Director: Greg Mottola
Set in a decrepit Pittsburgh amusement park in the summer of 1987, Greg Mottola’s uncommonly temperate coming-of-age comedy is based on his own youthful experiences as a minimum-wage slave forced to toil in a pretend paradise.
James (Jess Eisenberg) is a virginal college grad whose plans for a trip to Europe have thudded to the ground. Bereft of cash and marketable skills, James gets a job as a ride operator at Adventureland, an erstwhile entertainment facility run by densely devoted couple Bobby and Paulette (Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig).
Life looks less bleak when James meets the gaze of comely co-worker Em (Twilight’s Kristen Stewart). Of course, another guy, Mike (Ryan Reynolds), complicates things.
Adventureland is a stealth comedy — the laughs are few but they sneak up on you and really deliver. More than that though, it’s a wise reflection of the awkward gap between boyhood and manhood.