The Time Less Travelled: Our Review of ‘The Adam Project’

Posted in Movies, Netflix, What's Streaming? by - March 10, 2022
The Time Less Travelled: Our Review of ‘The Adam Project’

The Adam Project‘s protagonist bearing the name, um, young Adam Reed (Walker Scobell) is, well, is complicated morally. At home he can’t help himself but say things that hurt his mother Ellie (Jennifer Garner). Both are still reeling from his father and her husband Louis’ (Mark Ruffalo) death. Although, while he’s in school or out in town, he’s the target of two bullies.

It doesn’t help that the Big version of Adam who traveled back in time from 2025 to 2022 (Ryan Reynolds) (wait what? Don’t worry I’ll get to that later) isn’t helping him deal with his bullies. He chooses instead to approach these bullies and let them beat the younger version of himself because it builds character. In fairness, young Adam needs that character, especially with the way he deals with Ellie. Adam has other goals, which I hinted at earlier, mainly, that he traveled back in time to save the future.

The director and one of the producers behind The Adam Project is Shawn Levy. The other films he either direct or produce are borderline infotainment or the stuff of nightmares. This film isn’t necessarily either of those things, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It does follow trends of recent children’s-ish films of the past thirty years – or probably longer. Specifically, the one where there’s one scene for the children and one scene for the adults who have to ‘bear’ this with said children. Although this film has Zoe Saldana playing Adam’s wife Laura, a woman who blows up cars. Any generation can find that entertaining.

But then, Saldana’s presence makes me want to examine how Levy directs women and, although he doesn’t depict them offensively, I don’t feel like he’s doing enough. Adam Project even makes me reexamine what I didn’t write when I wrote about his last film, Academy Award Nominee Free Guy. Jodie Comer’s character has enough pathos just like Ellie does here. But it feels like Comer’s character exists to complete a man instead of complement him. Here we have a sad mom, a badass woman who uses herself as bait, and a lady boss, Maya (Catherine Keener), who is literally Louis’ boss/murderer. Nothing against lady bosses, but what the film does to her, light spoilers, is homophobic.

THE ADAM PROJECT – (L to R) Walker Scobell as Young Adam and Ryan Reynolds as Big Adam. Cr. Doane Gregory/Netflix © 2022

But let me tell you a secret about me taste in films. Maybe it’s a recent thing that I’m trying to be nice. Yes, Reynolds can be grating – although he’s much calmer in Adam Project than he was in his previous two films. Yes, this film can be sentimental – that scene where Louis plays catch with the two Adams is so white that I, a gay Asian man, just find that scene, well, limiting. This film thinks that wit is just a bunch of one-liners. Although the person who tweeted that, whoever that person may be, probably just doesn’t like things. And yes, this is fluff and some of the science is wrong.

But I can’t bring myself to dislike a movie where a child figures out the human condition and delivers a monologue about it, no matter how repetitive some of the lines are. I also can’t bring myself to dislike Academy Award Nominee Mark Ruffalo delivering his own sentimental monologue altough it borders on plagiarizing Good Will Hunting. He’s better here than he is in Spotlight and he’s more fun. It explores the “I love you but I don’t like you” thing that parents probably feel about their children sometimes. And lastly, I can’t bring myself to dislike a film with passably complex action sequences because I don’t hate myself and neither should you.

Watch The Adam Project on Netflix.

This post was written by
While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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