It's the summer of 1987. James Brennan, having just graduated from Oberlin College, looks forward to a vacation in Europe with a friend and then graduate school at Columbia University. One little problem: after a financial setback, his parents can no longer afford to help him pay for either. What's a poor over-educated, under-experienced lit-major {{nerd}} to do? Oh, get a grunt job at the [[VideoArcade arcade]] in the eponymous "Film/{{Adventureland}}" amusement park. HilarityEnsues.

Creator/JesseEisenberg stars as Brennan, Creator/KristenStewart co-stars as his primary love interest Emily "Em" Lewin. Creator/RyanReynolds provides the RomanticFalseLead, one Mike Connell. Mike is a cool, badass coworker who leads a rock band in his spare time. It's said he once jammed with [[Music/VelvetUnderground Lou Reed]].

While not a box office smash, this 2009 film received good reviews and gained a respectable fan following. Written and directed by Greg Mottola, who had previously directed ''{{Film/Superbad}}'', ''Film/{{Adventureland}}'' attempts a more [[{{dramedy}} realistic approach]], rather than relying on [[RuleOfFunny outlandish hijinks]].

Believe it or not, the "Adventureland" theme park on which the theme park is based actually exists. However, it is located on Long Island, New York. It can be found [[http://www.adventureland.us/themepark/index.shtml here]].

!!This film provides examples of:

* AllDrummersAreAnimals: Munch
* AllGirlsWantBadBoys: In Em's case, [[spoiler:married]] bad boys.
* AnachronismStew: A lot of the fashion looks more like it comes from TheNineties rather than TheEighties (with the salient exceptionn of the club scenes). Jesse Eisenberg's hair and mannerisms all but scream Millenial, and using slang terms like "weed" rather than "pot" or shortening "douchebag" to "douche" are at least somewhat questionable. A good deal of this could have been averted, since the only real reason for this story to take place in 1987 is, presumably, the director's nostalgia factor (small, rural amusement parks like this do exist today, and even maintain a lot of the old prize games left over from days of yore), and the fact that much of the third act could have been easily resolved with a few text messages.
** The characters are also very fond of The Velvet Underground and Lou Reed in particular, but this is TruthinTelevision; people of all generations grow up listening to music from previous generations.
* AxCrazy: Parodied. Bobby has an aluminum baseball bat, and he would love for you to give him a reason to use it (but it's just an act to keep the scariest customers at bay).
* BettyAndVeronica: A double, perhaps triple case: Lisa P is Veronica, Em is Betty to James, while Connell is the Veronica to James' Betty for Em. You could also see Connell's wife as Veronica and Em as Betty for him.
* BoyMeetsGirl: Played straight with Brennan and Em.
* BrainlessBeauty: Lisa P.
* BrokenBird: Em.
* CaughtInTheRain: A common trope that actually leads up to a sweet, well-done ending.
* {{Cloudcuckoolander}}: Bobby and Paulette, the owners of Adventureland, slip into this more often than not
* DeadpanSnarker: Joel, Brennan (at times), and Connell.
* ADegreeInUseless: Brennan tries to get a job in the beginning of the film, but no one hires him. He declares that his literature degree makes him "not even fit for manual labor". Joel majored in Russian literature and Slavic languages, and predicts that his careers include "cabby, hot dog vendor, marijuana delivery guy. The world is my oyster".
* DoubleStandard: Conversed and defied by Brennan in a notable example. [[spoiler:When Connell and Em's affair is brought to light, despite the fact Connell is ''married'', its ''Em'' [[SlutShaming that everyone starts to shame and blame for it.]]]] Despite being hurt from her doing it, since he really liked Em, Brennan is ''pissed'' when Lisa P spouts this view.
* TheEighties: The film's setting, but played realistically.
* GoodBadGirl: Lisa P subverts this, twice. At first, it seems that she's playing it straight, until we find out that like Brennan, she's also a virgin. Then we find out that she's the one who [[spoiler: spread the gossip that causes the big rift between Em and Brennan]] and that her views on sexuality and gender roles are rather reactionary.
* GoodTimesMontage: Post cookies on the dogems to ''Just Like Heaven''.
* GroinAttack: Brennan's idiot classmate, Frigo, is very fond of punching him in the junk. It gets old real quick.
* {{Jerkass}}: Frigo, through and through. Not least because of all his [[GroinAttack junk-punching]].
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Somewhat played with concerning Connell; he gives James advise on everything and takes him under his wing, and in general appears to be a likable NiceGuy...who is also constantly cheating on his wife.
* {{Leitmotif}}: "Rock Me Amadeus" plays ''all the time'' in the park.
* LonelyRichKid: Em.
* LoveMakesYouCrazy: Why else would Brennan have [[spoiler: gone after Em all the way to New York]]?
* MaleGaze: At least one long tracking shot of Lisa P.'s butt while Joel gushes about it in the background.
** And James ogling Em in a soaking shirt and swimsuit bottoms.
* MrFanservice: It's ''Creator/RyanReynolds''. {{Lampshaded}} to a certain extent, since he's the mysterious badass musician everyone hears rumors about.
* MsFanservice: Lisa P.
** And again Em (perhaps to a lesser degree than Lisa, though). At least, James certainly [[RagingStiffie sees her that way]] in the pool.
* MaybeEverAfter
* PacManFever: [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] that it's an arcade in an amusement park in 1987, so there probably was a game of ''Franchise/DonkeyKong'' in the background making that noise.
** Kennywood Amusement Park ''does'' continue to operate 1980's arcade games (and many machines even older than that) up to when this film was released.
* NeverTrustATrailer: From the ads, you'd think this was just another raunchy sex comedy. Unfortunately, this probably kept away many people who would have enjoyed it for the melancholy {{dramedy}} it is.
* ParentWithNewParamour: Em resents her father for remarrying so quickly after her mother died. Her stepmother ultimately forces her father to kick Em out.
* RecycledInSpace: It's ''Film/GardenState''... in Pittsburgh.
* {{Rouge Angles of Satin}}: "Satin Lives". [[DeadpanSnarker Em]] attributes it to "One of those textile worshipping cults, no doubt."
** Also, there's a ride that's inexplicably called The Flying Dutchman, inexplicably spelled "The Flighing Dutchman."
* SouvenirLand: The main setting and [[TitleDrop source of the title]].
* SpiritualSequel: It plays even better if you look at it as ''Series/FreaksAndGeeks: TheMovie''. It's only got one actor in common, but the style is almost exactly the same.
* VisualPun: "RIDES!" I'm not sure does anyone west of the Atlantic might get this, though. Or for that matter anyone east of the Irish Sea.
* VomitDiscretionShot: The morning after James' whiskey binge.
* VomitIndiscretionShot: Frigo puking on the back of James' dad's car.
* YourCheatingHeart: [[spoiler: Mike and Em]].
** Technically, [[spoiler: Brennan cheated with Lisa P]] as well