Movie Review: Adventureland


By web gangsta | Published:

Rated R for language, drug use, puking, and dry humping in the back seat of what appears to be an AMC Gremlin.

Rating: C

The movie poster proudly proclaims that Adventureland is from the same director who brought you Superbad.  

Superbad was funny.  Adventureland isn’t.

What was promised, based on the trailers and advance press, was a film filled with wacky amusement park hijinks in the newly vogue retro teen-sex-comedy genre.

What we got was a flimsy love story between two fairly uninteresting kids who just happen to work at an amusement park.   You knew they were moody and misunderstood kids by the way they rolled their eyes whenever their dysfunctional parents spoke up.  This is not the film I came to see.  I wanted more Kennywood (where the film was shot), and less… angst.  The film didn’t need to take place at an amusement park – it could have taken place at a coffee shop, record store, after-school detention, or other overused movie-cliche locale.

Even the piece in the Los Angeles Times entitled ADVENTURELAND SHINES MOVIE SPOTLIGHT ON KENNYWOOD THEME PARK leads you to believe that the park is the focus of the story, mentioning the world-famous Thunderbolt; how the Musik Express ride was “one of the film’s signature gags”, and how filming caused extras riding on Wipeout to throw-up after their 10 minute ride was over.  The LATimes even made it a point to say “several of Kennywood’s classic wooden roller coasters played a starring role” in the film.  Yeah… not even close.

“Starring role,” you say?  I say, “Hogwash!”.

Adventureland is fairly mild.  It’s probably a good date movie, even if it stars a poor-man’s Michael Cera with Jesse Eisenberg.  Yeah, this would have been a different film with Cera and Jonah Hill in it.  Funnier, definitely.  But don’t go see it if you’re expecting to see cool amusement park action.

If you’re looking for a good amusement park portrayal in the movies, here is my TOP FIVE LIST OF THE BEST AMUSEMENT PARK FILMS:

  1. ROLLERCOASTER, starring George Siegel, Timothy Bottoms, Helen Hunt, and Sparks.  Filmed at Magic Mountain, Kings Dominion, and Pacific Ocean Park.

     
  2. NATIONAL LAMPOON’S VACATION, starring Chevy Chase. Filmed at Magic Mountain.

     
  3. WESTWORLD, starring Yul Brenner, Richard Benjamin, and James Brolin.  Filmed at Delos.   The original was a classic, and even spawned its own short-lived TV series.  Too bad the planned remake with Arnold Schwarzenegger is probably going to suck.

     
  4. FUTUREWORLD, the sequel to Westworld, that didn’t suck as bad as it could have.  A poker playing robot that’s missing a face?  Awesome.  Sex in space?  Still trying to figure out how Delos worked out the anti-gravity stuff while still on Earth.

     
  5. KISS MEETS THE PHANTOM OF THE PARK.  Starring KISS.  Also filmed at Magic Mountain.
     

2 thoughts on “Movie Review: Adventureland

  1. chemical_echo

    Ok, I haven’t seen the movie yet (hopefully tomorrow), but I have read a few reviews of the movie.
    Critics are loving it.
    Coaster enthusiasts; not so much.

    Enthusiasts are saying that there’s not enough Kennywood in the movie and that’s what they are paying to see. All I have to say to that is: seriously? The movie is not about Kennywood, or Adventureland, it’s about a crappy summer job the protagonist takes to make some money, and ends up falling for a female employee and making some friends. From that stand-point alone, the movie perfectly portrays employee life at a theme park.

  2. chemical_echo

    Ok, I haven’t seen the movie yet (hopefully tomorrow), but I have read a few reviews of the movie.
    Critics are loving it.
    Coaster enthusiasts; not so much.

    Enthusiasts are saying that there’s not enough Kennywood in the movie and that’s what they are paying to see. All I have to say to that is: seriously? The movie is not about Kennywood, or Adventureland, it’s about a crappy summer job the protagonist takes to make some money, and ends up falling for a female employee and making some friends. From that stand-point alone, the movie perfectly portrays employee life at a theme park. The only people going to see the movie for “cool amusement park action’ are enthusiasts, and hopefully only a small percentage of enthusiasts. I would like to believe that most are smart enough to realize this isn’t an amusement park movie.

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