“The Adam Project” review: A hollow but fun good time


Courtesy of Netflix

David Culotta

Netflix’s latest movie “The Adam Project” is a textbook popcorn movie with good ideas often done with questionable execution. The science fiction flick features time-traveling pilot Adam Reed (Ryan Reynolds), who crash-lands into 2022 and must team up with his 12-year-old self (Walker Scobell) in order to save the future.

You can certainly feel Reynolds’s presence as a producer in almost every facet of the film, from irreverent dialogue from his character’s younger self to some of the rapidly delivered time travel explanations that are kind of silly. But they are delivered with such flippant confidence that the viewer may not even care.

My biggest critique of this movie is that at times it feels like an imitation of a movie. When we first meet the younger Adam, he gets beat up in a fight. His bully delivers a ridiculous bully line, to which Adam responds: “Who says that? Did you order a bully starter kit off Amazon?” It seems like a line constructed by Reynolds to show off how clever the movie is, although it comes across as though the original scene was deemed too poorly written.

Instead of fully rewriting the scene, the filmmakers decided it would be better to leave it as it was, adding only that line as if to say: “Hey! We know you think this line is bad, but you should know we think it’s bad too.” This kind of moment occurs frequently throughout the film, where instead of trying to create something new, the film ends up becoming predictable while at the same time trying to remind the viewer that they are aware of the fact.

That being said, the characters we meet along the way are a lot of fun even if they constantly make irrational decisions, especially when the sci-fi logic they use to justify them becomes immediately disproven within the same scene. The best of these characters are definitely Adam and his younger self, who provide a dynamic that includes a lot of fun bickering as they fight about which one of them is living a better life as well as who is a worse person, considering their actions and attitudes toward their parents.

The fast-paced action scenes within the film offer a few surprises, aided by the surprisingly effective fight choreography especially when mixed with the mechanics of the sci-fi weapons the characters wield. There is a massive amount of CGI in the film, which for the most part looks great. However it can also be distracting, especially in the case of Catherine Keener’s character, a businesswoman connected to Adam’s past. She both portrays her present-day and younger selves, with the latter achieved through de-aging that veers little too far into uncanny valley.

Ultimately “The Adam Project” provides a fun time that sometimes feels hollow, although it has a few genuinely sweet moments.

Click here to stream “The Adam Project” on Netflix.

Illustration by Ariel Landry
Illustration by Ariel Landry