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March 20, 2022

The Adam Project doesn’t let its mediocrity keep it from being fairly entertaining

In the picture

The Adam Project   ☆☆☆

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Garner,
Walker Scobell, Catherine Keener, and Zoe Saldaña

Directed by: Shawn Levy

Tagline: Past meets future.

For their second cinematic endeavour in less than a year (following 2021’s Free Guy), Shawn Levy and Ryan Reynolds take us on a good old fashioned sci-fi adventure in The Adam Project, a movie that’s highly derivative, riddled with inconsistences, burdened with some bafflingly wonky, uncanny valley de-aging … and yet fairly fun!

The film harks back to the style of 1980s blockbusters – à la E.T., Big, and especially Back to the Future – to deliver a simple but heartfelt escapade full of zingers and quips and a whole lot of sap.

The story follows Reynold’s Adam Reed, a fighter pilot who steals a time jet in a dystopian 2050 with the aim of going back to 2018 and uncovering the truth behind his wife Laura’s (Zoe Saldaña) disappearance. But he instead crash lands in 2022 and encounters his 12-year-old self (an excellent Walker Scobell) who is struggling with the recent death of his father (Mark Ruffalo), being a pain to his loving mother (Jennifer Garner), and getting bullied at school.

With baddies – led by Catherine Keener’s power hungry Maya Sorian – on their tail, the two Adams must team up to not only solve the mystery of what happened to Laura but also save the world from its dystopic fate.

There isn’t much that is inventive about the story, but the script is both snappy and touching enough to keep things amicable, even if the overall predictability of the tale never lets the proceedings get quite as exciting as they should be. And as with most light-hearted sci-fi films and their tendency to have plot holes so big you could drive a DeLorean through them, The Adam Project too is best enjoyed without analysing the intricacies of its simplistic plot and inconsistent rules and mechanics.

It really helps though that the cast – from seasoned names like Ruffalo and Garner to terrific newcomer Scobell who is perfect as Reynold’s mini-me – are all delightful in their respective roles. Even Reynolds and his (admittedly tired) wise-guy shtick are surprisingly effective here.

Keener though is sadly saddled not only with an underdeveloped character but the tragic recipient of some distractingly poor CGI de-aging; casting two different performers (one as younger and the other as older Sorian) or hiring a younger actress and aging her up instead would have definitely been a wiser move.

All in all, The Adam Project may not be the most impressive cinematic example of science fiction you’ll ever encounter, but the comedy adventure still delivers some entertainment while charming with its throwback vibes. It may be too generic to be memorable, but it’s still not the worst viewing option for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Rating system: *Not on your life * ½ If you really must waste your time ** Hardly worth the bother ** ½ Okay for a slow afternoon only
*** Good enough for a look see *** ½ Recommended viewing **** Don’t miss it **** ½ Almost perfect ***** Perfection

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