'The Adam Project' Review: Ryan Reynolds Travels Through Time In Shawn Levy's Sci-Fi Adventure
A slight warning here in the beginning: if you don't happen to have a shed in your backyard, you might want to avoid this movie since you don't have a chance to find Ryan Reynolds there. Those who do have one, you might want to be prepared for disappointment in case that he won't be there. In director Shawn Levy's The Adam Project, a 12-year-old wisecracking Adam Reed (Walker Scobell) one day discovers a wounded guy in their shed, later revealing himself to be a 40-year-old version of Adam (Reynolds) who's arrived from the future where time travel has become possible, thanks to innovations of Adam's/their late father Louis (Mark Ruffalo). The two Adams eventually embark on a mission to save the future against an antagonist (Catherine Keener) who is chasing older Adam through time.
One does wonder if one of the four credited writers (Jonathan Tropper, T.S. Nowlin, Jennifer Flackett and Mark Levin) had the brilliance to ask the difficult question; what if we didn't have just one Ryan Reynolds performance, what if we had two? That is essentially the extent of character depth presented in the film as the movie is pretty much built on sarcastic remarks flung at the audience by the two actors portraying Adam. While it's just more of the same from the older one, it should be brought up that Scobell does do a great job with the material, both in terms of comedic timing and also acting as if Adam is still honing his skills, in a suitably annoying way that fits most boys of this age.
It's really other characters that draw the short stick, notably Adam's mom Ellie (Jennifer Garner). There's an attempt to teach the younger audience members to appreciate the efforts of widowed single parents, you'd just wish that there was more to her than just being a mom and wife.
Adams' time travels do obviously find a way to consult Louis in how to prevent the disaster and there's a significant shift of energy when Ruffalo hits the screen, very much elevating the relationships from just silly bickering to something that is about lost time between a parent and their child, and also how even time travel can't properly amend that. Ruffalo's true commitment stands out particularly because the dialogue isn't helping as it's mostly full of generalised sentiments and mundane expressions of everyone's every single feeling—perhaps an outcome of screenwriting committee combined with obvious added riffing from Reynolds-Levy duo—making it way too simplistic even for kids in the audience.
The movie's blatant nods to classic adventure movies are also then more tiresome as Levy and his team don't find a necessary, timely variation to anything, which would turn the film to more than just a joke-fest trying to moderately amuse you for 100 minutes.
Smileys: Mark Ruffalo, Walker Scobell
Frowneys: Dialogue, originality, characterisation
Adam Reed cracking jokes constantly? More like Adam Reed the room sometimes.