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Adventureland (2009)

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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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1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Arlene (as Kelsey Ford)
Ryan McFarland ...
Jack Gilpin ...
Mr. Brennan
Mrs. Brennan
Velvet Touch Manager
Stephen Mast ...
Adam Kroloff ...
Molly Hatchet T-Shirt Guy


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


Nothing brings people together like a crappy summer job. See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

| |  »



Release Date:

3 April 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Adventureland - Job d'été à éviter  »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,722,039, 5 April 2009, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$16,025,394, 24 May 2009
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film takes place in 1987. See more »


When Em Lewin sits up from laying down in her bead (in the scene when 'I Want Action' is playing), she lifts her head straight up. The camera angle switches and suddenly Em's head is tilted and resting on her shoulder. See more »


Em Lewin: [yelling at Sue] You know you don't deserve to date Joel. I mean, you're an anti-Semitic asshole. What do you like hate gay people too? Do you support apartheid? You're not my friend!
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Crazy Credits

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


Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Zac Efron/Yeah Yeah Yeahs (2009) See more »


Written by Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

I Love the '80s
5 April 2009 | by See all my reviews

And I loved this movie.

I grew up in the '80s, and have always had a fondness for the decade. So much so that I've always thought that if I ever manage to write a screenplay, it will probably be set in that era. Until today, I hadn't seen a movie set in the '80s that I really loved, unless it was made back then. I learned to love movies in the '80s, and this one felt like it could easily have been made back then. It isn't like other '80s retro films that hit you over the head with winks and nods to the quirks of that era. You won't see anyone trying to solve a Rubik's Cube while doing the moonwalk in a pair of parachute pants and saying "totally rad."

You also won't see a Superbad retread (people have complained that the ads are misleading). There's lots of great laughs, but it comes mostly from subtle situational moments, not in-your-face punchline dialog. This is a character driven movie, and Jesse Eisenberg really shines in a very likable performance as the geekish underdog out to win the heart of the cool and beautiful but angst-ridden Kristen Stewart.

Most of the performances are wonderful, but the writing is what truly makes this movie great. Some of the most memorable moments involve the dark side of amusement parks. The real Adventureland park, where writer/director Motolla once worked, can't be too happy with this film. I imagine they might want to sue, if only that wouldn't bring even more news and attention to the shenanigans that occur there. I don't want to give away any spoilers, but "shenanigans" is putting it kindly.

The '80s was the decade where coming-of-age dramedies blossomed with great soundtracks, and Adventureland pays off in that regard as well.

Motolla himself has warned: "I hope people who grew up in the '80s don't assume it's not for them." Those who are expecting another raunchy teen romp like Superbad may be disappointed. These "kids" are probably old enough to drink legally, though that doesn't appear to be their drug of choice. This movie has more in common with Almost Famous and Outside Providence than it does with Superbad, and not just because it's semi-autobiographical. Though the humor isn't quite as prevalent as it is in Superbad, I found the laughter that it did evoke to be far more satisfying.

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