LONDON: The latest fruit of Ryan Reynolds’ eye-wateringly expensive collaboration deal with Netflix is sci-fi movie “The Adam Project.”
The Adam of the title is Adam Reed — a skilled pilot living in a near future when time travel is possible, thanks largely to the genius of Adam’s late father Louis (Mark Ruffalo), an idealistic scientist whose rather-more-ruthless business partner Maya Sorian (Catherine Keener) is now a politically powerful billionaire.
The Utopian future that Louis strived for has turned into a nightmare — one that Adam tries to escape in his cutting-edge time-travel jet. His aim is to return to 2018, where his wife — also a pilot — was last known to be headed, but instead he crash lands in 2022 near his childhood home. It’s a year after his father’s death, and his mother Ellie (Jennifer Garner) is struggling with the moody 12-year-old Adam (Walker Scobell).
Breaking all the long-established rules of time travel, a severely wounded adult Adam makes contact with his younger self, who quickly figures out what is going on. Since the time-travel jets are linked to their pilot’s DNA, and adult Adam’s blood loss means it cannot get a strong enough reading, young Adam is required to fire up the engines so the jet can start to fix itself. The catch? That allows Sorian and her ruthless private army to trace adult Adam.
It's an engaging plot, and director Shawn Levy paces the film well, keeping the adrenaline levels high with a series of well-choreographed set pieces.
Of course, with Reynolds as its lead “The Adam Project” has plenty of wisecracking. Maybe too much wisecracking? Ryan Reynolds playing a typical Ryan Reynolds character — Basically Good Man Who Uses Humor To Deflect, let’s call him — is, as usual, pretty fun to watch. But here you have the teenage Scobell also playing a typical Ryan Reynolds character rather than, say, a less fully formed Ryan Reynolds character. And an overbearingly confident teenage smartass is far less endearing than an adult one.
You also have Mark Ruffalo apparently doing a Ryan Reynolds impression. Ruffalo is a great actor. I’d rather have watched a Mark Ruffalo character. At some point, someone (maybe Ryan Reynolds) should have spotted that it’s possible to have too much Ryan Reynolds in one movie.
Somewhere in here there could well be a great sci-fi movie. But this version — enjoyable but instantly forgettable — isn’t it. Though it does prove that, despite what Netflix thinks, you can, in fact, have too much Ryan Reynolds.