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Ryan Reynolds’ “The Adam Project” is Family Friendly(ish) Sci-Fi [Review]

Watching the trailer for “The Adam Project” felt slightly misleading. Based on the wholesome seeming attempts at awe inspiring, we thought the film would be geared towards younger audiences. We were thinking more along the lines of Jon Favreau’s “Zathura: A Space Adventure,” or Robert Rodriguez’s more recent “We Can Be Heroes.”

We probably should have reconsidered this hypothesis given that “The Adam Project” comes from “Free Guy” collaborators Ryan Reynolds and director Shawn Levy. None of this is to say that the film is bad, but it does get stuck in a sort of age gap limbo. 

The Adam Project (L to R) Ryan Reynolds as Big Adam, Mark Ruffalo as Louis Reed and Walker Scobell as Young Adam. Cr. Doana Gregory/Netflix © 2022
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The premise centers around Reynolds (playing the titular Adam) being from the future and having to go back in time to right a wrong. There he encounters the 12 year old version of himself. Reynolds is playing the more Deadpool version of his persona. It’s becoming harder to separate where Reynolds the person ends and these roles begin. We know he can deliver great performances but continuing to play the same frequency over and over is getting a little tiring. There is a refreshing spin on it in “The Adam Project” as Walker Scobell plays the young Adam. He does a pretty dang admirable job at mimicking Reynolds’ now signature style. 

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What puzzled us is the film seemed like it actually wanted to be much more adult than it was. It wanted to be one of those cool movies you got someone’s older siblings to rent at a sleepover. One that you watched too young, or that you felt like a cool kid because “you discovered it first.” Yet by sticking to a PG-13 rating and muzzle, the film isn’t quite young family friendly, but also doesn’t feel edgy enough to become a favorite of slightly older kids (let alone adults). While we don’t think “The Adam Project”  will be anything close to a classic, it’s…passable.

The time travel science is gibberish at best. The effects are fine for a streaming movie. Credit goes to the entire cast (including Reynolds and Scobell) for committing to their roles. We get a mini “13 Going on 30” reuingion with Mark Ruffalo and Jennifer Garner as Adam’s parents. Zoe Saldana and Catherine Keener also star – but are either underutilized or wasted respectively.

Zoe Saldana, Ryan Reynolds star in “The Adam Project,” Netflix

While it’s not a strong recommendation from us, we didn’t have a BAD time watching “The Adam Project.” There are a few Act 2 and 3 moments centering around parent child dynamics that we’d have liked to have seen earlier. Overall, if you find yourself drawn to the film we say “why not?”

“The Adam Project” is streaming starting March 11th, only on Netflix.

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