|Genre:||Youth Angst in Suburban Hell|
Other Movies Seen By This Director (0)
|11.16.09||Netflix|| Thankfully I'd been warned by the wave of reviews that said this movie wasn't necessarily funny. I think it was definitely marketed as such and therefore fell flat on its face in theaters when everyone found a coming-of-age drama quirk-drama instead. Kind of a shame really because i thought there was plenty to like.|
A lot of the movie seems painfully nostalgic. they nail the setting and period and tone of the film perfectly... for instance placing most of the employees as college-age rather than high school so the dynamic with the parents is much different, or having the theme park be one of these small-time family-owned dinosaurs rather than a polished impersonal chain... the casual authenticity of 1986 and the overall feeling of wanting to be grown already but forced to wallow a little longer in childhood via your once-best friend, living at home, wanting growth but not yet self-sustainable... All of that is so specific and nailed head on. It really resonated with me.
And I also really liked Ryan Reynolds' character. The exchange he shares with Eisenberg at the end (partially ruined by a deleted scene but whatever I take what I want from this movie) where there's kind of a silent notion that although reynolds is crap and has betrayed Eisenberg's trust, it was basically worth it due to what Eisenberg has gotten from Reynolds in turn. It says "yeah you're 85% ass but the other 15% gave me some valuable info so... we're even. Have fun with your life which is going nowhere while I hopefully go do something with mine."
Also also, imdb says Kristen Stewart shot this after the first Twilight movie but I'm not 100% sure it was released beforehand. To me this is the last time Kristen Stewart is an unknown. Cinephiles liked her uncanny resemblance in Panic Room and I personally rediscovered her in Zathura where all of a sudden her face was striking and for a teeny little while she had a mini Natalie Portman career where she was loved by people who thought themselves "in the know" because they saw The Professional and Beautiful Girls until Episode One came out and then it's kind of downhill from there. In that same way I feel this was a goodbye movie from the secret-love version of Kristen Stewart and her tight frown and stroking eyes. No more bit part in Into the Wild or indie-work like The Cake-Eaters. From here on out it's tabloid covers, fashion statements, and love interests. Weird hairstyles and dealing with her own fame. So even though the boy and girl get together at the end of this movie, you know neither one of them have a plan. That first loves often don't work out, and that kristen Stewart will soon fall for a vampire and dump poor neurotic Jesse Eisenberg.
Eisenberg's performance is one of the off-notes for me here, but as much as I feel he's almost channeling Woody Allen, I like the dynamic between him and Martin Starr: someone who should be in more of every movie that he's in. Even with his odd biceps and longish hair, he is still filling the same role as he did with Bill on Freaks and Geeks: the vulnerable geek trapped in the hand he was dealt; aware and mature about it yet allowing that wall to come down in tiny secret moments that this film catches beautifully.
This film isn't perfect. A lot of it doesn't quite work or feels aa bit weird to me at first exposure. In fact I'm a bit surprised that I've gone on about this for as long as I have. But it does accomplish an aching recollection of the director's last moments of youth that affected me to be sure. It's just not very funny.