417) Adventureland (2009) Dir: Greg Mottola Date Released: April 2009 Date Seen: November 26, 2009 Rating: 3.75/5
In the space of just two films, director Greg Mottola has quickly established himself as a soppy, self-indulgent but endearing wee raconteur. Both Superbad and his follow-up Adventureland proudly indulge in the the boy's club atmosphere of the Apatow films and both tend to off-handedly smother the nugget of hard-won sympathy they earn in cheesy music video montages. And yet, in spite of those nagging problems, the emotional hard core of Mottola's films remains pure, especially in Adventureland, a film that almost manages to transform the puppy love of an angsty summer fling into anguished tragedy (that's a big almost though, as the film's final scene in New York is a truly dismal and unconvincing happy ending). The three participants in the film's main love triangle all hit their marks wonderfully: Jesse Eisenberg hems-and-haws like a hormone-chafed C-3P0 around Kristen Stewart, who pouts and mumbles very erotically while Ryan Reynolds glowers his way back into this fan's good graces (Reynolds' last good role was probably in ABC sitcom Two Guys, A Girl and a Pizza Place but then again, I haven't seen Waiting). Mottola gives them good material to work with and when he can get his mind off of compiling a soundtrack of his post-adolescence, the film is pretty affecting.