Not even a year has passed since Free Guy and already Shawn Levy and Ryan Reynolds have teamed up again to bring to us another round of popcorn entertainment, this time to Netflix. It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed a Netflix film and because my attention is always on the newest releases in cinemas, films that are straight to streaming services are more likely to fly under the radar. But who doesn’t want to invite Ryan Reynolds into their home? So I gave The Adam Project a chance. This film proves you can never have too much Ryan Reynolds, but The Adam Project does mark an unfortunate change in the quality of stories Reynolds is starting to appear in.
While the concept of meeting your future selves is a sci-fi cliché as old as the genre itself, the actors have a challenging task with this type of story. They have to convince the audience through the performances of their characters that we are seeing the same person from different periods of time. For Ryan Reynolds as Adult Adam, this is no large hurdle to overcome, so the pressure lies with Young Adam, played by Walker Scobell. For the entirety of its runtime, I was completely convinced that I was watching another Ryan Reynolds at work. Adam is a big mouth that has a complicated relationship with his mother Ellie (Jennifer Garner) after his father Louis (Mark Ruffalo) died. I’m not sure if Ryan Reynolds had to develop comedic charm, but this Ryan Reynolds incarnate, in his first acting role, is a natural in comedic timing and easily has most of the funniest lines in the film. Not a bad young actor for Ryan to take under his wings.
As you can expect from anything Reynolds is in, this is a very comfortable film to watch. I’ve come to understand that Reynolds loves his easy to watch stories and The Adam Project is one of those films you can soak in the entertaining values it possesses. The film follows in the footsteps of good vibes science fiction films that have come before it. There are small references to Star Wars and Back to the Future, some may even see The Adam Project trying to capture the same fun those films spawned, however, no one is mentioning Flight of the Navigator, which I felt this film was much, much closer towards.
The Adam Project doesn’t take too much effort to realise that this film is multi-layered as well. This isn’t just a film about Adam meeting his future self and stopping the bad guys. It’s a film about having a second chance to fix relationships with the people who are around you. Adam by the end of the film is much more appreciative of his mother and father. With that strong narrative in mind, I did end up wishing that Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo had bigger roles to play rather than being in limited roles.
Time travel in film is one of the toughest story elements to make airtight, with many franchise films or standalone films failing to tie up any loopholes fans discover. The Adam Project doesn’t so much create new rules but borrows from what came before, but even by doing this, The Adam Project fall into one of the biggest traps you can have in a time travel film. The film throws around time travel lingo at lightspeed and because we jump right into the time travel elements no longer than 8 minutes into the film, it feels very rushed with not a lot of time to connect the rules together.
The Adam Project also has a very underwhelming villain in Biff.. sorry, Maya Sorian (Catherine Keener), a former partner of Adam’s dad who betrayed him and created a future where she is the richest and most powerful woman on Earth. You may not even take notice of the blandness of her character because you’ll be too busy being distracted by some very poor de-ageing technology when she has to play her character’s younger self. Since we’re going to have to accept that de-ageing technology in cinema is here to stay, we have to treat it to the same high standards we have with any other CGI, and unfortunately, this is where The Adam Project could have had more time spent polishing it up.
It’s not as charming as other films Ryan Reynolds has been involved in, but The Adam Project can still bring the odd smile to your face. The biggest credit has to go to Walker Scobell for a convincing and funny performance as young Adam, for a first impression performance, it will be curious to see what doors open to him. It’s pretty hard to say anything different about a Ryan Reynolds viewing experience because they’re all pretty similar, I will say though that The Adam Project is on the weaker side of enjoyability but enjoyable nonetheless. Aside from some questionable CGI and handling of time travel itself, The Adam Project is a very casual watch.
Final Result: 5/10 – Average
Have you seen The Adam Project? What did you think? Please let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.
Next Time: The Phantom of the Open