Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Adventureland (2009)

"You don't want 'virgin' to be your signifier."

"He takes one semiotics class..."

Ah, the nostalgia. Those halcyon days of uni, youth, much alcohol, the smoking of certain substances (not entirely off topic for this film!), terrible nightclubs (ditto) and Saussurean linguistics. It takes me back.

First things first, though: in spite of the fact that both films star Jesse Eisenberg, both were released in 2009 and both have similar titles, this film is not connected to Zombieland. Not, despite the uncanny similarities of Jesse Eisenberg's character getting dumped as he's introduced to us, is it connected to The Social Network.

It is, however, a brilliant and justly acclaimed film that deserves to be better known. Oh, structurally it may be a romantic comedy by numbers: boy meets girl; boy loses girl through series of complex event involving love triangles on both sides; boy really goes extra mile and gets girl back. The structure is nothing new. But within that structure it's funny: the dialogue is witty, intellectual and laugh out load hilarious. The characterisation is similarly superb. Basically, it rocks. And Joel is officially the coolest guy ever.

Even better than that, though, is the soundtrack. This film is set in an expertly realised 1987, and the tone is alternative '80s, meaning loads of my favourite bands. We open to "Bastards of Young" by the Replacements, no less, and the emotionally pivotal scene gets "Unsatisfied", a song which I love passionately and which, if you haven't yet heard, you must hear immediately. Seriously. The Velvet Underground are, quite rightly, everywhere and, incidentally, the subtitles tell me I've been getting the lyrics wrong for "Here She Comes Now" for years. Er, "She becomes my mouth", anyone?

Give this overlooked film a chance. It rocks in more ways than one.

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