Adult World

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Adult World
Adult World.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Scott Coffey
Produced by Manu Gargi
Alex Goldstone
Joy Gorman
Justin Nappi
Written by Andy Cochran
Starring Emma Roberts
Evan Peters
John Cusack
Music by BC Smith
Cinematography James Laxton
Edited by David Heinz
Gina Hirsch
Treehouse Pictures
Anonymous Content
Distributed by IFC Films
Release dates
  • April 18, 2013 (2013-04-18) (Tribeca Film Festival)
  • February 14, 2014 (2014-02-14) (United States)
Running time
93 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $19,731[1]

Adult World is a 2013 American comedy film directed by Scott Coffey and written by Andy Cochran. The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2013 and stars Emma Roberts, Evan Peters, and John Cusack. The film was released in a limited release and through video on demand on February 14, 2014 by IFC Films.[2]


Recent college graduate Amy (Emma Roberts) believes she's destined to be a great poet. Pressed by her parents to earn a living, she takes a job at a small sex shop, Adult World, where she works with the manager, Alex (Evan Peters). When her car is stolen, her parents discover that she had canceled the car's theft insurance to afford submission fees for poetry journals, and kick her out. She briefly moves in with a coworker, transwoman Rubia (Armando Riesco), before finding her own apartment.

She meets one of her favorite poets, Rat Billings (John Cusack), and talks her way into being his protégée by offering to clean his house. After some cajoling, Billings reads her poetry and offers to feature her work in an anthology he is working on. One night, she gets drunk and makes a clumsy attempt to seduce him, but he rebuffs her advances.

Alex fires Amy after she fails to catch a shoplifter; angered, she says she is too good to work there. She soon discovers that she misses Alex, however, and realizes that she has feelings for him. She apologizes to him and asks for her job back. Alex rehires her, and they begin hanging out. At Amy's birthday party, Billings gives her a copy of the poetry anthology he featured her work in—Shit Poems: An Anthology of Bad Verse. Furious and humiliated, she confronts him and calls him a has-been. She goes home and tries to commit suicide by asphyxiating herself with a plastic bag, but changes her mind at the last second.

The next day, she makes peace with Billings: he tells her that she needs to do more living before she can fulfill her potential as a writer, while she tells him not to take himself so seriously. Later, she sleeps with Alex, and they become a couple. She finds out she has been published in an erotica magazine that she submitted prose to as a joke. She and Alex go to a party together to celebrate, and he encourages her to keep writing. The film ends with Amy reading Shit Poems with a smile on her face.

In the epilogue, next to the credits, she becomes a well-known poet. Rat is reading a poetry magazine with her picture on the cover and then she arranges her first poetry book on a shelf in a bookstore to be more prominently shown.



Principal photography took place over three and a half weeks in February and March 2012 in Syracuse, New York. Local landmarks such as Syracuse University, the Carrier Dome, Little Italy, Clinton Square, and the green-over-red traffic light on Tipperary Hill appear in the film.

Canadian singer-songwriter Dan Boeckner contributed many of the songs in the film, along with music by his bands Handsome Furs and Divine Fits.[3]


The film had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 18, 2013.[4] Shortly after the premiere, it was announced IFC Films had acquired distribution rights to the film.[5] The film also premiered at the Syracuse International Film Festival on October 6, 2013[6] The film was released in a limited release and through video on demand beginning on February 14, 2014.[2] The film was released in the United Kingdom on August 4, 2014 on DVD and was released in Sweden on May 11, 2015 through DVD.[7]


The first official trailer and poster were released on January 17, 2014.[8]


Adult World has received mixed to positive reviews, currently holding a 52% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. On Metacritic, the film garnered a 61/100 rating, citing "generally positive reviews". Andrew O'Hehir of Salon praised Roberts and Cusack's performances, calling it Cusack's "best role in years".[9]

The Village Voice described the film as "a terrific small-budget indie" and "weirdly moving", and praised Roberts' performance as "both breezy and carefully tuned".[10]

The film's review in the Los Angeles Times concludes: "Brimming with sharp asides and clever throwaways (Billings' passing parsing of nom de plume and nom de guerre, for one), plus astute observations on literary pretension and misguided youth, "Adult World" is a winner."[11]

The New York Times calls the film a "smart but wince-inducing satirical comedy" and Cusack’s character as Rat Billings "a sardonic, understated portrayal".[12]

Home media[edit]

On June 10, 2014 the film was released on DVD in the United States[13] and was released on DVD in the United Kingdom on August 4, 2014 and in Sweden on May 11, 2015.[7]


External links[edit]