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Adventureland (2009)


Average Rating: 7.3/10
Reviews Counted: 209
Fresh: 185 | Rotten: 24

Critics Consensus: Full of humor and nostalgia, Adventureland is a sweet, insightful coming-of-age comedy that will resonate with teens and adults alike.

Average Rating: 7.4/10
Critic Reviews: 47
Fresh: 41 | Rotten: 6

Critics Consensus: Full of humor and nostalgia, Adventureland is a sweet, insightful coming-of-age comedy that will resonate with teens and adults alike.


Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 250,141


Movie Info

Inspired by writer/director Greg Mottola's own true-life job-from-hell experience, Adventureland stars The Education of Charlie Banks' Jesse Eisenberg as an uptight recent college graduate who discovers that he'll have to get a degrading minimum-wage job at a local amusement park instead of spending his summer drinking German beer, visiting world-class museums, and flirting with cute French girls. It's the summer of 1987, and James Brennan (Eisenberg) has just graduated from college. James is … More

R (for language, drug use and sexual references)
Drama , Comedy
Directed By:
Written By:
Greg Mottola
In Theaters:
Aug 25, 2009
Box Office:
Miramax Films - Official Site



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Critic Reviews for Adventureland

All Critics (209) | Top Critics (47) | Fresh (185) | Rotten (24) | DVD (21)

As a sweet-natured character comedy - and a subtle exercise in generic boundary-pushing - this is a real charmer.

Full Review… | September 11, 2009
Time Out
Top Critic

The story is semi-autobiographical, but has a gentler touch than his prior work on Superbad, and certainly relies less on slapstick episodes.

Full Review… | April 6, 2009
New Yorker
Top Critic

Audiences expecting another dumb wallow will be startled, and I hope enlivened, by this movie's core of feeling.

Full Review… | April 6, 2009
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic

The youths of Superbad were a little bit younger, a little more likable, their dirty-virgin wit more hilarious [than in Adventureland].

Full Review… | April 3, 2009
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

Adventureland isn't as clever as Kicking, and not nearly as hilarious as Superbad, but it's still a sweet little memory ache, a Proustian cookie co-flavored with semiotics and Whitesnake.

Full Review… | April 3, 2009
New York Post
Top Critic

Adventureland earns its edge-of-adulthood sweetness and has characters with real hearts under their goofy T-shirts.

Full Review… | April 3, 2009
New York Daily News
Top Critic

It's a film of overwhelming goodwill. You'll like everyone in this movie, and you'll leave the theater thinking they would probably like you too.

Full Review… | June 22, 2013

The messages -- about silver linings in lousy jobs, the collision of hormones and heartstrings, and the adventure of discovering who you really are and what you really want -- ring honest and true, for any era.

Full Review… | September 29, 2011
American Profile

Adventureland is ultimately an interesting but flawed mixture of Mottolla's early indie sensibility (The Daytrippers) with some of the more mainstream teen comedy elements of Superbad.

Full Review… | August 26, 2011
IGN Movies

Adventureland's young cast is strong, and, when the film works, it captures the languid limbo of post-adolescent confusion and longing.

Full Review… | April 20, 2011
Metro Times (Detroit, MI)

A coming of age tale based loosely on the experiences of writer/director Greg Mottola, Adventureland is a surprisingly dense teen flick yet its unfortunate forays into religion bashing undermines its overall effect.

Full Review… | July 6, 2010
Matt's Movie Reviews

It's a bit slight and rambling, but also manages to engage us due to the sharply drawn characters

Full Review… | July 6, 2010
Shadows on the Wall

[Mottola has] done his job in making the work feel authentic, funny, and like a breeze to sit through.

Full Review… | February 23, 2010
Window to the Movies

Regardless of the well filled-out cast and the fact that it's structured like a comedy, Adventureland just isn't funny. There really aren't jokes and the overlong running time is mostly given to a standard budding romance.

Full Review… | November 12, 2009

Content to occupy that middle ground where insights are authentic but far from revelatory and comedy is more amiable than riotous.

Full Review… | November 6, 2009
Lessons of Darkness

A funny, touching and honest film about a serious 22-year-old neither embarrassed by nor exulting in his lack of sexual experience.

Full Review… | September 18, 2009
Observer [UK]

Without recourse to frilly cuffs or a montage to A Flock Of Seagulls' greatest hit, it plays the '80s card for something heartfelt.

Full Review… | September 18, 2009
Empire Magazine

Adventureland is reminiscent of indie movies like Breaking Away, Dazed and Confused and Clerks. You could put it another way and say it's not very original. Yet, watching the movie, you're too swept up in James's problems to care.

Full Review… | September 11, 2009
This is London

Its gentle charm and effortless eloquence personified by its winning lead, Adventureland is only marred by a rote final reel.

Full Review… | September 11, 2009

The whole enterprise is infused with a quality of feeling, an integrity, that is rare in such a commercial film.

Full Review… | September 11, 2009
Times [UK]

A tremendously funny and touching coming-of-age story, which he has set in the 1980s with a sprinkling of nicely chosen cultural references.

Full Review… | September 11, 2009

Like all films that strike a chord, you'll find yourself replaying your own memories as the credits roll on a comedy that fires the heart.

