Sunday, April 19, 2009

Man on Film: Adventureland

I'm not going to write too much on this since it has been in the theaters for a while now, and there are two other films I expect to see in the next few days that should more than sate your Inconsiderate Prick film reaction needs.

Insofar as Adventureland is concerned, it was a nice little film. While it wasn't necessarily aiming for them, there were not a lot of moments filled with hearty laughs from the audience. It definitely fit the mold of the coming-of-age indie comedy--with Jesse Eisenberg (presumably playing writer-director Greg Mottola's younger self as he had actually worked at Adventureland in Pittsburgh) playing the part of recent college grad having to work for the summer before he is set to go off to grad school--and by fitting that mold I mean that it is more concerned with character and nuance than getting laughs with broad humor. Granted, there is an inordinate amount of nut-punching, but as it is the protagonist getting nard-knocked, the audience feels his pain, thus negating any laughs potentially derived from them.

As far as the film is concerned, it characters were fairly engaging, and Mottola accomplishes the feat of capturing the redeeming nuances of working in a largely meaningless and mindless jobs and he does so with more subtlety than others have tended to do. In movies like Waiting... or Empire Records, the filmmakers chose to have their characters be caricatures rather than real people, a mistake that Mottola does not make. Their banter isn't hampered by a departure from reality or embued with far too much cynicism and wit. While this may sound lame coming from someone who works in the service industry, real people do populate those jobs, and too often people in those positions are depicted as little more than simpletons in film and television.

While this is by no means a great film (after all, Kristen Stewart is in it), Adventureland is certainly worth throwing in your NetFlix queue or taking in when it makes the rounds on the premium movie channels in nine months or so. And Martin Starr is in it, which should make you want to watch it anyway.

And no, Weibel, Kristen Wiig is not irritating in this one either.
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