6.8/10
147,519
240 user 262 critic

Adventureland (2009)

Trailer
2:29 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $3.99 on Prime Video

ON DISC
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.

Director:

Greg Mottola

Writer:

Greg Mottola
Reviews
Popularity
3,645 ( 237)
1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Action | Comedy | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A stoner - who is in fact a government agent - is marked as a liability and targeted for extermination. But he's too well-trained and too high for them to handle.

Director: Nima Nourizadeh
Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Connie Britton
Comedy | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

High school student Nick O'Leary, member of the Queercore band The Jerk Offs, meets college-bound Norah Silverberg when she asks him to be her boyfriend for five minutes.

Director: Peter Sollett
Stars: Michael Cera, Kat Dennings, Aaron Yoo
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

While his trailer trash parents teeter on the edge of divorce, Nick Twisp sets his sights on dream girl Sheeni Saunders, hoping that she'll be the one to take away his virginity.

Director: Miguel Arteta
Stars: Michael Cera, Portia Doubleday, Ray Liotta
Superbad (2007)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Two co-dependent high school seniors are forced to deal with separation anxiety after their plan to stage a booze-soaked party goes awry.

Director: Greg Mottola
Stars: Michael Cera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse
The Runaways (2010)
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A coming-of-age biographical film about the 1970s teenage all-girl rock band The Runaways. The relationship between band members Cherie Currie and Joan Jett is also explored.

Director: Floria Sigismondi
Stars: Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning, Michael Shannon
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Two fledgling criminals kidnap a pizza delivery guy, strap a bomb to his chest, and inform him that he has mere hours to rob a bank or else...

Director: Ruben Fleischer
Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Danny McBride, Nick Swardson
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A sleazy writer has a chance to redeem himself when he goes to stay with his grandmother and befriends the neighbors.

Director: Jonathan Kasdan
Stars: Adam Brody, Kristen Stewart, Meg Ryan
Speak (2004)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

After a blurred trauma over the summer, Melinda enters high school a selective mute. Struggling with school, friends, and family, she tells the dark tale of her experiences, and why she has chosen not to speak.

Director: Jessica Sharzer
Stars: Kristen Stewart, Elizabeth Perkins, Dick Hagerman
Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A Korean-American office worker and his Indian-American stoner friend embark on a quest to satisfy their desire for White Castle burgers.

Director: Danny Leiner
Stars: John Cho, Kal Penn, Ethan Embry
Zombieland (2009)
Adventure | Comedy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A shy student trying to reach his family in Ohio, a gun-toting tough guy trying to find the last Twinkie, and a pair of sisters trying to get to an amusement park join forces to travel across a zombie-filled America.

Director: Ruben Fleischer
Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson
Juno (2007)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Faced with an unplanned pregnancy, an offbeat young woman makes an unusual decision regarding her unborn child.

Director: Jason Reitman
Stars: Ellen Page, Michael Cera, Jennifer Garner
Just Friends I (2005)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

While visiting his hometown during Christmas, a man comes face-to-face with his old high school crush whom he was best friends with -- a woman whose rejection of him turned him into a ferocious womanizer.

Director: Roger Kumble
Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Amy Smart, Anna Faris
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jesse Eisenberg ... James Brennan
Kelsey Ledgin ... Arlene (as Kelsey Ford)
Michael Zegen ... Eric
Ryan McFarland Ryan McFarland ... Brad
Jack Gilpin ... Mr. Brennan
Wendie Malick ... Mrs. Brennan
Matt Bush ... Tommy Frigo
Todd Cioppa ... Velvet Touch Manager
Stephen Mast Stephen Mast ... Rich
Kristen Wiig ... Paulette
Bill Hader ... Bobby
Martin Starr ... Joel
Adam Kroloff Adam Kroloff ... Adult Contestant
Kristen Stewart ... Em Lewin
Kevin Breznahan ... Molly Hatchet T-Shirt Guy
Edit

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:

It was the worst job they ever imagined... and the best time of their lives. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 April 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Adventureland - Job d'été à éviter See more »

Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,722,039, 5 April 2009

Gross USA:

$16,044,025

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$17,164,377
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The young child that won the horse race carnival game is played by critically acclaimed actor Matt Cook known for his breakout role in the Fox Network's Glee. See more »

Goofs

The man that throws the piece of trash at Bobby is wearing Zubaz. Zubaz weren't invented until 1989. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
James Brennan: Are we doing this?
Em Lewin: Yeah, I think we are.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Featured in Hollywood's Top Ten: Ryan Reynolds Movies (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Libiamo (La Traviata)
Music by Giuseppe Verdi
Lyrics by Francesco Maria Piave
Courtesy of DeWolfe Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Genius, tender romance mismarketed as teen sex romp
3 April 2009 | by ametaphysicalsharkSee all my reviews

There will be a backlash against "Adventureland", or at least a disappointed reaction from some. The reason being that the film was marketed as another raunchy-sweet comedy from the Apatow empire, when in fact it has almost nothing to do with those films, and is very different from most of writer/director Greg Mottola's previous film "Superbad" (which is great in its own way, but it's nothing like this film). It is a tender, intimate romance surrounded by goofball humor, but the extent of the 'dirty jokes' in this movie is Jesse Eisenberg's character James getting out of the pool at a house party with an erection.

