It's the summer of 1987. James Brennan, having just graduated from Oberlin College, looks forward to a vacation in Europe with a friend and then graduate school at Columbia University. One little problem: after a financial setback, his parents can no longer afford to help him pay for either. What's a poor over-educated, under-experienced lit-major Nerd to do? Oh, get a grunt job at the eponymous "Adventureland" amusement park. Hilarity Ensues.
Jesse Eisenberg stars as Brennan, Kristen Stewart co-stars as his primary love interest Emily "Em" Lewin. Ryan Reynolds provides the Romantic False Lead, one Mike Connell. Mike is a cool, Badass coworker who leads a rock band in his spare time. He once jammed with Lou Reed or at least he claims he did.
While not a box office smash, this 2009 film received good reviews and gained a respectable fan following. Written and directed by Greg Mottola, who had previously directed Superbad, Adventureland attempts a more realistic approach, rather than relying on outlandish hijinks.
Believe it or not, the "Adventureland" theme park on which the theme park is based actually exists. However, it is located on Long Island, New York. It can be found here.
- All Drummers Are Animals: Munch
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: In Em's case, married bad boys.
- Ax Crazy: Parodied. Bobby has an aluminum baseball bat, and he would love for you to give him a reason to use it (but it's just an act to keep the scariest customers at bay).
- Boy Meets Girl: Played straight with Brennan and Em.
- Brainless Beauty: Lisa P.
- Broken Bird: Em.
- Caught in the Rain: A common trope that actually leads up to a sweet, well-done ending.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Bobby and Paulette, the owners of Adventureland, slip into this more often than not
- Deadpan Snarker: Joel, Brennan (at times), and Connell.
- The Eighties: The film's setting, but played realistically.
- Good Bad Girl: Lisa P subverts this, twice. At first, it seems that she's playing it straight, until we find out that like Brennan, she's also a virgin. Then we find out that she's the one who spread the gossip that causes the big rift between Em and Brennan and that her views on sexuality and gender roles are rather reactionary.
- Good Times Montage: Post cookies on the dogems to Just Like Heaven.
- Groin Attack: Brennan's idiot classmate, Frigo, is very fond of punching him in the junk. It gets old real quick.
- Heroes Want Redheads: Em's an definitely got a reddish tint.
- Jerkass: Frigo, through and through. Not least because of all his junk-punching.
- Leitmotif: "Rock Me Amadeus" plays all the time in the park.
- Lonely Rich Kid: Em.
- Love Makes You Crazy: Why else would Brennan have gone after Em all the way to New York?
- Mr. Fanservice: It's Ryan Reynolds. Lampshaded to a certain extent, since he's the mysterious Badass musician everyone hears rumors about.
- Ms. Fanservice: Lisa P.
- A Man Is Not a Virgin: Averted: Brennan is not obsessed with losing his virginity. (Although he wouldn't mind.) He actually complains about this attitude.
- Maybe Ever After
- Pac-Man Fever: Justified that it's an arcade in an amusement park in 1987, so there probably was a game of Donkey Kong in the background making that noise.
- Never Trust a Trailer: From the ads, you'd think this was just another raunchy sex comedy. Unfortunately, this probably kept away many people who would have enjoyed it for the melancholy Dramedy it is.
- Recycled in Space: It's Garden State... in Pittsburgh.
- Rouge Angles of Satin: "Satin Lives". Em attributes it to "One of those textile worshipping cults, no doubt."
- Also, there's a ride that's inexplicably called The Flying Dutchman, inexplicably spelled "The Flighing Dutchman."
- Souvenir Land: The main setting and source of the title.
- Spiritual Sequel: It plays even better if you look at it as Freaks and Geeks: The Movie. It's only got one actor in common, but the style is almost exactly the same.
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig.
- Take Our Word for It: There's a very good reason Brennan found Em instantly on arriving in one the biggest cities in the world. We'll just never know what it is.
- Or he just asked her Dad.
- Visual Pun: "RIDES!" I'm not sure does anyone west of the Atlantic get this, though. Or for that matter anyone east of the Irish Sea.
- Vomit Discretion Shot: The morning after James' whiskey binge.
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Frigo puking on the back of James' dad's car.
- Your Cheating Heart: Mike and Em.