Adventureland 2009 ***

Writer/director Greg Mottola’s follow up to Superbad doesn’t feature the same off-kiler, scabrous energy, but that’s no bad thing; the hero of Advertureland, James Brennan (Jesse Eisenberg), is a much mellower character, and his ambitions go beyond drinking and partying. Back in 1987, his ambitions lie in trying to hold down a summer job at the Adventureland theme park, with romance with Em (Kristen Stewart) a welcome distraction for discovering that the skewed rules of nailed-down coconuts are representative of the school of hard knocks that life is to offer him. Despite support from Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader, Adventureland is something more sensitive than a knockabout comedy, a rites of passage drama that’s as authentic and slightly grubby as the theme-park T-shirt Brennan wears throughout.


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