The Adam Project
Share on social media
Find More Watercooler Picks
The arrival of a time-traveling pilot from the future—who happens to be the grown-up version of himself—complicates what would normally be a regular week for 12-year-old Adam. As it turns out, middle school bullies got nothing on evil corporate CEOs and collapsing future timelines.
The Adam Project was directed by Shawn Levy (Free Guy, Night at the Museum) and written by Jonathan Tropper (This Is Where I Leave You), T.S. Nowlin (The Maze Runner), Jennifer Flackett (Journey to the Center of the Earth), and Mark Levin (Wimbledon); Starring Ryan Reynolds (Free Guy, Deadpool), Walker Scobell, Jennifer Garner (Yes Day), Mark Ruffalo (The Avengers), Zoe Saldaña (Star Trek, Avatar, Guardians of the Galaxy) and Catherine Keener (Being John Malkovich).
In The Adam Project, Adam (Ryan Reynolds) and his high-tech aircraft teleport from the year 2050 back to 2022. Big words like “timeline streams” and “accelerators” get thrown around, but all you really need to know is that he just wants to change the future. Shot in the abdomen and marooned in the wrong year (he was aiming for 2018), he comes across his much younger self (played by Walker Scobell) who is dealing with his/their father’s recent death.
There’s a whole mouthful going on, yet one of the best parts of the chaos is how lockstep the two actors are in creating the same character. Young Scobell is doing the best 12-year-old Ryan Reynolds impression one could ever ask for–right down to the pithy sarcasm immortalized in movies like The Proposal and Deadpool.
But make no mistake, this is yet another vehicle tailored specifically to Ryan Reynolds’ strengths. The actor has made it a science at this point of traversing the goofy with the subtly serious–as seen recently in his other Netflix success, Red Notice, co-starring Dwayne Johnson and Gal Gadot. And much like Red Notice, The Adam Project has some fairly badass fight sequences too. Pairing one film with the other would make for an excellent one-two punch double feature of riotous, wholesome fun.
It must be said, though, that The Adam Project sometimes loses its footing with the overall tone. The writing leans a little too hard into emotional adult moments for a kid-centric film, such as when Older Adam converses with his mom (Jennifer Garner) in a bar (which feels considerably weird). However, when the film does find the right kismet it seizes upon it with admirable gusto. I’m thinking here generally of all the scenes involving Mark Ruffalo as Adam’s father. If you can believe it, the Netflix title low-key has its own Good Will Hunting “It’s not your fault” scene, with Ruffalo doing a tremendously sweet Robin Williams interpretation. Not to mention the 13 Going on 30 reunion of Ruffalo and Garner as Adam’s parents, though they only really share one scene.
The Adam Project is one of those movies you go into imagining big explosions and kids hilariously making life-or-death decisions (like Zathura, for example). And, to be sure it throws everything it has at the wall and then some: time-travel jiu jitsu soldiers, a stacked all-star cast, and lots of heart.
The intended audience for The Adam Project sort of defies logic, similar to the storyline itself. For the most part, it is family friendly for those with older kids. There are a few instances where it may feel awkward to be watching with younger ones (we’re talking mild profanity and some subtle innuendos), but honestly, those moments will probably fly right over their little heads anyway. My teenage brother also happened to find it hysterical, so grab some popcorn because this movie means a fun family movie night for all.
This is the second in what Reynolds has said will be a trilogy of films with director Shawn Levy (the first being Free Guy). He’s promised the third will be more “stabby.”