It's hard to believe, but there was a time before Judd Apatow was crowned king comedy in Hollywood. It's much like how Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer are perennially locked in combat over who is the king of action (bad action, usually), except there's no one to really challenge Apatow since Mike Judge undeservedly lost favor with the powers that be. With Apatow's rocket to stardom, where everything he blesses turns to gold, thus those associated with him do as well.
2009's Adventureland is directed by Apatow-produced Superbad, a film of high quality that served as the main launch vehicle for Apatow fame. It's not surprising that the feel of Adventureland comes right off as Apatowian. It just looks like it would fit right in with his long string of hits.
Set in the '80s, Adventureland is about a recent graduate, played by Jesse Eisenberg, who starts out wanting to spend the summer in Europe with his wealthy friend. When his parents revoke their ability to support him, he's stuck in his hometown looking for a summer job before he can go on to grad school and become a journalist. He finally nails one at an amusement park called Adventureland run by Bill Hader and his lovable wife, Kristin Wiig. There are all sorts of characters at the park, Kristen Stewart, Ryan Reynolds, Martin Starr, Matt Bush, who all make an impression on Eisenberg throughout the summer. What else? Oh, yeah, and the movie totally fucking sucks.
I'm serious. I was totally sold on its rave reviews and promisingly-hilarious trailer, but the movie was the worst movie of 2009. Kristen Stewart, someone who obviously blew her way to the top of Hollywood, sucks the air out every scene and every role she's ever had. The humor is centered around a few non-funny dick jokes. Jesse Eisenberg's character just comes off as a pathetic, whiny little shit. Martin Starr excels as a sarcastic, bad-with-women, angry-at-the-world, nerdy douche whom he plays so well (in Party Down, for instance.) Ryan Reynolds is the only bright spot of the film, and far too little is on him. To top it all off, the movie is so inanely boring I contemplated either fast-forwarding or turning it off altogether (and I was on an airplane!!!) Adventureland is a movie that seems like it would be a comedy because that's the only thing that would work. The dramatic element isn't dramatic at all, and it's tough to listen to two hours of some schlob bitch about love and not getting laid. My advice avoid Adventureland at all costs. There are better cures for insomnia.