Time: 106 Minutes
Ryan Reynolds as Adam Reed
Walker Scobell as young Adam Reed
Mark Ruffalo as Louis Reed
Jennifer Garner as Ellie Reed
Catherine Keener as Maya Sorian
Zoe Saldaña as Laura Shane
Director: Shawn Levy
After accidentally crash-landing in 2022, time-traveling fighter pilot Adam Reed teams up with his 12-year-old self for a mission to save the future.
I heard of The Adam Project, it was a sci-fi and time travel movie that was being advertised a lot on Netflix. It would be the second collaboration between Ryan Reynolds and Shawn Levy after Free Guy. Although I did enjoy that movie when I first saw it, it did get worse the more I thought about it. So, I wasn’t really expecting much going into The Adam Project, especially with how generic it appeared from the advertising. It definitely has its issues, however I do think that it was better than I was expecting.
Despite some familiar aspects from the initial premise, I did like the concept. It is definitely trying to be a nostalgic throwback sci-fi family film in the vein of Steven Spielberg or Robert Zemeckis. Unfortunately, it’s a bit bland, generic, cliched and not that memorable, and has a plot that is only mildly interesting. There’s plenty of comedy that feels quite uneven, most of it is hit and miss especially with the pop culture references (though it is less blatant than in Free Guy). Even the concept of time travel feels dull here. With that said there are some parts which are decent, and the movie’s heart is in the right place. Despite aiming for being a crowd pleaser and being like some of the 80s classics, it does feel like it is trying beyond just that. There are some great scenes, one of them being a bar scene with Ryan Reynolds and Jennifer Garner. On top of that, the family dynamics and themes it explores are interesting and have potential, it’s just a shame that it doesn’t deliver on that by the end. For all the good moments, the third act is very generic and is kind of a let-down.
The movie has a decent cast. Ryan Reynolds plays yet another variation of the type of character he’s played for the past decade. Even as someone who doesn’t necessarily dislike him, it is definitely getting old. With the Adam Project, he is doing his usual schtick, but for what its worth he tries a bit more here. I think he’s a lot better in the dramatic sections, and he is strong in those scenes. Walker Scobell works as a younger version of Reynolds, and the two play off each other well. I liked Mark Ruffalo and Jennifer Garner the most out of the cast. Zoe Saldana was decent but underused in her part. Catherine Keener’s overarching villain was forgettable, underwritten and underdeveloped. While you aren’t expecting the villain to be great, the generic nature of her just made the movie even worse, it was hard to take the threat and danger seriously.
Shawn Levy directs, returning for yet another collaboration with Reynolds. I would say that his work here is above average. It’s not that stylistic, and the visuals are quite inconsistent, ranging from good to average. The action is fine and is filmed and captured competently, but is quite forgettable. The CGI is okay in some parts, bad in others. Without going into too much depth, there is a use of de-aging for a major character, and it looks absolutely terrible.
Despite the premise and the potential, The Adam Project doesn’t fully succeed at what it set out to do. The plot is generic and not that interesting, it falls into cliches (especially in the third act), and the direction is competent but fairly standard. With that said, I still liked the movie. I thought most of the cast were pretty good, it had some fun and even great scenes. It’s a fine but forgettable Netflix movie. If you think it looks interesting, then it’ll pretty much exactly the kind of movie that you’re expecting.