The Adam Project

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Free Guy was one of the biggest hits of 2021, so it made financial sense that star Ryan Reynolds and director Shawn Levy would reunite. This is another high concept, sci-fi movie that’s even more wholesome. I appreciate that both Free Guy and this new release are “original” ideas not based on an established property. Nevertheless, The Adam Project still feels awfully familiar.

Adam Reed is a space pilot who time travels from the future year of 2050 back to 2022. Ryan Reynolds is playing a sarcastic type with a confident personality. Newsflash: this is the same character he has played in every single picture he has ever made. Please don’t @ me with counterexamples. Hyperbole is a part of film criticism. In this one, he meets his 12-year-old self (Walker Scobell) and together they unite on a mission to end time travel and SAVE THE WORLD.

If it sounds a little like I’m mocking this, it’s because I am. The production is fabricated from pre-existing parts. The narrative liberally copies elements of classics from my childhood like Back to the Future and The Last Starfighter. Indeed, those were enjoyable flicks. The difference here is a generic screenplay credited to four different writers: Jonathan Tropper, T.S. Nowlin, Jennifer Flackett, and Mark Levin. The story is calculated like a commodity a studio manufactured from a blueprint called a “family-friendly sci-fi action movie” with heavy inspiration from Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment. The production is synthesized from hyper-edited battles and digital laser blasts. The action does slow down occasionally so it can evoke some emotion when the adult man and his younger self give each other wisdom to be a better person. The best scene is a quiet one. Reynolds as the grown-up son gives his mother encouragement. She is unaware they’re related. The interaction set in a local bar uncomfortably suggests a flirtatious exchange at first, but it turns into a genuinely affecting moment.

This is high-quality entertainment for the entire family conveniently available to Netflix subscribers for free. Lately, I’m bewildered when certain releases go directly to streaming. Pixar’s Turning Red is another recent example. The Adam Project looks expensive. The amalgamation is well-produced, so I can’t say it’s bad. Young actor Walker Scobell effectively evokes Reynolds as a boy. Color me surprised that he was the standout in this star-studded ensemble. The cast also features Jennifer Garner, Catherine Keener, Zoe Saldaña, and Mark Ruffalo. Given the stars and the budget, this looks like a theatrical picture. Ryan Reynolds was just in Red Notice and that was a massive success on Netflix. This is much better, so no shock that it’s currently #1 on the streaming service as well. I have seen a version of this movie hundreds of times (more hyperbole). Meanwhile, children have not. Take my tepid reaction with a grain of salt.


6 Responses to “The Adam Project”

  1. Eric Robert Wilkinson Says:

    oh i much preferred this to Free Guy – which was admittedly also enjoyable – it was fun it was funny it was sweet and it was touching and never schmaltzy or sappy so it was a pleasant surprise :/

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Eric Robert Wilkinson Says:

    you say this looks like a theatrical picture and indeed I saw it at a Cinemark in suburban Portland, Oregon with a near sold out crowd despite it opening same day as Netflix started streaming… it was not nearly as hypercaffeinated and colorful as Free Guy (Levy’s previous film) but it looked amazing

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Eric Robert Wilkinson Says:

    Furthermore, in a fun coincidence, the head critic of the Oregonian film section when I was a kid was none other than a guy named Shawn Levy…who used to get confused with this director quite a bit toward the end of the critic’s career

    Liked by 1 person

    • Is this playing in theaters? It’s not playing anywhere in my area.

      Regardless, it’s readily available on Netflix which is where 99.99% of people are going to see it. Seems like a missed opportunity given the fact you saw it in a sold-out theater. This would’ve done well I suspect.


  4. I give this 3 ⭐️. What can I say, I like Ryan Reynolds. Yes, he does suffer from having the same sarcastic performance in every movie, but I don’t tire of it. I thought the kid was very good too.

    Liked by 1 person

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