Remember in the Nineties when it became briefly cool to make movies about slacker teens just livin’ the life, usually during summer vacation, usually drunk. These films all took place in that magical decade that historians refer to as ‘the Seventies’, a wondrous era where gas was mega-expensive, disco was birthed unto the world, and high school girls stayed the saaaaame age.
Why did so many of these wistful, semi-coming of age stories get set in one of the dullest eras in American history? The reason was simple – it just happened to be the same point in time when young 90’s directors themselves had been getting swirlies in the boy’s locker room and striking out with girls at the school dance. It was a time of tears and acne for the film nerds of yesteryear, and they decided to take it all out on us by subjecting audiences to their tepid re-imaginings of what their youth might have been like if they all hadn’t been such total losers.
Well guess what – there’s been a changing of the guard, and thanks to an infusion of fresh blood into the Hollywood system we can kiss those Seventies popcorn flicks goodbye and say hello to the new time period destined to elicit misty, watercolor memories: the Eighties. That’s right – no more Lynyrd Skynyrd and Trans Ams, because it’s time to move on to high-top sneakers and Member’s Only jackets.
This is exactly the premise of the film Adventureland. This boring retread of a million other lost summer plots deals with the local stoners, deadbeats and yes, amusement park maintenance men who live in the Pittsburgh area circa the Me Decade. It turns out that someone wants to go to college, but get this – his dad lost his job so now he can’t. Oh, and double get this – he has to work at a dead-end summer job in order to save up cash for his dreams. All that is missing is a retarded sibling or an alcoholic uncle in order to turn this plot into a candidate for Best Screenplay.
The main players in Adventureland are Kristen Stewart, who spends the entire film non-acting as the local stoner / binge-drinking fuck toy, and Jesse Eisenberg, who must have been cloned from Michael Cera’s left nut as both the physical and personality resemblances between the two are uncanny. It’s almost like they created Eisenberg in a lab to keep the stream of cash-cow awkward teen comedies coming after Cera’s body is inevitably found dead in an alley with a needle in his arm. Rounding things out is Ryan Reynolds, who has entered the Matthew Lillard stage of his career where he creepily plays ‘young’ characters interacting with ‘jailbait’ characters. And by ‘interacting’ I mean ‘penetrating’.
Don’t waste your time with Adventureland. If you grew up in the Eighties, then you’ve seen it all before firsthand, and honestly, who wants to revisit that shit-hole decade. If you grew up in the Nineties, let me tell you now, so there’s no mistake: the Eighties WERE NOT COOL. So please, take off your giant plastic sunglasses and rainbow leg-warmers because you look like a fucking idiot.
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