Some of the ideas aren’t very original and it sometimes feels a bit generic, but it’s an incredibly charming and emotional story with some impressive special effects from time to time. They couldn’t have found a better young actor to portray the younger version of Ryan Reynolds in Walker Scobell, who are both hilarious together.
No matter what movie he’s in, you can be sure Ryan Reynolds will deliver the entertainment. He doesn’t always give the most nuanced and versatile performances, even though we’ve seen him do it before with his diverse filmography. But, you can always expect him to bring the laughs, and I consider him an expert in that regard thanks to his comedic timing and delivery. His pairing with director Shawn Levy proved to be a major hit in Free Guy, and he once again reunited with him for The Adam Project. I saw this trailer and I knew I had to see it. It seemed to be heavily inspired by pop culture with the themes it portrayed, and who doesn’t love that as a fan? It also gave off various family entertainment vibes, so I feel I already had somewhat of an idea as to what I was getting into once I saw it. Although I don’t think it’s a complete home run, there’s plenty of fun to be had with Reynolds’ latest.
In The Adam Project, Reynolds plays Adam Reed, a time-traveling fighter pilot (definitely some Star Wars vibes) from 2050 who accidentally finds himself in the year 2022 after crash-landing. He then joins forces with his 12-year-old self (Walker Scobell) and together, they go on a quest to save the future.
Right off the bat, Reynolds brings the charm and wit we’ve come to expect of him all of these years. As mentioned earlier, he can be versatile with his acting ability, but most people know him as a jokester. With that being said, there are plenty of moments in this movie where he gets to show off more of his acting chops, including the action sequences and even the dramatic beats. In reality though, you grow to love the older Adam because of his clever dialogue and his ability to bring the humor consistently. It only gets better once he finally meets his younger self. Scobell is probably the absolute best young actor they could’ve possibly found to portray a younger version of Adam. Not only is there a resemblance, but you can tell he did his homework and spent a substantial amount of time with Reynolds in order to accurately make his performance believable. In all honesty, I thought I was watching a younger Reynolds at times since his performance is so convincing. It may just be my familiarity with Reynolds and what I’ve come to expect from him at this point in his career, but I think Scobell may have even been better than he was in the movie. This doesn’t diminish or discredit Reynolds’ portrayal, of course. If anything, it shows how talented Scobell is at such a young age and how much potential he has to grow from here. The bond they’re able to create, especially from their very first interaction, is special. You feel so many emotions early on and it mostly carries on throughout the film.
I enjoyed some of the other performances, including Jennifer Garner as Ellie Reed, Adam’s mother, Mark Ruffalo as Louis Reed, Adam’s father, and Zoe Saldana as Laura Reed, adult Adam’s wife. The only issue is there wasn’t enough of them in the film. The runtime is pretty short as is, so I understand the main focus is placed on the dynamic between adult Adam and 12-year-old Adam. However, I think the film could’ve benefitted from a slightly longer runtime in order to flesh these characters out a bit more. At the end of the day, they serve the purpose to the story and it helps bring everything together in the grander scheme of things, but they could’ve been utilized a bit more. There are plenty of heart-tugging scenes with each of them. You get the mother son dynamic with Ellie and Adam (both versions), even though the scene that impacted me the most is when adult Adam finds her in a bar. I won’t spoil the details, but it’s probably my favorite scene in the film. A father-son scene with both Adams really brings it all together as well. By far, the one who needed to do more was Saldana. Again, I loved her when she was in it, but as mentioned, a bit underused. Truly, I had no interest in Catherine Keener’s Maya Sorian and Alex Mallari Jr. as Christos. They’re your typical generic antagonists, and I’ve seen far too many movies with those already.
There are some other generic elements. When it comes to the story, it doesn’t really do anything new or original. I was invested from the start, but it has mostly to do with the character moments and their relationships with one another. Most of the plot details have been used before in other movies, and some others have done it a bit better. Unfortunately, not all of the ideas are fully realized, but at the same time, it doesn’t go overboard and make it feel convoluted and messy. I guess they found a happy medium, but I think there was more potential to tell a more interesting and unique story. Getting back to the pop culture references, and I’m sure there are more, but the ones that stand out the most are from Star Wars and Back to the Future.
There’s literal lightsabers. Obviously, they’re stylized a bit differently, but they’re definitely lightsabers. The same can be said about the guns, which reminded me a bit of the blasters. The time jumps and going into wormholes is another idea the creators were definitely inspired by, and there’s also spaceships and jets that are seemingly modeled by the various different aircrafts we’ve seen in a galaxy far, far away. As for Back to the Future, it doesn’t take much thinking here since time travel is one of the main plot points, but it seems to follow the old trope time travel films usually follow, which is how changing something in the past can affect the future. There have been other forms of media to challenge this notion, especially Avengers: Endgame, where it discusses how traveling into the past technically becomes your future, so it won’t affect your present. If you ask me, it’s all a bunch of mumbo jumbo and fully depends how storytellers want to explain time travel. The point is, I loved the references since it triggers nostalgia, and I appreciate that. Then again, I wouldn’t mind the films who use this to combine it with a bit more of originality as well.
I was a big fan of the special effects and how the film made everything look. I don’t remember spotting many moments where I was turned off by the CGI or unimpressed. The only poorly done one was the de-aging technology they used for a specific character. It was pretty bad, especially when I’ve already seen other films do it so much better. Besides that, I don’t have many complaints. I saw it on Netflix on a computer screen and was already fully immersed, but I can only imagine it being more immersive in a movie theater setting. I didn’t really buy some of the set pieces, though. The most glaring one is Adam’s house. To me, it doesn’t really look real. I mean, the inside of the house is fine, but where it’s located looked a bit fake. It seems to be in the middle of the forest and I didn’t buy it.
The Adam Project is charming and emotional thanks to the characters and their dynamic with one another. I think it should’ve taken advantage of some of the things it establishes and introduces a bit more, while also having some better, original ideas since I genuinely feel I’ve seen it all before. In reality though, you’re here for the story it tells and the banter Reynolds and Scobell deliver. It’s incredibly family friendly and I wouldn’t mind watching it again.