Some movies don’t have enough plot or excitement; others try to pack in so much that it’s a scramble just trying to figure out what’s going on. It’s hard to know exactly where The Adam ProjectRyan Reynolds’ futuristic adventure and coming of age comedy, Falls. Are you satisfied with the amount of action? Is it too much or not enough? (Jonathan Tropper, T.S. Nowlin and Jennifer Flackett penned the script. Shawn Levy was the filmmaker. Night at MuseumThe movies, and the more recent, the amusing, if not a lot manic. No cost to youReynolds is also featured. Some places The Adam ProjectIt drags on interminably. But mostly it tries to do too many things at once, asserting that being a nerd can pay off, that time travel may not be all it’s cracked up to be, that dads should play ball with their sons, and that sons should be kind to their mothers—and that’s just a partial list. A movie with so many octopus ambitions is unlikely to pull off any of them, and that’s the bind The Adam ProjectFinds itself in.
Reynolds portrays Adam, a time-travelling fighter pilot who crashes-lands in the current day. His motives aren’t clear at first, and they become even murkier as the movie progresses. Apparently, he was really trying to go back a little further in time—to 2018—to change events that led to the death of his wife, Laura (Zoe Saldana). However, he later shifts his focus to altering the history of time travel from its inception. (Or something.) We find out that Maya Sorian, Catherine Keener’s rich and amoral corporate boss, has taken over time-travel technology to her own evil ends. It also turns out that Adam’s father (Mark Ruffalo) practically invented time travel. He died leaving behind Jenny Garner, his widow, and Adam, a young boy played by Walker Scobell. Adam is a bright, but rebellious kid who gets bullied at school.
Read more reviews by Stephanie Zacharek
Still confused? You can watch the video. The Adam Project won’t help: minute by minute it wades deeper into its morass of excess. Once that happens, special-effects start to kick in. These include your regular time travel zapping from one location to the next, along with a phalanx black-clad criminals appearing out of nowhere. There are also two versions of Catherine Keener, one younger, in a CGI-buffed way, and one older—crazy! Garner is the film’s most sympathetic role, but she disappears long periods of time. Every time she reappears,The Adam ProjectTake a deep breath.
It’s a shame, because the film’s early moments—when young Adam first meets the older version of himself—show some promise. Reynolds is a comic genius with great timing. He often plays characters that are insecure but also have an elevated sense of their worth in this world. Reynolds’ mildly pompous personality is not a negative. He’s wonderful at playing characters who are just annoying enough—Reynolds will creep as close as he can to that line, pushing his luck every time. Just when you want to smack him, you’re likely to end up laughing instead. Scobell, as the young Adam, does a great job of matching Reynolds’ tics and mannerisms; it’s fun to watch these two together, the older Adam recognizing how terrifically annoying he was as a 12-year-old, even as the younger Adam—awkward and nerdy and angry at the world—marvels at the mere notion that he could grow up to be a time-traveling fighter pilot with a beautiful wife (and muscles to boot). They are surrounded by clutter, which makes them seem like amateur performers. The Adam Project should be fun, but it’s sabotaged by its unwieldy ambitions. You can forget about the complications of time travel and wormholes, as well as the laws of physics. The movie is unable to get from A to B without falling over.
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