(R) 107 mins
Plot Summary: Unable to afford the European vacation he’d dreamed of, recent college grad James Brennan (Jesse Eisenberg) reluctantly takes a gig at a local amusement park, only to learn that the dead-end job is, in fact, excellent preparation for the real world. Writer-director Greg Mottola‘s semi-autobiographical comedy-drama, filmed in Pittsburgh’s Kennywood Park, also stars Ryan Reynolds and Kristen Stewart.
Serious Jest: (Must See) This movie is worth setting aside time to watch, at some point, as a drama. It’s a great coming-of-age film and a clever 1980’s throwback, with a healthy amount of dark comedy woven throughout the film so that you will get some laughs (especially in the scenes involving Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, and Matt Bush), but if you go in expecting a light-hearted comedy like Superbad, you may be overwhelmed or even depressed by the seriousness of some of the scenes. Eisenberg seems to have only one speed (nerdy, awkward guy with redeeming cool qualities), but he plays it very well. Stewart delivered The Girlfriend Experience solidly in this flick, even though her character was riddled with layers of complexity that arguably sometimes made her difficult to like. Reynolds continued to display his range with a solid contribution as a stoic, ironically-pitiful heartthrob rocker who was somehow simultaneously an antagonist and Big Brother Mentor…he was also definitely an Ineffectual Loner. Finally, Margarita Levieva was sexy and charismatic, despite her character’s obvious shallowness…and did you know she was an Olympic-caliber rythmic gymnast, an Economics major at New York University, and a Jersey girl? I am now a fan, and I’d love to see her in more movies.