The Adam Project is directed by Shawn Levy, written by Jonathan Trooper, T.S. Nowlin, Jennifer Flackett, and Mark Levin, and it stars an ensemble cast headlined by Ryan Reynolds, alongside Zoe Saldana, Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Garner, Catherine Keener, and young Walker Scobell. After the surprise hit Free Guy, The Adam Project is the second collaboration of Levy and Reynolds (with the 3rd confirmed to be the 3rd Deadpool movie) and it is also a surprisingly good movie with a lot of heart and charm. Like Free Guy, the action was not my cup of tea and it was serviceable at best, but the great performances and the heart that was able to get through the spectacle is the saving grace.
The Adam Project is about Adam Reed; we meet him as a twelve-year-old who recently lost his father and is now suspended from school due to getting into a fight. Then, he meets himself from the future as a badass pilot who traveled back in time in order to stop time travel from ever existing and dooming the world. It’s a fairly simple premise that harkens back to 80s family-oriented blockbusters and it is the best analogy for this movie. For me, the big surprise was the acting; Reynolds is a great actor who has recently found a niche, but he is so much more than that. He is still the same ‘scoundrel with a heart of gold and polite manners’ but he is also allowed to be an actor conveying emotions. In particular, there is a scene with Jennifer Garner in a bar that I found particularly strong, because it is emotionally bare and raw, which is something that is often not allowed in similar movies. Beyond Reynolds and Garner, young Scobell is also great in the movie and does an excellent job in capturing a lot of Reynold’s mannerisms and fooling the audience into believing that he could be Reynolds if you turned back time by 30 years. Mark Ruffalo and Zoe Saldana also provide good performances, while Catherine Keener chews up every scene, she is in. A lot of these good performances are down to the fact that the writing is excellent; the story is kind of generic and not that interesting to follow, but the dialogues and themes of the movie are so fun and charming that the actors have a lot to work with and do the writers justice. Moreover, just like with Free Guy, the banter and comedic writing is on-point and it made me laugh a heck of a lot more than I was expecting.
Having said all of that, this is an action-adventure so the action needs to be on-point as well and it doesn’t score as highly. There are scenes were more practical stunts steal the show and the action becomes enjoyable, but for the most part, it is a serviceable CGI fest that mostly made me gloss over a lot of it and wait for the better parts of the movie to be brought back into focus. I never felt bored by the movie or its sense of action, but I rarely felt entertained by it. Thankfully, one of the better aspects of the movie is its blistering fast pacing; at one hour and 45 minutes, this movie covers so much ground and allows for slower moments to build characters as well as bombastic set-pieces.
All in all, The Adam Project just like Free Guy is a great blockbuster experience. There is a lot of charm, there are quite a few laughs to be had, and for people who don’t have the same fatigue as I have of CGI action a lot of decent set-pieces and entertaining action. The story is kind of generic and a lot of the sci-fi elements, in particular, are visually uninteresting, but great performances and writing deliver a great experience.