'The Adam Project' Review: Shawn Levy and Ryan Reynolds pull off breezy action-comedy
Imagine two characters playing Ryan Reynolds, one's a mini-version and the other is actually Ryan Reynolds. That's essentially double the wisecracks and twice as fun. That's pretty much what 'The Adam Project' is all about. Everything else — the time travel plot, some ample Mark Ruffalo screentime and a baddie (not so much of a threat) are just pieces placed around the versatile actor. Teaming up with 'Free Guy director Shawn Levy, Reynolds brings a breezy and fun action flick that lands on Netflix making for a blissful Friday watch.
Note that this was a film that was initially supposed to star Tom Cruise as the lead, but we're pretty glad that it's Reynolds, especially with the copious doses of comedy attached. He's Adam Reed, a pilot from the future, 2050 to be precise and is fending off Catherine Keener's Maya Sorian and her cronies in search of his wife Laura (Zoe Saldaña). He crashlands to 2022 after time jumping (that's a thing in the future) and for better or worse, he crashes right at his house and ends up meeting his 12-year-old self (Walker Scobell).
Needless to say, both the Adams are absolute geeks with a mouth. The younger one discovers pretty quickly that the stranger in this house is his future version and the initial chemistry is a treat to watch. The villains come knocking in soon after as does Laura. The consequences of time travel and the rules of engagement takeover with Louis Reed (Mark Ruffalo), the Adams' father making a midway appearance and then joins the super nerdy boy band. The mission is simple: Reset things back to the way they were and not tamper with the concept of time travel.
Naturally, the world has a different understanding of time travel after 'Avengers: Endgame'. You know, pushing time through a person instead of a person through time and all that. And yet, 'The Adam Project' breaks all those supposedly sacrosanct rules without breaking into a sweat. The movie is enjoyable because the actors have played roles that suit them best. Reynolds is best-suited for action comedies and this one perhaps will salvage some of the damage 'Red Notice' caused. Ruffalo was geeky in 'The Avengers' and he's geeky now, so that's second nature. Saldaña doesn't really do much except share some limited screentime. Scobell shows promise as Adam and tries his best to be Reynolds and for that, there are full marks going his way.
Despite the laughs and the action along with a cast that's impressive, 'The Adam Project' is not without flaws. Running at an hour and 46 minutes, the emphasis is on the character rather than the overall plot and at no point is there any tinge of fear that these lead characters become part of something larger and serious. The latest draft of the script following the movie's revival before it went into dire straits initially, was written by Jonathan Tropper, from previous drafts by TS Nowlin, Jennifer Flackett, and Mark Levin. Tropper's writing is crisp and does enough for a Netflix watch, but nothing really hard-hitting or concrete comes out of it.
But again, this isn't a movie that needs to be critiqued from a science standpoint. Time travel has been a part of pop culture for decades and Reynolds' movie just joins the bandwagon. Hell, if Keanu Reeves could toggle back and forth in time and have a good run at it in 'Bill & Ted Face the Music', Reynolds can do that too and say he's done some work in that genre. This one is worth breaking out the sodas and popcorn.
'The Adam Project' is available for streaming on Netflix.