Adventureland is about the purgatory where young people reside in the often rudderless space of summers off from school--a sort of poor man's American Graffiti for the 80's.
James Brennan (Jesse Eisenberg) has been accepted at Columbia grad school, but his dad's been demoted at his job and is claiming poverty--which means that James will have to hang around and find a job to earn his own money for journalism school. He gets hired at Adventureland, a low budget amusement park where nobody is allowed to win the giant stuffed pandas because they only have a couple of them left.
James meets co-worker Em, (Emily) played by Kristen Stewart. They hit it off right away and begin something of an innocent romance. James is the sensitive type who treats girls with honor and respect--and remains a virgin--while the "dangerous" guys, who are sometimes married, do most of the scoring in the wonderful game that we know as love. That's where Mike Connell, (Ryan Reynolds) the hot looking--but married--maintenance guy at Adventureland comes in.
Em has some obvious self-worth issues and has had this ongoing sexual relationship with Connell. They often rendezvous in the basement of his mother's house to do their thing for the five or ten minutes he can break away from his wife. We can see that this makes Em feel dirty, but it's just the type of scenario that those with low self-esteem are sometimes drawn to.
But now, Em has James (he's got it bad for her) to provide for her emotional needs. It's great to have SOMEONE who adores you when you feel unworthy. (Then again, it's hard to guess how any of these characters REALLY feel because there's so much weed being smoked in this movie you might get a contact high just sitting in the theatre.) Em just hopes that James won't find out about Connell because she can't seem to break her addiction to the ALL PURPOSE handyman.
But you know that he will.
There are comedic moments in this flick--mostly centered around the quirkiness of the park itself. The clientele are on the lowbrow side--they chuck their trash anywhere but in the proper receptacle--and the owner deals with one agitated customer by wielding a baseball bat and shouting, JUST GIVE ME A REASON!
The games at Adventureland are rigged, like the derby hats glued to these dummy's heads so there's no way anyone hurling a baseball can knock them off. In the end, it's about taking what life throws at us and moving on--hopefully becoming a little wiser for the knock on the head.
TIMMY'S TIDBITS: Kristen Stewart first got noticed by a talent scout at a grade school Christmas play at the age of eight ( I played a TREE in "Jack and the Beanstalk." It wasn't too challenging...I just had to stand there with leaves in my hair).
Ryan Reynolds started an improv comedy group called "Yellow Snow" in his hometown of Vancouver. (No, Susie--it doesn't come from yellow clouds).