Ryan Reynolds, Mark Ruffalo and Walker Scobell in The Adam Project.
More is not always better, especially when it comes to movies. Bruce the Jaws shark looks fake? Show him to the audience less. Your protagonist is going through some heartbreak? Show that on their face—don’t have them say “Hey, guess what, I am going through some heartbreak” and then launch into an explanation of why.
In the same vein I find it a bit tiring how almost every action movie ever has grandiose stakes that usually include saving nothing less than humanity itself. The Adam Project is, partially, yet another example of this eye-rolling cliché, but I can forgive it because the smaller, more personal moments that it also features work quite well, as does the comedy and action itself.
The Adam Project is one of those time-travel movies, and as such it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense if you stop to think about it for even a moment. I certainly didn’t. As soon as Ryan Reynolds started to say something even remotely timey-wimey my brain shut off and I looked at my phone. I don’t think I really missed much, though; the saving-the-world-through-time-travel plot was mostly secondary, instead serving as the backdrop of the smaller story of a family learning to heal after great tragedy. Newcomer Walter Scobell plays the twelve-year-old Adam, who is visited by his future self (Reynolds), and the resulting duo is highly entertaining. Not only is Scobell a dead-ringer for a younger Ryan Reynolds, but he also nails the same comedic timing and snarky cleverness that made his older counterpart famous (I’m still not entirely convinced Ryan Reynolds exists and isn’t just Deadpool in disguise). The supporting cast is also impressive, featuring big names such as Jennifer Garner as the mom, Zoe Saldana as the wife, and Mark Ruffalo as the dad, and the brief runtime of 1 hour and 46 minutes means that nobody overstays their welcome.
The fight choreography is also well done, and the coolness of all the bouts is greatly boosted by the licensed tunes that kick in every time the fists start to fly (how Netflix could afford to license a Led Zeppelin song when the band members are notoriously picky over which movies they are featured in, I have no idea). This is the only good part of the soundtrack, unfortunately, as the original tracks are all highly unoriginal and generic. Speaking of highly unoriginal and generic, the futuristic tech showcased in the film, as well as the overall look, is that of your typical sci-fi fare with little to differentiate it from the myriad of other movies of the same ilk. Compounding the blandness is poor *****, which I guess is to be expected and subsequently forgiven for a streaming original. The bad guys are also kind of just there to be bad guys. You don’t need to know or care why.
Overall I enjoyed The Adam Project. Sweet, funny, and exciting, it is the perfect example of small scale being the right scale.
The Adam Project is now available on Netflix.