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Adventureland (2009)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  3 April 2009 (USA)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 117,633 users   Metascore: 76/100
Reviews: 215 user | 238 critic | 34 from Metacritic.com

In the summer of 1987, a college graduate takes a 'nowhere' job at his local amusement park, only to find it's the perfect course to get him prepared for the real world.

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Title: Adventureland (2009)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Ryan McFarland ...
Jack Gilpin ...
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Todd Cioppa ...
Velvet Touch Manager
Stephen Mast ...
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Adam Kroloff ...
Adult Contestant
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Molly Hatchet T-Shirt Guy
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Storyline

In 1987, James Brennan's dreams of a summer European tour before studying at an Ivy League school in New York City are ruined after his parents have a severe career setback. As a result, James must get a summer job to cover his upcoming expenses at the decrepit local amusement park, Adventureland, where he falls in love with a witty co-worker, Emily Lewin. In that bizarrely shady workplace, the young carnies have unforgettable and painful learning experiences about life, love and trust while James discovers what he truly values. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Long hours. Low pay. High times. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, drug use and sexual references | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

3 April 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Adventureland - Job d'été à éviter  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£210,671 (UK) (11 September 2009)

Gross:

£489,686 (UK) (18 September 2009)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader were only on set for four days. All scenes with their characters, Paulette and Bobby, had to be condensed and shot quickly due to their commitments to Saturday Night Live. See more »

Goofs

In the scene near the end where James, Joel and Frigo are sitting on the hill drinking, a stack of empty cans with the old-style pull tabs is seen next to James. Pull tab cans had been discontinued in the U.S. by 1987. See more »

Quotes

[People attend the horse game. James looks at Bobby and Paulette, who nod, and then decides to exaggerate]
James Brennan: Ladies and gentlemen, put down your mint juleps. Horses are all at the starting gate. Okay, and they're off! And Red bolts out of the gate, taking an early lead! But look out! Here comes Green, issuing a challenge from the outside lane. Green runs well on a muddy track, folks, so today's conditions might give him a slight edge. And Yellow is dead last! What a dissapointment after Yellow's ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

A commercial for the Adventureland amusement park can be seen during the end credits. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: Episode #8.109 (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Breaking the Law
Written by K.K. Downing, Rob Halford, and Glenn Tipton
Performed by Judas Priest
Courtesy of Sony BMG Entertainment (UK) Limited
By Arrangement with Sony BMG Music Entertainment
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Complex and Moving
1 September 2009 | by (Chicago) – See all my reviews

'Adventureland' is a melancholy voyage into the grey zone between adolescence and adulthood, school and career, lust and relationships, frivolity and responsibility. That is to say it is not 'Superbad' and that's supergood.

Upon graduating, comparative literature major James Brennan is informed that due to his father's recent demotion (alcoholism is an implied cause), the parents will not be funding his planned and hopefully transformative European vacation. James returns to his parents' Pittsburgh home with virginity and intellectual pretensions intact.

Still planning on attending Columbia Journalism School and needing funds, James seeks summer employment and settles for a job as a game both operator at Adventureland, a local amusement park that has seen better days. He is after all a comp lit major and not even qualified for manual labor.

Of course Adventureland is more than meets the eye. We're introduced to the interior lives of park employees. Extremely powerful performances are provided by Jesse Eisenberg, Martin Starr, Margarita Levieva, Ryan McFarland, and especially Kristen Stewart as James's sort of girlfriend Em.

These are not stock characters (with the exception of the ballbusting Frigo character, put here for childish laughs). The characters are emotionally and behaviorally complex. They wrestle with what it means to be young (or not so young) what it is to be in a relationship, the meaning of sex, employment, violence, drug use, fidelity, intellectualism, relationships with parents and their new spouses, the value of education. In short, what it means to be a person.

To enhance its verisimilitude, the film is mostly set to mid eighties tunes (Expose, The Mary Jane Girls, etc.). These songs are of the mid-eighties, but the film is set in 1987. It's a slight jab at the less than cutting edge nature of Pittsburghian society circa 1987. No matter, the film does not ridicule the zeitgeist. Rather, it takes seriously the emotional resonance of the sex, the music, the clothes, the hair, the ganja, the drinking, and the want to all involved (it was serious) and in so doing achieves poignancy.

The film touched me and not just because I was almost James's age living not too far from Pittsburgh in 1987, but because it addresses what it means to be on the shaky cusp of adulthood in such an honest way. A must see.


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kristin stewart's character GirlyBear
Kristen is so beautiful in this film. Catro
1987? Not really. Banana69
Cut the last scene Zosoerob
This was a FANTASTIC movie. tri_wizardchampion
Emilys hatred towards her step mom... silverstarcast
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