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‘The Adam Project’ is Let Down by its Script

The Adam Project (L to R) Ryan Reynolds as Big Adam and Walker Scobell as Young Adam.
Photo Credit Netflix © 2022

Free Guy was one of last year’s biggest films, so, the news of director Shawn Levy and lead star Ryan Reynolds reteaming on an original film for Netflix, The Adam Project, was very enticing. Unfortunately, the film gets off to a rough start and struggles to recover.

Within its quick introduction of a pilot on the run in 2050 named Adam (Reynolds) who hops to the past to complete a secretive mission only to crash land in the wrong time and end up running into his younger self (Walker Scobell), The Adam Project instantly annoys you with its overly quippy script. Look, it’s no shock that a movie led by Reynolds comes with his Deadpool-style approach to humor, but the film relies on it way too much. Pretty much every line of dialogue with just about every character has Reynolds’s Deadpool snark and it doesn’t help that Scobell’s Adam is meant to be a younger version of him, so there’s often two of them doing the same thing. To be fair, it is kind of impressive and funny that Reynolds has sort of met his comedic match with Scobell, who shows some promise here. However, the overuse of quips within the dialogue quickly makes it tiresome to hear.

One line after another, this film just rattles through jokes at a machine gun pace and never stops. The back and forth between Reynolds and Scobell moves so fast that most jokes barely even register and the over emphasis on quippy humor also doesn’t help drown out their unlikable qualities. Reynolds’s Adam is a total jerk to his younger self and Scobell’s Adam is just an annoying little kid who really treats his mom (Jennifer Garner) with little care. Don’t get me wrong, their unlikeable aspects are supposed to play into their sort of combined arc–even if it doesn’t make a great first impression–and to give the film some credit, it can have great character moments.

As the two Adams interact more, there’s this pessimistic view of life that comes from the older Adam that touches on feelings the younger Adam doesn’t realize yet. From all the harbored anger towards his father (Mark Ruffalo) to the resentment he feels for how he treated his mother, there’s a lot of interesting inner turmoil within the older Adam that’s relatable and explored in some genuinely emotional ways. The moment of the Adams having a real conversation about themselves lead to a unique form of confronting your past and the final bonding moment is certainly heartwarming and tear-inducing. However, the better story moments are mostly drowned out by the film’s snark and lackluster sci-fi adventure story.

Although The Adam Project makes a big deal about the impact time travel has on the world and its characters, it never follows through with any of the consequences it presents. There’s plenty of talk surrounding the dangers of the older Adam interacting with the past that never really leads to any sort of obstacle or challenge and the film barely explores the impact of time travel being invented. The overall world-building is very thin and frankly, the entire plot surrounding Adam searching for his wife Laura (Zoe Saldana) doesn’t add much to the story at all. It generally feels thrown in and the film also doesn’t utilize its amazing action pieces enough to add more to what’s happening on-screen.

Honestly, when The Adam Project switches to having sci-fi action, it kicks ass. The visual effects are strong and the great mix of choreography, cool sci-fi tech, and music adds some great energy to the film that mostly feels missing when it focuses on the main story. The action is genuinely one of the best parts of The Adam Project, but unfortunately, it’s so minimal that the film ends up desperately calling to it only when its pace severely starts to drag.

The Adam Project attempts to be sort of a modern callback to ’80s Amblin adventure films and shows some story and visual potential for achieving that goal. However, it ultimately struggles to get there thanks to its overtly smarmy humor and not delving deep enough into its more emotional character and story moments.

The Adam Project will be available to stream on Netflix on Friday, March 11.

Tom Moore
Tom Moorehttps://mooreviews.com/
Tom is always ready to see and review everything horrifying and hilarious that hits theaters, television, and video games...sometimes. You can check out his other reviews and articles on his blog, Mooreviews.

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