"The Adam Project" stars Ryan Reynolds, Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Garner, Walker Scobell, Catherine Keener, and Zoe Saldana. Released on Netflix on March 11, 2022, the film has a man seeking the help of his younger self to save his future.
The film was directed by Shawn Levy, who also directed films such as "Big Fat Liar", "Night at the Museum", "Real Steel", and "Free Guy". Have you ever dreamed about meeting the older version of yourself from the future? Well, that dream just became a reality…sort of. While we won't get a follow-up to last year's surprise hit, "Free Guy", for a while, that doesn't stop Ryan Reynolds and Shawn Levy from making another movie together. One that doesn't involve many video game references, for better or worse. Shawn Levy is no stranger to delivering some light-hearted comedies, especially for families, but he also doesn't shy away from providing some dramatic affairs, including the ones in the science fiction department. This film appears to be another example of the latter as the filmmaker attempts to continue Reynolds' success on Netflix. Since I loved what they did with "Free Guy", there was no way I would pass up on something like this. With that said, let's see if this latest sci-fi movie serves as solid counter-programming in the streaming world.
The film centers on Adam Reed (Reynolds), a fighter pilot from a dystopian 2050. He steals a time jet to escape from those who want him dead and sets off on a rescue mission to 2018. However, Adam accidentally crash-lands in 2022 instead, where he encounters the younger version of himself (Scobell). Here, the younger Adam struggles with the recent death of his father Louis (Ruffalo). The two Adams team up to fix their future and avoid capture by a powerful businesswoman named Maya Sorian (Keener) and her security enforcer Christos (Alex Mallari Jr.).
The movie has two types of plots that Levy has to juggle to craft a fun experience for his viewers. One is an action-packed time-traveling adventure centering on Ryan Reynolds joining forces with his younger self to save their future. The other is a drama about them coping with the loss of their father and letting go of the pain that affected them. I always appreciate movies that have something to say, but I also like watching fun action films with a goofy banter or two between the characters. When a film like this has both of these things, it's either going to be something special or a tonal mess, depending on the execution. Luckily, Shawn Levy has experience with these elements in his previous projects, mainly science fiction and drama, so I'm not entirely worried about it. I just want to have a good time seeing Reynolds kick butt and be his charismatic self. Unsurprisingly, that's what I got. Was it as great as "Free Guy"? Not really, but it's a thrilling and slickly visualized piece of sci-fi entertainment regardless.
One of the elements that worked in "The Adam Project" is the plot. Its time-travel formula doesn't offer anything too unique, but that doesn't make it less fun. When it comes to the pacing, the characters, and the action, the movie is a swift and entertaining adventure that features solid chemistry from the cast and some enjoyable sci-fi sequences. But, of course, it isn't without a few moments that'll tug at your heartstrings. As mentioned earlier, Levy doesn't shy away from injecting the heart into his movies amid the chaos in their comedy and visual flair. Even though the results in some of his films are far from memorable, It's easy to admit that his efforts in making them endearing should not go unnoticed. "The Adam Project" is no different, as it provides a decent amount of feels to go along with its series of time-traveling shenanigans. Most of those heartfelt scenes didn't quite pack a highly emotional punch, but they offer enough to put a regular-sized smile on my face.
Another element that I enjoyed was the cast. Ryan Reynolds is once again delightful regarding his role as Adam. In terms of his humor and action scenes, Reynolds is his usual charming self, for better or worse, but he never shies away from putting some dramatic heft into his performance. Walker Scobell delivered a respectable performance as the 12-year-old version of Adam. He started a bit annoying at first, but he gradually grew on me once he encountered his older self. After that, it was nothing but smooth sailing for Scobell and his entertaining chemistry with Reynolds. Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo were also good in their roles as Ellie (Adam's mother) and Louis, respectively, making this brief "13 Going on 30" reunion an unapologetic delight for fans of the 2004 rom-com. Zoe Saldana had some decent moments as Laura Shane, Adam's wife, but she can be exaggerated at times regarding her acting.
Aside from his direction on the comedy and heart, Levy has an undeniable knack at providing some effective camerawork and energy in the action sequences. It does have some shaky-cam maneuvers in specific scenes, but none of them make my eyes want to puke. That's good news for me because I don't want to spend the rest of my day cleaning up after them. The camera movements were planned out nicely to capture the action entirely, and the choreography for the fight scenes was decent to watch. It would definitely be interesting to see if Levy's direction on the action can also work for his upcoming "Deadpool" sequel. Knowing the solid cooperation between Levy and Reynolds, I'm willing to bet that he will do just fine.
Overall, "The Adam Project" used its time wisely to deliver an action-packed and enjoyably moving sci-fi movie worthy of Reynolds' talents. While some of the dramatic moments may not work as well as the time-traveling elements, Shawn Levy does his job in providing a healthy amount of sci-fi entertainment as only he knows how. With its solid cast, an enjoyable plot, entertaining action scenes, and Levy's mixture of humor and heart, this is Ryan Reynolds' most tolerable film in his list of projects for Netflix. If you're a fan of the actor and are in a mood for something that combines the action with some feel-good moments, this film is worth checking out.