Let's explore 'Adult World', a tiny, independent film with some big names.
Amy (Emma Roberts) has just graduated from college and hopes to embark on her poetry career. She lives at home with her parents in upstate New York and spends all of her money submitting work to publications. Her parents begin to lose patience supporting her and cut her off financially. Amy gets the first job that she can, at an adult video store called, 'Adult World'. There, she meets her slightly cute manager, Alex (Evan Peters).
Further prompting her on her quest for literary success is meeting her favorite poet, Rat Billings (John Cusack) at a book signing. She follows him back to his house and begins to harass him to be his assistant and to glean some knowledge. Eventually, he relents and lets her do menial tasks around his house while putting up with her questions and manic pursuit of knowledge.
Will this whole poetry thing work out for Amy? Will she be able to find her way, post college?
The film's title derives from both the establishment Amy works and her painful transition into the actual adult world. I hope the subtlety wasn't lost on you. Yes, this is another one of those movies where we explore an optimistic youth attempting to navigate an impractical career path.
We spend very little time at Amy's day job, so she doesn't really build much of an on-screen rapport with Alex. We also don't spend much time with her parents outside of the beginning and one sequence in the middle. This is more about her somewhat lonely journey of somewhat learning what it takes to make it in the literary world.
One of the best details about this film is how much the snowy landscape of upstate New York makes for a great setting. It might sound like faint praise, but the snow and dreary setting seems to help drive home the point of her being excluded from the world that she aspires to be a part of.
Though her character comes off as immature, entitled and delusional, Roberts' Amy still has a likeable fragility. She starts the film off with some misguided, pretentious, half-hearted attempts at suicide. Peters plays it rather straight, but Cusack is the one who seems to have the most fun. He is rightly turned off by Amy's desperation and persistence but also indulges her a fair amount. Their interaction is the strongest part of the whole film.
Special features include: deleted/alternative scenes, and a trailer.
The most one can say about 'Adult World' is that it is very by-the-numbers. If it had come out a few years ago, maybe it would be a little more unique. As it stands, this is a low-budget, low-stakes story that makes for a decent rental.
Add an extra half star to this review.
Rated R 93 minutes 2014