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6 Movies like Adventureland: Coming of Age

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tom_cropper“Looking for relatively intelligent rom com? Here are a few which won’t actually make him wish for an early death including Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist, Mallrats and many others.”~ Tom Cropper

Love and Stuff

“Long hours, low pay, high times…”

Rom coms are easy. Boy meets girl. Boy falls in love with girl. Boy and girl have a bit of a falling. Boy and girl put things back together and live happily ever after. It’s a template which has served the movie industry well for decades. However, what sorts the good from the Jennifer Lopez vehicle is what meat you put on that template.

Adventureland is one of those movies which gets it right. Jessie Eisenberg dusts off his sensitive geek type guy routine as a kid forced to spend the summer working at a fairground before college. Along the way he meets a cast of assorted loveable oddballs and Kristin Steward, who simply looks happy there are no vampires around.

Movies like Adventureland, which manage to do the rom com thing without veering into simpering awfulness are few and fair between. Here are some of the best.


Movies Similar to ‘Adventureland’…

‘Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist’ (Peter Sollet, 2008)

“When plans change the possibilities are infinite…”

Nick is a quiet lad who plays bass in a band. He’s out with his friends, but he’s very upset because his girlfriend has ditched him. But something tells me that by the end of this night he’ll have learned a few valuable life lessons and be singing a very different tune.

This is a funny, quirky and sweet movie. However, it’s completely stolen by the token ‘best friend’ who plays ‘drunken mess’ to perfection.

Similarity Match: 95%
Like Adventureland this is a smart coming of age movie, that most of us will be able to relate to.

‘Juno’ (Jason Reitman, 2007)

“Growing up and the bumps along the way…”

Ellen Page lights up the screen in this brilliant movie of a teenager coping with pregnancy and issues which are ‘way above her maturity level’.

This is one of those movies that refuses to slot into any pigeon hole. The plot skips along nicely, but it’s Page and her portrayal of the oddball Juno that puts this on another planet altogether.

Make sure to also have a look at these other great movies like ‘Juno’.

Similarity Match: 90%
This is another coming of age story written by the kind of people who would have considered themselves the quirky outsiders at school. Well worth a watch.

‘Once’ (John Carney, 2006)

“How often do you find the right person?”

A busker meets an Eastern European immigrant selling flowers on the street. They get to know each other, sing a few songs and go their separate ways.

That’s about the sum total of the plot, but there’s a whole lot more to this sweet and enthralling movie. Those sick of the run of the mill Hollywood rom com will love this lovely and understated story.

Similarity Match: 85%
Like Adventureland, this is a memorable and quirky rom com which will keep you entertained throughout.

‘Superbad’ (Greg Mottola, 2007)

“We could be that mistake…”

It’s the end of high school and two friends have one thing on their mind – to lose their virginity before they hit college. The only thing standing in their way is ensuring they get invited to the cool kids’ party and finding two girls willing to do the deed.

This was the film that kick started Seth Rogan’s career, and led to a slew of pictures in a very similar vein. However, this remains the best of the lot.

Similarity Match: 80%
This is another film at one of those crossroads in life. It’s pure gross out comedy at times, but it has a sensitivity that many of Seth Rogan’s later films never quite matched.


If You Like ‘Adventureland’, You Will Like…

Adventureland is a great movie. But at times it feels torn between playing for laughs and being serious. Here are a few other films like Adventureland which – although similar – are much more game for a laugh.

‘Zombieland’ (Ruben Fleischer, 2009)

“Nut up or shut up…”

In Britain we have Shaun of the Dead – in America it was Zombieland. Jessie Eisenberg is in sweet geeky kid mode again as one of the last surviving members of the human race. Struggling to survive after a Zombie apocalypse he falls in with Woody Harleson and a pair of sisters – one of whom he takes a shine to.

Sound good? Make sure to also have a look at these other movies similar to ‘Zombieland’.

Can he survive the hordes of the undead, and sneak a snog at the same time? You probably know the answer, but you’ll have a lot of fun along the way. It’s worth watching for a stonking Bill Murray cameo if nothing else.

‘Mallrats’ (Kevin Smith, 1995)

“They’re not there to shop, they’re just there…”

Kevin Smith made his name with the ultra-low budget Clerks – a movie made with maxed out credit cards and filmed in the convenience store he was working in at the time. However, his second movie Mallrats, is arguably even better.

This is pure comic book fun as a group of teenagers hang out in the local mall to kill some time, have some fun and – if possible – solve all their relationship issues at the same time.


Get Your Love Bug on

Movies similar to Adventureland are not that hard to come by. While the rom com genre is full of offerings, there are only a few which rise above the tide of mediocrity. Adventureland is one, but this is also an area in which opinion counts for a great deal. There are no hard and fast rules and films which some people love, may seem a waste of time for others.

You may well have some of your own favourites, in which case I’d love to hear more about them.

Add your answers in the comments section below.

These days Tom Cropper is normally found writing about money and ethical issues and finance for people like Go Compare and the Guardian. However, he started his career many years ago writing about film for a small and sadly defunct indie paper called the Soho Independent. Since then he’s written for various movie websites and, when he’s not trying to explain the nuances of insurance to people spends his time trying to dig out obscure movies from far flung parts of the world.
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