Ryan Reynolds reteams with his Free Guy director, Shawn Levy, for The Adam Project from Netflix. After accidentally crash-landing in 2022, time-traveling fighter pilot Adam Reed (Reynolds) teams up with his 12-year-old self (Walker Scobell) for a mission to save the future. The film script comes from the pen of Jonathan Tropper, who successfully taps into a nostalgic eighties crowd-pleasing plot.
The Adam Project opens up by introducing us to Adam in the middle of what appears to be an intergalactic war in the year 2050. Naturally, Adam takes a literal hit during the chase and ends up in the year 2022. Meanwhile, the 12-year-old Adam is currently dealing with the untimely death of his father Louis (Mark Ruffalo) and causing some unneeded stress in his mom Ellie's (Jennifer Garner) life. Not to mention that he faces the wrath of bullies regularly.
We learn why the older Adam is traveling through time through a series of events. Without going into spoilers, all I'll say is it involves his wife Laura (Zoe Saldaña). While you may think you know where the script will take the film, it does take a bit of a surprising turn. That said, the heart of The Adam Project is in the interactions between Ryan Reynolds and Walker Scobell, who essentially portray the same character.
Scobell effectively nails the quips of Reynold's personality, particularly the dry wit and sarcasm that Reynolds has made a successful career of. However, some of my favorite moments from The Adam Project are the more human elements. Such as when Adam encounters his mom and dad as an adult. There is an extraordinary moment between Reynolds and Garner in the film's first act that reminded me of my current relationship with my mom.
In addition, the moments that Reynolds has with Ruffalo's character got me a bit choked up. I've experienced three huge losses of great men in my life over the last six years. While I know GOD has a plan, naturally, it would be great to time travel and have another moment with each of them. As The Adam Project is a time travel movie, I’m sure viewers will have the questions that fill most films of the genre.
For the most part, Johnathan Tropper's script, a rewrite of previous drafts by T.S. Nowling, Jennifer Flackett, and Mark Levin, gets it right. There are a few jokes about Back to The Future, multiverses, and stock investments, but it all comes together. Kudos to the scriptwriter for allowing the women in the film to shine. It was great to see Zoe Saldaña in an action role that will tide us over until the latest chapters of the Avatar and Guardians of the Galaxy franchises arrive.
I was also fond of seeing Catherine Keener portray another villain following 2018’s Get Out. Here, Kenner seamlessly taps into the woman version of a Bill Gates type who is overly ambitious and yearning for more power. Shawn Levy excels as a director by seamlessly balancing the heart that a movie of this type requires with some enjoyable action scenes.
Despite some familiarity with the plot, The Adam Project still receives a recommendation solely on the magic of the chemistry between Reynolds and Scobell.
Final Grade: B+
The Adam Project is available to stream on Netflix now.