April 12, 2009 by MK
It’s really hard to make a sweet movie. There are only a few directors that pull if off with anything approaching consistency. Cameron Crowe is probably the best we have when it comes to depicting the romanticism of youth and the earnest striving for love. He did it first with Say Anything, a movie about that great seeker, Lloyd Dobler and his boombox-enhanced mission statement. It is in this spirit we come to Greg Mottola’s Adventureland.
In following the path of James Brennan (Jesse Eisenberg), we get Lloyd Dobler if he was too intellectual for his own good. The beauty of Lloyd was he could focus on a few things without muddying up the waters — Diane Court, Kickboxing and… Diane Court. James is more complex than that and tends to get in his own way. But First Love has a way of simplifying the world down to one thing and one thing only: That Girl. And That Girl, in this case, is Kristen Stewart, an actress who should be far too young to convey impenetrable, but as Em, she somehow pulls it off.
Mottola gives us characters wandering through the drift of post-college graduation, looking for something/anything to use as a launching pad. In the case of James and Em, the launching pad never really appears, so they do what you have to do in that situation: “Shit your pants and dive in and swim.” Losing the money you saved to go to New York city is beside the point. You still gotta go. And imperfect people find ways to mess up great relationships. Doesn’t matter. Buy the ticket, take the ride. It’s Adventureland.
Diane Court: Nobody thinks it will work, do they?
Lloyd Dobler: No. You just described every great success story.
The MDL Review: 4 stars out of 4.