March, 11th, 2022
MOVIE: THE ADAM PROJECT
STARRING: RYAN REYNOLDS, WALKER SCOBELL, MARK RUFFALO, JENNIFER GARNER, ZOE SALDANA, CATHERINE KEENER
DIRECTED BY: SHAWN LEVY
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 1 ½ STARS (Out of 4)
Last year, I wrote about Ryan Reynolds and his acting in Red Notice, how his schtick of quippy burns and sarcastic comedy was at a point of painful repetitiveness. With The Adam Project, Reynolds is stuck in a loop, going round and round, playing a character that is no different from Deadpool or anything else he’s been in. And because of that, the film suffers for it. It’s not that he’s still not a draw, an incredibly good looking man, his brand of comedy always has moments that conjure up a laugh, and his athleticism can make him an action star in any battle. His newest work is The Adam Project, a time travel adventure, with a throwback feel to 80’s movies like Flight of the Navigator, Explorers, or even Back to the Future, but it can’t compare with any of those. Shawn Levy follows up the success of Free Guy with a movie that fuses Reynolds brand of comedy into a time travel story, only it’s not funny enough, nor is it entertaining enough to spark our interests. The Adam Project is a failed plan in the past and the future.
The opening sequence involves Adam Reed (Reynolds) flying a bright colored spaceship and being chased by a pack of fighter ships trying to take him down. In an instant he charges his ship up and goes flying through a portal. We then flash to a young kid named Adam (Walker Scobell), smaller in stature and frequently bullied, where things have been tough for him since his dad (Mark Ruffalo) passed away. Now his acting out at school has made it equally difficult on his mother Ellie (Jennifer Garner). One night, when his mom is out on a date, Adam hears some rustling in the garage, and his dog Hawking races to the door, where he discovers this bigger, older version of himself, yes, it’s Adam from the future. What follows is an adventure, where past Adam and future Adam have to work together to stop a scientist named Sorian (Caterine Keener), with hopes of saving the future as they know it.
As far as a concept, The Adam Project could have worked, where director Shawn Levy has an interesting grasp of how to make a movie feel fresh. The problems lie in the minor details, which as they pile up, become major. Young Walker Scobell is more or less playing a mini-version of Reynolds, and because of that things become a double dose of annoying. The screenplay- written by a four-person team of Jonathan Tropper, T.S. Nowlin, Jennifer Flackett, and Mark Levin- has too much going on, the shock of a kid meeting his older self, a sub-plot of older Adam’s love interest with Laura (Zoe Saldana), and Catherine Keener’s power hungry character with her robot goons giving chase. All of it is equally shaky and none of it relatively fun.
There are also a collection of aesthetic choices by Levy, including the Reed family home, which is located in the middle of the woods- no wonder the kid feels isolated- and special effects that leave zero imprint on the audience. The ships are slick and silver, there’s a weapon that older Adam uses that is a staff mixed with a lightsaber, and the set pieces of bad guys fighting become disposed of quickly. On top of all this, there is a late CGI choice on Keener’s character that is some of the most distracting CGI used in a movie for some time.
You may have noticed that I’ve barely mentioned Reynolds, which is because his performance is more of the same you’ve seen before, including backhanded comments at his own self. That’s one of the major problems with The Adam Project, where the relationship between older Adam and his younger self is supposed to be cute, only it comes off as cold and misunderstood. Why would someone’s older self be a complete jerk to their younger self? Haven’t you learned anything? The answer is that Reynolds should have been giving a new performance and instead it’s more of his tired brand. The Adam Project should be left in the past and hopefully we get a new Ryan Reynolds in the future. If not, then it’s going to continue to be more of the same, and that’s not good.
THE ADAM PROJECT PREMIERES ON NETFLIX FRIDAY MARCH 11TH, 2022
1 ½ STARS
Written by: Leo Brady