the commercials left out is that Mottola’s humorous and witty screenplay is also a heartfelt coming of age story that sometimes moves into the darker territories that are usually glossed over by comedies. But, “Adventureland” is not a straight comedy. “Adventureland” is a dramedy, and a good one at that.

The movie excels as it masterfully mixes two genres that at times can be difficult to bring together. For those looking for comedy, it doesn’t get much better than Kristin Wiig and Bill Hader as the managers of the parks. Need drama? Stewart puts together a strong performance as the “other woman” caught up in a married man’s (strangely casted as Ryan Reynolds) affair. However, it is Jessie Eisenberg as the male protagonist, who like the movie he is starring in blends both comedy and drama impeccably. It is a talent to be able to seamlessly switch from spouting humorous jokes about pot to conversing about issues that resonate today in the next scene. Eisenberg (in a role that could have been written for Michael Cera) has this talent and demonstrates it throughout the movie.

“Adventureland” could have very easily been split up into two different kinds of movie. One about teens and the wacky experiences over the course of one summer or a movie about a teenager’s struggle to earn money for school. Both of these hypothetical movies have been made in one capacity or another (there are too many of them to provide an example). It is the joining of these two genres that make “Adventureland” a must-see movie. A must-see film for both adults and their children (especially those who feel the need to prove something to their parents with their choice of movie).