Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5. USA, 2009. Miramax, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, This Is That Productions. Screenplay by Greg Mottola. Cinematography by Terry Stacey. Produced by Anne Carey,Ted Hope, Sidney Kimmel. Music by Yo La Tengo. Production Design by Stephen Beatrice. Costume Design by Melissa Toth. Film Editing by Anne McCabe. Gotham Awards 2009. Independent Spirit Awards 2009.
After his parents reveal to him that they’ve suffered a financial loss thanks to his father’s having been demoted at work, Jesse Eisenberg is devastated to learn that he cannot have his dreamed-of European vacation before beginning graduate school. Instead, he has to spend the summer working at a crummy Pennsylvania amusement park that features rigged games, dangerous rides, and all the colourful assortment of carnies you can imagine. Naturally, the kinda-pretty girl with the flat hair and the glum smile working the booth next to him wins his heart and gives him a summer that, even though he’s post-adolescent, will never let him feel like he’s the same ever again. All the characters are likeable and fun, even Kristen Stewart manages to seem like she’s having a good time, but the episodic structure of the script eventually grows tiresome, and the laughs are only ever pleasant chuckles. If the film had a sweeter heart at its centre this low energy drive would be more appropriate, but as it is it’s just adequate. Ryan Reynolds is out of place as resident cool dude, a park maintenance man who moonlights in a rock band.