ADVENTURELAND is a quiet little drama focusing on the love-lives of a bunch of teenagers working in the eponymous lo-rent amusement park for a summer in the late 80s. Indeed, it's such a sweet, real film that it's hard to believe it was directed by the same guy who made the crass SUPERBAD. Jesse Eisenberg (THE SQUID AND THE WHALE) plays a nice kid, smart, with dreams of summer travelling through Europe. When his parents can't pony up the cash, he ends working in an amusement park. He falls for an emotionally distant girl called Em (Kristen Stewart), who despite her difficulties is also intelligent and sensitive. But, true to life, our hero is distracted by the standard-issue hot chick egged on by the guy (Ryan Reynolds) who Em is already seeing. I love this film because it feels real - anyone who's spent a summer working a shitty job, feeling that their life is on hold, feeling under-appreciated can relate. And anyone who's ever made a dumb decision in a relationship, knowingly, but unable to resist can relate to. Jesse Eisenberg impresses again, but it's Kristen Bell who really struck me as a good actress, in a nuanced performance so much more interesting than that TWILIGHT schtick.
ADVENTURELAND played Sundance 2009 and opened in the US, Canada, Turkey, Australia, Iceland, Argentina, South Africa, Estonia, Italy, Romania, Hungary, Ecuador and Germany earlier this year. It is currently on release in the UK and opens in Spain in two weeks time.