Generally favorable reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 34
  2. Negative: 0 out of 34
  1. 75
    What surprised me was how much I admired Kristen Stewart, who in "Twilight," was playing below her grade level. Here is an actress ready to do important things. Together, and with the others, they make Adventureland more real and more touching than it may sound.
  2. 88
    The result is a sharp, insightful, charming motion picture.
  3. For nostalgia junkies, it's one from the heart.
  4. 63
    Adventureland throws a lot at us, but not enough of it sticks.
  5. This film makes you wonder why aren't there more young love movies?
  6. A young adult romantic comedy with a sweetness and delicacy that lifts it out of its genre.
  7. Greg Mottola has taken that most overdone of contemporary genres, the coming-of-age story, and made it engaging, bittersweet and even fun.
  8. There's no shortage of felicitous lines or interesting performances, yet the movie, like the amusement park of its title, feels constructed from familiar parts.
  9. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Mottola, who wrote and directed 1996's "The Daytrippers," crafts smart, witty dialogue. But the movie suffers in tone. While much of the story feels like a brainier John Hughes comedy, it veers into more dramatic terrain and loses focus.
  10. 50
    Harmless enough, but "indie comedy" sounds like something better seen at Urban Outfitters than at a movie theater.
  11. Mixes the intimate, indie vibe of "Daytrippers" with the absurdist screwball streak of "Superbad," to winning effect.
  12. What makes the movie such an unexpectedly potent little number is that Adventureland comes to stand for Stagnationland; the real roller coaster (i.e., life) is just outside the park.
  13. 70
    Funny, smart, and complacent.
  14. 70
    Mottola (who also wrote the script) and his actors manage to shape the movie into something whole and tangible, capturing, among other things, the shapeless listlessness of summer, especially at that age when you're technically an adult and yet you're left waiting for life to begin.
  15. 80
    Somehow the story of a young man's coming of age never gets old, at least when it is told with the kind of sweetness and intelligence Adventureland displays.
  16. A sweet, sharp coming-of-age romance, Adventureland is a little warmer, a little funnier and a lot more truthful than the last 20 or 30 of its ilk. Especially its Hollywood ilk.
  17. A confident return to the kind of teen comedy that's funny without being raunchy, youthful without being juvenile, and reflective without hitting you over the head.
  18. Mottola also wrote the screenplay, which is most fresh and honest when dealing with supporting characters.
  19. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    A rather ordinary account of youthful summer misadventures that goes down easily thanks to a sparky cast, more than 40 pop tunes that anchor the action in the late '80s and characters who get high both on and off their jobs at a tacky amusement park.
  20. Yes, the delight of this movie lies in these devilish details, and it's clear that writer-director Greg Mottola knows them well.
  21. 75
    The laughs in Adventureland aren't as outlandish as those in "Superbad," but they seem more based in experience and truth. You could want something more raucous, I suppose, but that wouldn't necessarily be an improvement.
  22. 90
    Thanks to an exceptionally deft touch, Mottola manages to capture the absurdity and anguish of young adulthood, while never sacrificing meaning on the altar of crude humor.
  23. 88
    The details are true and funny, played brilliantly.
  24. Adventureland has the structure of a Tilt-a-Whirl ride: It goes where you expect, and may fill you with dread.
  25. 91
    Jesse Eisenberg stars as a kinder, gentler version of the insufferable faux intellectual he played in "The Squid And The Whale."
  26. 88
    A bittersweet joy. Its humor and romance are refreshing because the writer-director, Greg Mottola, realizes that maturity is a two-steps-forward, one-step-backward process.
  27. 75
    Mottola softens his approach, and Adventureland turns out to be more like "Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist" than a Judd Apatow creation.
  28. 80
    Infinitely charming new romantic comedy.
  29. Reviewed by: Duane Byrge
    With a keen affection for his own formative years, filmmaker Greg Mottola has crafted a funny and spunky amusement
  30. Reviewed by: Krista Soriano
    On the surface, this might look like a typical teen movie, but Adventureland’s talented cast perfectly portrays the self-loathing and strong-minded characters in that transient post-college stage of life.
  31. Reviewed by: Cammila Albertson
    Delightful because it's intensely sincere.
  32. Reviewed by: Scott Mendelson
    What separates Adventureland from something like "Garden State" is a commitment to realism and plausibility. In fact, at times, it is almost too realistic given the location's inherent value as a comic prop. For a film set primarily in an amusement park, it isn't terribly amusing.
  33. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    I've seen Mottola's movie twice, and both times, it has inspired feelings of joy, sadness, and a profound yearning for the unrecoverable past.
  34. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Has the note-perfect melancholy of a classic young adult novel.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 253 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 62 out of 86
  2. Negative: 14 out of 86
  1. Aug 27, 2011
    It's such a simple, quiet movie and that is what makes it so special. Jesse Eisenberg is James a twenties guy in need of money after his parents can't fully support him financially anymore, finds a lowly job in a shabby amusement park Adventureland filled with rigged games and fair-to-speculate-on-the-safety secondhand rides and hand-made prizes "nobody ever wins the big ass panda". James meets Emily and the pair hit it off and so begins the weird and wonderful story of a summer-fling. But no, there is more in Adventureland and you'll have to find out about that for yourself. Jesse Eisenberg is always the go-to-guy if you're looking for a virgin-esque quality in your leading man, he's always great, no surprises here. The real surprise for me is Kristen Stewart, there will always be the Twilight role overshadowing her career. But if you look away from Bella, she is a really good actor. Emily is very shy, funny, sweet and she'll fight for what's right. She's very smart yet very conflicted and James and Em's budding romance is really a pleasure to watch. After Twilight is over, I really hope she goes off the mainstream path and produce great small movies like this, and I'll be all over it. Bill Hader is hilarious as always with what little screen time he's given "nobody ever wins the big ass panda". I loved everything about Adventureland, from the cheesy 80's soundtrack, to the simple but very nostalgic amusement park setting, funny side characters also there is more to them than meets the eye. I want to live in the 80's, I want a summer job in that period of time, I wanna smoke joints man! Full Review »
  2. Jan 7, 2013
    Eh, it was a cute indie movie that had funny side characters. It was almost about a lot more then teenaged love and then i became soap opera quality toward the end. This is nobody's best movie. Full Review »
  3. Jul 4, 2011
    i liked this movie. it was okay. jesse eisenberg gives a nerdy impression again but his acting is still good. Ryan Reynolds gives a good performance. and Kristen Stewart will get better in time. Full Review »