The movie is a sentimental (not sappy, mind), very personal, journey through the summer of 1987 for recent college grad and deep thinker James Brennan (played superbly by Jesse Eisenberg), whose plans for the summer fall apart (due to Reaganomics affecting his father's income) resulting in him having to get a crappy job at the titular amusement park. There he meets Em, played by Kristen Stewart, and the romance, which is the focus of the film, begins. This is very, very far removed from the slob-meets-babe formula common in comedies in recent years. James is a virgin, true, a 22 year old one at that, but that has far more to do with the character's tentative nature than any 'quest' to get laid (ala "The 40 Year Old Virgin", which works on its own terms of course, but is again nothing like "Adventureland"), and he is far from bad looking. Em isn't a dolled-up 'hot chick' with perfectly styled hair and perfect style, she's moderately well-dressed and naturally beautiful, but wears makeup in a grand total of two scenes, and is actually NOT the 'babe' in the film (that's Margarita Levieva as Lisa P, who, though the 'babe', is not the sought-after one).

I am finding it hard to describe exactly why I loved this film as much as I did, but I think it mostly comes down to subtle, wonderful writing by Mottola, who was obviously telling a personal story here and did a great job of it. The screenplay is a funny, poignant take on post-collegiate angst and love, with some elements of social satire, and its focus is one of the most memorable and wonderful romances in quite some time. This romance makes Stewart's breakthrough hit "Twilight" seem even more offensively dumb, because of just how real it is.

Mottola, who absolutely nailed "Superbad" as a director, does even more with "Adventureland". His work with the actors is perhaps most notable. Bill Hader does what he did in "Superbad" and Matt Bush plays a slapstick role as Tommy Frigo, but everyone else is given more emotional poignancy and range to work with. Ryan Reynolds has abandoned his trademark smarmy shtick for a straight role in the film. As noted by Nathan Rabin in his review of "Adventureland", in a lesser film Reynolds (a failed attempt at a 'rock star' who is in an unhappy marriage and is having an affair with Em, and who is a loser to everyone but the deadbeats younger than him at the amusement park) would be a villain, James Brennan's adversary in a typical love triangle. In "Adventureland" he's a real person, and a rather tragic character. Not a nice guy, not a bad guy either. Martin Starr is great in the main supporting role as Joel. Mottola's direction is fantastic visually as well, with every scene brimming with intensity when it needs to be and the comedic timing again excellent. His use of music is absolutely spot-on, and if you thought the funky greatness of the "Superbad" soundtrack was good wait until you hear this low-key but incredible soundtrack made up almost entirely by great 80's pop songs (and not the mainstream garbage). Great musical score by Yo La Tengo as well.

The film is ultimately such a massive success I think due to Kristen Stewart. I knew she was a capable actress but did not know that she was this terrific. She is transformed into Em for the entirety of the film, and is overwhelmingly intense for the entirety of her performance, whether the raw (but not even close to raunchy) sexuality of her scenes with Eisenberg (and boy do they have a rare sort of chemistry) or the understated sadness of her scenes with Reynolds. Eisenberg and Stewart are so wonderfully understated with their performances that their romance feels realer than anything I've seen since Zooey Deschanel and Dan Schneider in David Gordon Green's "All the Real Girls". This might be a familiar journey but the treatment of Reynolds' character is only one thing Mottola does different from the John Hugheses of the world. Everything about this film is just more real and more understated than so much of what we've seen done with similar things.

The film has one or two scenes where plain lust is the focus, and absolutely none where the movie becomes about sex jokes. That James is a virgin is a side note, part of the character and nothing more. It couldn't be less about James wanting to bed Em, it couldn't be more about him being totally in love with her. Although critics are falling over themselves to praise the film (89% on RottenTomatoes at the time I'm writing this and a score in the high 70's on Metacritic) some have called it 'ordinary'. Perhaps much of the public will agree with that minority of the critics, but the film thrives on capturing 'ordinary moments'. The simple beauty of James, Em, and Joel watching fireworks on the 4th of July or a marijuana-fueled bumper car round scored to "Just Like Heaven" by The Cure. That's what this film is about. It's wonderful, it's beautiful, and if it's not a sleeper hit this year then it will eventually become a cult classic. It's something special, that much I know for sure.


314 of 358 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 240 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed