Ryan Reynolds and director Shawn Levy team up again after their popular 2021 film Free Guy (which I personally didn’t like very much) for The Adam Project—a time-travel yarn that not only gives us Reynolds, but a 12-year-old version of himself.
Adam (Reynolds) takes a fighter jet back in time from 2050 to the present day and winds up pulling his younger self (a very funny Walker Scobell) along for an adventure that includes them going further into the past to solicit the help of their dead father (Mark Ruffalo). The moral and scientific implications of the older Adam coming face to face with younger Adam and his dead dad would be enough to send Back to the Future’s Doc Brown into a psycho frenzy.
The movie borrows a lot from other films, including the aforementioned Back to the Future franchise, E.T. (Adam would be both E.T. and Elliott in this scenario) and, oddly enough, John Carpenter’s Starman. (Levy is actually slated to direct a remake of Starman, according to the Internet Movie DataBase. We’ll see if that actually comes to pass.)
I didn’t like Free Guy, because while I do enjoy Reynolds, the film proved that there can indeed be too much of Ryan Reynolds being Ryan Reynolds: His usually amusing schtick started to grate on me. However, this one doesn’t bother me as much; I think Scobell’s almost-mocking interpretation of Reynolds’ younger self offsets things and balances it all out.
It’s fun to see Ruffalo reteaming for a few scenes with his 13 Going on 30 co-star Jennifer Garner, who plays Adam’s mom. There’s enough plot in this film to fuel at least two movies, so Ruffalo’s segment seems a bit abbreviated. By the time the two Adams go back in time to visit dear old Dad, it feels like they are traveling into something that should be its own movie, in part due to a subplot involving Adam’s ex-wife (Zoe Saldana) and his evil, crappy boss (Catherine Keener), which takes up a good amount of screen time.
Levy and Reynolds like each other so much that they are teaming for yet another film, the just-announced Deadpool 3. I hope they don’t go PG-13-safe with that one—and I’d love to see them bring along Scobell to play mini-Deadpool, because the kid’s Ryan Reynolds act is solid.
The Adam Project is now streaming on Netflix.