Director/Stars: Jesse Eisenberg (Actor), Kristen Stewart (Actor), Greg Mottola (Director)
Genre: Period (80s) Comedy Romance
Watched: Sept, 2010
Summary: Touching, funny. Great film.
I didn’t really have a lot of expectations going into this film. I knew it was by the same director as Superbad (great film) and starred Eisenberg and Stewart, and that’s about it. It’s a great film. The kind they rarely make anymore where it’s essentially a character movie woven around a romance. The script is great, the acting’s great, and the direction is great. It’s a funny movie, but not in the laugh a minute kind of way, but in a wry more or less real way.
Comedy varies across the spectrum of dark to realistic to slapstick to abstract. This is realistic. The humor is partially in the fact that these situations are real situations that we did or could have found ourselves in — and hence, it’s a kind of bittersweet humor. The tone is not so different than the excellent Freaks and Geeks TV show, and in fact there’s at least one actor in common (the excellent Martin Starr). They don’t make a lot of comedy romances like this anymore, the kind where there’s no gimmick, just real people, and hence real romance.
The plot is fairly incidental. We have the likable Eisenberg (playing on type, but great as a Geek who isn’t really shy) who has money troubles and needs to take a lousy summer job at a crappy Pittsburg theme park. Having grown up in the 80s this is exactly my generation (I’m perhaps 4 years younger than the characters) and the music and outfits are nostalgic and amusing. None of the people he meets are exactly stereotypes, and they have a delicate underwritten quality. The core that holds the film together is Eisenberg and Stewart (who proves she can do better with a script that isn’t terrible… I mean Twilight — CLICK FOR MY REVIEW). Not just the acting but the writing. He’s the kind of guy I could imagine being friends with, and she’s the kind of girl I could imagine having fallen for in college. There relationship feels real. This makes it sexy even though there isn’t much sex. And isn’t that one of the main things that fiction is about? Depicting real people. It seems all too often forgotten.