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Ryan Reynolds stars in “The Adam Project,” emphasis on dumb

Ryan Reynolds stars in Netflix's "The Adam Project."
Ryan Reynolds stars in Netflix's "The Adam Project."

I’d like to go to the past and stop time travel from being used as a plot device. 

Movies can’t seem to figure out the proper way to incorporate time travel. Some films choose to bury the inconsistencies with confusing explanations, while others make jokes about these problems without actually fixing them.

Netflix’s newest film, “The Adam Project,” does neither. 

The film barely explains the ramifications of its take on time travel. It simply begins with an adult Adam, played by Ryan Reynolds, driving a spaceship while being chased by a larger spaceship. I would say it’s exciting, if I could somehow portray my sarcasm through writing. 

Adam goes through a wormhole, which he uses to travel back in time. He aims for 2018, but he crashes in 2022, because apparently that’s just how time travel works. The crash injures him, and he needs his younger self to activate the ship with his unharmed DNA.

If you manage to get through this exhausting premise, you’ll meet 12-year-old Adam, played by Walker Scobell in his first role. In his first scene, young Adam’s big mouth gets him in trouble with two bullies at school. 

Adam’s snarky attitude is frequently mentioned for both Reynolds’ and Scobell’s version of Adam. It’s the typical character that Reynolds plays in each of his films, but this time, it comes off as rude. Scobell does a good job emulating the comedic pacing of Reynolds, but I hated his squeaky voice. 

“The Adam Project” also reunites “13 Going on 30” stars Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo as Adam’s parents Ellie and Louis Reed. Young Adam lives with his mother Ellie in an extremely artificial-looking cabin in the woods. They live alone since Adam’s dad died in a car crash. 

As a single mother, Ellie struggles to raise Adam. His attitude makes it difficult for her to connect with him. He also rejects the notion of her dating again and makes his opinion clear. 

Adult Adam convinces young Adam to travel back to 2018 with him, and after, the two visit the university where Adam’s father Louis works as a science professor. Adult Adam reveals that Louis solves a formula that is the key to inventing time travel, and Adam wants to stop Louis. 

Through the two Adams’ exchanges, Louis realizes that he doesn’t live to 2022. However, Louis refuses to hear about his death, so that he does not interfere with the laws of time travel.

Garner and Ruffalo deliver amazing performances in their roles, and they’re my favorite parts of the movie. Garner does a great job portraying how challenging it is to be a single mother. Ruffalo develops amazing emotion as a father who knows he will die within a few years. 

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“The Adam Project” also features actresses Catherine Keener and Zoe Saldaña. Keener plays the villain of the film, Maya Sorian, who funded Louis’ research on time travel. Sorian also follows Adam from 2050 to 2022 and 2018. 

The film uses de-aging effects to show the difference between 2050 Sorian and 2018 Sorian, and it does not look good. Her face looks smooth and robotic, and it definitely enters the uncanny valley territory. 

Saldaña plays Adam’s wife, Laura Shane. Laura and Adam meet in the future at the pilot academy and fall in love. Laura becomes the best pilot in the academy, until she travels back to 2018. Officials say she crashed during the mysterious mission, but Adam believes she’s still alive and is determined to find her. 

When Adam is surrounded by Sorian and her cronies at the cabin in 2022, Laura comes to his rescue. She helps the two Adams escape and advises them to go back to 2018 to stop the creation of time travel while she distracts Sorian. 

Besides another brief scene set in 2050, Laura isn’t seen again in the film. Saldaña is a great actor, and I would have liked for her to have a larger presence in the movie. 

Shawn Levy directs “The Adam Project,” and although I’m a fan of some of his other projects, I did not like this one. I enjoyed his 2021 film with Reynolds “Free Guy,” and I’m excited to see what the two do for “Deadpool 3.”

However, I will not be rewatching his most recent film.

Admittedly, I did cry during “The Adam Project,” but it wasn’t because I thought the film was sad. The movie made me feel bad that I didn’t spend much time playing catch with my dad, even though he always wanted to. 

Unless you really like bad sci-fi movies or Ryan Reynolds, don’t waste your time watching “The Adam Project.” Instead, use that time to play catch or do something else with someone special in your life.

Rating: 5/10

@lukejmacy

macylj@miamioh.edu

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