Movie Review: The Adam Project

The Adam Project is a film about a boy, Adam, struggling with coping after the death of his beloved father. One day, a man falls out of the sky and it turns out to be himself from the future. The future Adam is searching for his wife, Laura, who is lost in the past. The two of them embark on an adventure to save their futures and end the corruption of time travel by an evil corporation. The film stars Ryan Reynolds, Walker Scobell, Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Garner, Zoe Saldaña and Catherine Keener. The film is written by Jonathan Tropper, T.S. Nowlin, Jennifer Flackett, and Mark Levin and is directed by Shawn Levy. The film is streaming exclusively on Netflix.


I love a good time travel narrative. I like to dig into the minutiae of determinism or fate vs. a branching timeline theory. The Adam Project feels like it wants the time travel, but without the minutiae. The filmmakers have come up with a solution to the conundrum about what happens when something is changed in the past and it feels like a cop out. I don't want to get into my supreme unified theories of pop culture time travel, but suffice it to say, as an aficionado and amateur scholar of the genre the added caveats lower the stakes of the action quite a bit.


In truth, I did enjoy The Adam Project. There's a lot of cool sci-fi action and special effects that keep the plot moving at a good clip. Shawn Levy has proven time and again that he is a director that can balance action and story well. He knows the right angles and movements to really tug at our heartstrings. Levy is helped along by cinematographer Tobias Schliessler who has a warmth to his camera even in the depths of an evil machine and by the incredible sci-fi mind of production designer Claude Paré whose sets have a mood all their own.


What rankles me about the film is what it will be watched for and that is Ryan Reynolds. I find Ryan Reynolds charming, funny, handsome, winsome, and I am completely over his schtick. Year after year, movie after movie, we have seen him devolve as a performer into a non-stop quip machine. The Adam Project is no different, but with the added detriment of a "mini me" in the form of young actor Walker Scobell.


Then, there is the scene in which Reynolds as Adam goes to a bar to think and runs into his mother, played by Jennifer Garner. They have an exchange about grief and growing up that is very affecting. It shows off Reynolds' range as an actor and the pathos he can evoke if given the chance to stretch. There are more than a few times in the film where I could stand the direction Reynolds takes with his performance.


The Adam Project is a solid action/sci-fi film. It's got its moments of genuine heart, humor, and horror. This is the kind of movie you pop on to unwind from the week, that will leave you just the right amount of emotionally satisfied. It didn't fully sate my lust for excellent time travel narratives, but I did feel as if I didn't waste my time on it.

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