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Adventureland - comedy DVD review
ADVENTURELAND Rated by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 5 stars
Featuring: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristin Stewart, Martin Starr, Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, Ryan Reynolds
Director: Greg Mottola   Studio: Miramax
DVD release: 25 August 2009   Runtime: 107 minutes
(1 disc)
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC

DVD features: Aspect ratio 1.85:1, Audio (Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound - English, French), Subtitles (English SDH, French, Spanish), Commentary (writer/dir. Greg Mottola, actor Jesse Eisenberg), Just My Life: The Making of Adventureland, Deleted scenes, Sneak peeks

Adventureland is the latest release from Greg Mottola. Mottola, who also directed Superbad, has crafted a fine film here, and I can't imagine anyone leaving disappointed.

James, a college student played by Jesse Eisenberg, is looking forward to spending the summer in Europe with this buddies but has his hopes dashed when his parents are unable to help him financially. Forced to make ends meet on his own, his attempts to find summer employment lead him to a somewhat rundown amusement park. After navigating the easiest interview ever, he is the newest employee of Adventureland. On his first day, he is paired up with Joel, an older employee wise in the ways of the park and its denizens. Joel is played by Freaks and Geeks actor Martin Starr, who shines in every scene he has.

Other co-workers include Twilight's Kristen Stewart and The Proposal's Ryan Reynolds. Stewart plays Em, an obvious romantic twist for James and a marvelously conflicted character in this film. Reynolds plays the park maintenance technician with his usual glee and charm. While this character strays somewhat from his usual roles, he's a splendid addition. Rounding out the main cast list are Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig. Fans of Saturday Night Live will recognize them and relish their performances as the mildly eccentric owners of the theme park.

If I have any complaints about Adventureland, it's that it is billed as a comedy. All the reviewer quotes on the DVD packaging play up the comedic aspects; while very funny, it's not fair to slap a comedy label on this film. It plays better as a coming-of-age drama, and a damn fine one at that. Getting lost in this surprisingly thoughtful movie is easy with its well-rounded and sympathetic characters - not to mention the rocking soundtrack that wastes no time setting its time and place in the '80s.

Adventureland is a great film - just don't call it a comedy. It's better than that.
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reviewed by Ryan Strampe
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