I really liked Free Guy. It was just an incredibly fun movie that just so happened to have Ryan Reynolds star in and Shawn Levy in the director’s chair. So, when it was announced the two were reuniting in Netflix’s The Adam Project, I was mildly excited. I thought Free Guy was good but not exactly groundbreaking. Still, I did have a positive view of the film so I wanted to see if the duo can, at the very least, make another entertaining film in The Adam Project.
While The Adam Project has been on Netflix for around a week now so the people who were interested on seeing it have probably already done so. Still, there may be some people who are on the fence about devoting almost two hours of their day to seeing this and want to know if it’s a waste of time or not but still don’t want to know anything about the film’s plot. So, yeah, this will be a SPOILER FREE review.
The Adam Project has a time pilot named Adam Reed in a stolen time spaceship with the purpose of going back to the past to find out what happened to his wife. However, due to his time spaceship getting shot at, Adam instead travels back in time and meets his younger self. The two then have to try to find out what happened to his wife while also possibly trying to fix the future.
The first thing I do have to mention is the acting of the two main leads, Ryan Reynolds who plays the older Adam Reed and Walker Scobell, in what I think is his acting debut, who plays his younger self. Ryan Reynolds, well, plays the type of character you would expect him to play. He’s the wiseguy with a quick wit and always ready to throw in a sarcastic comment or two at a moments notice. Some people think his shtick is wearing thin now but I’m not one of those people. I still find Ryan Reynolds’ routine pretty entertaining but your mileage may vary depending if you’re sick of it or not. What is impressive is Walker Scobell’s performance as he manages to mimic Ryan Reynolds wisecracking mannerisms and wit very well. I know he’s probably mouthing off the lines he memorized but he does make it sound incredibly natural, making you believe he is a younger version of Ryan Reynolds. As this is Walker Scobell first real role, I’m very interested to see him in future roles just to check out if he’s really that witty or if he’s just that good of an actor.
The rest of the performances are also rather good but never really left their mark on the story. It does feel nice to see Jennifer Garner back on the big screen, even if it’s just in a minimal mom role. It’s also fun to see Mark Ruffalo in the scientist role and it does make me wish Marvel would do a new Incredible Hulk movie with him. Zoe Saldana is effective as Adam Reed’s wife who mysteriously vanished during a supposedly routine time jump. Not all the performances, unfortunately, are all that great. The weakest is definitely Catherine Keener who plays the big baddie of the film. I’m sorry but she never comes off as menacing and, even when she tries to play up the machiavellian mastermind, it just doesn’t work.
It certainly doesn’t help that, besides from the two Adam Reeds, none of the supporting cast members really have that much time to flex their acting muscle. Then again, I will say it’s when the film focuses on Ryan Reynolds and Walker Scobell’s characters that The Adam Project is the most entertaining. In fact, I found their more quiet scenes, wherein the two of them are just talking to each other and being bigmouth smartalecks is when the film is the most entertaining.
That’s not to say the action and fight scenes aren’t fun. They are but, at the same time, come off as somewhat hokey. The special effects are okay but do feel somewhat cheap looking. Having people flying around from blasts just doesn’t really have any impact. Even when the enemies “die,” they just explode into dust, making it come off as it’s okay since there are no dead bodies to count. It’s fun if you just turn off your brain and just try to enjoy the fight choreography.
The biggest problem I have with The Adam Project is, well, it’s kind of poorly written and paced. There are some good character moments, like when the older Adam tries to tell his younger self about what he’s doing and how he’ll regret them in the future and the emotional moments of when the older Adam has a heartfelt talk with his mother in the past. But then we get to the actual “meat” of The Adam Project, which deals with this big plot about how someone might be messing with the timeline.
There’s also a lot of telling but not a lot of showing. For instance, you’re told that the situation in the future is terrible but, since you never get to see how terrible it is, you don’t know how dire the situation is. You’re told Catherine Keener’s character is the evil mastermind who controls everything in the future but you’re then introduced to her after a third of the film has passed. Because of this, you never get an adequate of the stakes. It certainly doesn’t help The Adam Project’s version of how time travel affects the future comes off as contradictory at times.
Even with all of the problems I’ve mentioned, I still would recommend The Adam Project. It’s still a fun movie, mostly thanks to Ryan Reynolds and Walker Scobell’s performances and line delivery. The action may be dumb but it’s a ridiculous kind of dumb that makes it passable. It may be much more enjoyable if you turn off your brain and not take things too seriously, though.
Have you seen The Adam Project? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments section below!