2 items from 2009
I’m not normally one for nostalgia, particularly when the sentimentality is packaged for consumption. So, as a child of the 80s, I was a bit wary of Adventureland, which sets its action in that most dubious decade. When 80s fashion and music recently got something of a second run, I recoiled as if somebody had put on a song from Poison and cranked the volume. One dose of Poison was enough, thank you.
Imagine my surprise, then, at feeling a deep, lasting nostalgia — bittersweet and vivid — that had me reminiscing about the good and bad times of my youth late into the night.
Writer/director Greg Mottola and his art & design team nail the period details; the high-waisted jeans and faded concert t-shirts, excessive lip gloss and hairspray, and use of long-gone phrases like "to the max!" all give the film an authentic air. More importantly, the music is just right. »
To college students graduating into the nightmare of the current job market, the floating, companionable uncertainty of "Adventureland" must look very agreeable. Greg Mottola's gentle comedy is set mostly in a Pittsburgh amusement park during the summer of 1987. The hero, James (Jesse Eisenberg), was expecting to spend the season traveling around Europe. But money troubles at home make it impossible for his parents (hangdog Jack Gilpin and Wendie Malick, with her bruised brightness) to finance the trip they've promised him. Even his place at Columbia Journalism School in the fall is uncertain.
Mottola, whose last film was the mostly marvelous teen comedy "Superbad," has a knack for capturing the way time stretches out in post-college limbo, and for the camaraderie to be found in lousy summer jobs, the sense that you and your coworkers are all in this bitch together. James befriends Joel (Martin Starr), a lanky, awkward student »
- Charles Taylor
2 items from 2009
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