The Adam Project (2022)

Quick synopsis: After accidentally crash-landing in 2022, time-traveling fighter pilot Adam Reed teams up with his 12-year-old self for a mission to save the future.

Ryan Reynolds and Netflix Originals don’t have the best reputations. Red Notice was thoroughly mediocre, and when I mentioned I was watching 6 Underground, the reaction I got from people on Twitter was one of sympathy. This should be better though, directed by Shawn Levy, who made Free Guy, which was a lot of fun. So this could be awful, or it could be brilliant, either way, it wouldn’t surprise me. So is it worth watching? Kind of. I mean, it’s good, but it’s “streaming good”. By which I mean, it’s good, but not good enough that you want to make an effort. If you had to go to the cinema to watch it, or pay to stream it, you’d be very disappointed. But since it’s on netflix, you’re not paying for this individual film, so you have no financial investment in watching this. That’s for the best as it’s only ever a 7/10. I watched it about a week ago and still can’t remember that much from it.

That’s not to say it’s bad. It’s very funny at times, and whoever decided to cast Walker Scobell as a younger Ryan Reynolds? Give that man a raise. It’s one of the most perfect child castings I’ve seen in a long time, not so much visually, but Scobell absolutely NAILS the mannerisms where even if you weren’t told he was a younger version of Reynolds’ character, you’d know it. Reynolds does his usual, which is all he needs to do in a film like this. I am a massive fan of him but I will freely admit he doesn’t always pick the best films. But when a film he’s in is bad, it’s never because of him. Jennifer Garner and Zoe Saldana feel too inconsequential in this to comment on. It’s strange as they both play characters who have the potential to add a lot of emotion; the main character’s partner, who was declared dead so it’s the first time he’s seen her in years, and his mother, who he regrets being rude to whilst she was alive. Both of those have massive potential to be heartbreaking, but they are underdeveloped by the story. Jennifer Garner, especially, seems to disappear from the film after a short while, only meeting her future son once, and not really having too in-depth a conversation with them. Catherine Keener is her usual delightful self, she’s going through a real purple patch in terms of roles, and this continues that run, I’m now at the point where I can tell the difference between her Mary Steenburgen, and Kathryn Hahn which considering that in reality they look absolutely nothing alike, isn’t worth bragging about. Again, she should be given more to do. She’s also unfortunate that she is subject to CGI de-aging technology, and it doesn’t quite look right. Wouldn’t it have been easier to age up future-her with make-up rather than de-age with CGI? Probably cheaper too. Feels like they CGI de-aged just because they could, not caring if they could do it well.

The plot? Well, there’s nothing in here that will surprise you. It’s not exactly a film that you’ll struggle to follow, no matter how drunk you are. Time travel stories lend themselves well to narrative trickery and weirdness, and it never really happens in this. It never goes beyond the surface level. That’s fine, not all movies need to be EEAAO, but it is frustrating to see potential wasted like this. This could be fantastic, but it never does anything to stand out. The visuals are only okay, the story is basic, and I can’t even remember the music. Compared to how music is used in similar films like Back To The Future, where certain songs are now impossible to separate from the film, this has nothing. Well, I say nothing, there’s a scene near the end which is damn near perfect. If the rest of the film was as good as that, it would be among the best of the year, as it is, I can already forget I’ve seen it.

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