Thursday, July 23, 2009

Adventureland: The Real Deal

Adventureland is not the kind of movie I would normally go for. I'm not a huge fan of "the makers of Superbad" and movies that portray the lives of young people trying to make their way in life tend to bore me. So when I went to see Adventureland, I wasn't expecting much, and I was surprised to discover that Adventureland is quite a good film.

This movie is real--the characters, the plot, everything. As a film major about to enter the real world, I can tell you that trying to get a summer job with a useless degree and no work experience is quite the daunting task, and James's (Jesse Eisenberg) lack of skill at finding a job hit home (a little too well). I too have discussed why being a humanities major is useless. Frequently. In much the same manner as these ex-students. So for me, this world is very, very real.

A great thing about this film is that it's NOT over the top. James and his coworkers do drugs, but they're not addicts or total losers; they're just kids unwinding after work. The movie's "hot chick" is attractive, but she's no model. You can still see why she's working at a theme park instead of running off to Hollywood. And the relationships have conflict, and they're not perfect. But most of all, the stories are not cookie-cutter narratives. James and Em (Kristen Stewart) hang out and get to know each other before anything happens, and when it does, they're not automatically in love forever. The film feels real because it's not perfect or stereotypical: it just follows a few college-aged kids going through their summer.

At the same time, it's not boring. There's a loose plot, but it's not so loose that you're wondering when you walked into an avant-garde film. It keeps you interested while still being realistic. That's what impressed me most about the film. Too often films that strive for realism give up an intriguing story to portray life as it is, but Adventureland beautifully melds both into a film that is definitely worth seeing.

So if you have a penchant for young adult stories or you're wondering what to do with your life, Adventureland was made for you. But even if this isn't your kind of movie, you might want to see it just because it is one of the few movies out there that actually tries to show something real.

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