September 11, 2009
Little White Lies

Some may scoff at Adventureland for sailing too close to a tried and tested story formula, but it's funny, heart-warming and more meandering and whimsical than you'd expect from a mainstream Hollywood comedy.

Full Review… | September 11, 2009
Digital Spy

An Indie romcom which doesn't pile on the contrived quirkiness and instead concentrates on being believable, smart and sweet.

September 11, 2009
Heat Magazine

Wisely, Mottola doesn't try to reinvent the comedy wheel. He's simply taken the plot-free route of Superbad, made the like-for-like swap of Jesse Eisenberg for Michael Cera, upscaled the romance, downsized the slapstick.

Full Review… | September 11, 2009
Sky Movies

Audience Reviews for Adventureland


A movie set in the 80's some interesting charters with deent acting from Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart. Watching this though looked Stewart channeled some of her Bella Swan to this movie but with a little bit more empathy. A fun ride.

John Manard

Super Reviewer


Nothing brings people together like a crappy summer job.

Saw it again! Great Movie! To me this movie really touched me and I felt like a kid again seeing this film and hearing those 80's music hits and when I use to go to those fares. But this movie is much more than that, it reminded me of been a teenager and going thru the pressures of school and girls, having fun in summer with no worries, how been popular was and still is what everyone wants to be around friends in those years of there lives. The movie all round is pretty funny and has it's sarcastic moments with laugh out loud moments you will enjoy.

In 1987, James Brennan's dreams of a summer European tour before studying at an Ivy League school in New York City are ruined after his parents have a severe career setback. As a result, James must get a summer job to cover his upcoming expenses at the decrepit local amusement park, Adventureland, where he falls in love with a witty co-worker, Emily Lewin. In that bizarrely shady workplace, the young carnies have unforgettable and painful learning experiences about life, love and trust while James discovers what he truly values.

Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

A beautiful, well-written and well-filmed comedy that features impressive performances from Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart. Between the intimate cinematography to the wonderful soundtrack, Adventureland is a triumph, and a thoroughly enjoyable, honest treat.

Matthew Samuel Mirliani
Matthew Samuel Mirliani

Super Reviewer

A beautiful little movie about growing up and finding your first true love. I know, aren't there about a kazillion movies about this subject. Yes there are. This one stands a little bit above the crowd.

Lanning : )

Super Reviewer

Adventureland Quotes

Em Lewin: Wow. James Brennan: Hi. I just got off the bus. I'm a New Yorker now. I guess I should probably buy an umbrella. Em Lewin: I don't think I can see you. James Brennan: What? Em Lewin: This summer was rough. I did things that I really, really regret. James Brennan: Yeah, me too. I'm sorry I told Lisa P. about you and Connell. She told the rest of the world, but I'm not gonna lie. I was really angry at you but you didn't deserve that. Em Lewin: You know, James, I am so sorry for fucking this up. You were the only good thing that happened this summer. [starts to walk away] James Brennan: Wait, Em! I think I maybe see you a little differently than you see yourself. Yes I see the person who fucked up, but I also see the person who saved me from being knifed over a giant-ass panda, who introduced me to psychotropic chocolate-chip cookies, who stood up for Joel, and who doesn't make apologies for herself. Look, my theory is you can't just avoid everybody you screw up with. And you should trust me, I'm a New Yorker.
– Submitted by MarieBella C (2 years ago)
James Brennan: Look, am I gonna get in trouble? No one's ever supposed to lose a giant-ass panda. Em Lewin: Is it worth getting knifed over? James Brennan: No. Hi, I'm James Brennan. I just started. Em Lewin: Em, nice to meet you. Sucks you're gonna lose your job your second day, James. James Brennan: No. Shit! I need this job. Em Lewin: I'm kidding.You're okay. I'll tell Bobby you lost the panda at knife point.
– Submitted by MarieBella C (2 years ago)
Em Lewin: [yelling at Sue] You know you don't deserve to date Joel. You're an anti-Semitic asshole, what do you like hate gay people too? Do you support apartheid? You are not my friend!
– Submitted by MarieBella C (2 years ago)
James Brennan: Who's that? Em Lewin: It's my stepmom. I don't think there's any pictures of my mom in here. She died two years ago. James Brennan: Really? I'm sorry. Em Lewin: My dad remarried last year. That's Francy. You see that unholy abomination on her head? It's a wig. James Brennan: Is it? Em Lewin: She had, like, a nervous breakdown when her first husband divorced her. Lost all her hair. I would feel bad if she wasn't such a status-obsessed witch.
– Submitted by MarieBella C (2 years ago)
Em Lewin: [referring to her step-mom] I can't believe my dad wants to be with that. Do you want to hear something fucked up? James Brennan: What? Em Lewin: When my mom first started getting, like, really sick my dad starts going to temple. He's never been serious about his faith. But he decided to buddy up to God like he thought it was going to help save my mom. And that's where he met Francy. My mom loses her hair in chemo and my dad starts fucking a bald woman. It's just weird.
– Submitted by MarieBella C (2 years ago)
James Brennan: I think somebody was trying to write 'Satan Lives' on that wall but they spelled it 'Satin Lives'. Em Lewin: One of those textile worshiping cults no doubt.
– Submitted by MarieBella C (2 years ago)

Discussion Forum

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