Tag Archives: coming of age

Adventureland Review (spoiler-free)

Adventureland is not what I expected. Granted, my expectations were set solely by the movie poster. From that I gathered:

  • It takes place in the ’80s at an amusement park.
  • The stars are unknown (to me), but supporting cast includes Bill Hader, Kristin Wiig, and Ryan Reynolds.
  • It’s from the director of Superbad

You’re thinking ’80s movie parody, right? Maybe Wet Hot American Summer? Or perhaps an Apatow-ian version of One Crazy Summer, The Great Outdoors, or Meatballs.

It’s actually much, much smarter than that. It’s not so much a comedy as a coming of age story. There are laughs, for sure. Some big ones, even, but most of it is from subtle character commentary and reactions.

It utilizes a quintessential ’80s movie theme, however: a smart, young everyman who’s not confident with girls meets a cute, experienced, down to earth girl with problems at home. It’s more complicated than that, of course, and more realized than any comedy would portray.

However, the biggest differentiator from teen comedies is that these aren’t teens. We’re used to characters who have just graduated high school or are finishing senior year. But Adventureland‘s main character has just graduated college, and all the other characters are clearly over 21. Like in real life, this significantly changes the dynamics. It’s a refreshing change that makes it very easy for me to recommend this movie to adults. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.