The Adam Project review: Ryan Reynolds Netflix sci-fi adventure is no Back to the Future

Ryan Reynolds discusses co-star in new film 'The Adam Project'

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The news that Ryan Reynolds would be starring in a time travel movie opposite a younger version of himself sounded like a great project for the star. Especially ahead of him inevitably doing the same with his Deadpool variants in upcoming Marvel multiverse outings. Traversing the past and the future, when done well on film, can be both incredibly fun and head-scratchingly intelligent. Disappointingly, The Adam Project is neither of these things.

Released on Netflix today, The Adam Project has been through development hell.

A decade ago, Tom Cruise was attached before production stalled and the streaming service eventually acquired the distribution rights from Paramount Pictures.

Although Reynolds teamed up once again with Shawn Levy, with who he made the charming and funny Free Guy, it’s not a good sign that his movie has four writers credited.

To be fair the premise is intriguing enough with Reynolds’ time travel fighter pilot Adam from 2050 crash landing in 2022 and teaming up with his 12-year-old self to save the future.

The Adam Project starts off well enough with its premise and a few wisecrack gags about Back to the Future and multiverse movies between Reynolds and his younger self, played very convincingly by Walker Scobell. Also, the action and CGI isn’t half bad.

However, the movie soon shoots off into the time vortex and leaves its audience behind, expecting quick-fire reactions in laughs and sentimental feelings that never really land well.

The plot throws in Adam’s wife and father played by Marvel staples Zoe Saldaña and Mark Ruffalo. But the fast-paced romantic and comical interactions between them and Reynolds just feel both jarring and tonally all over the place.

Jennifer Garner, who barely has anything to do, plays Adam’s mother, while antagonists from 2050 portrayed by Catherine Keener and Alex Mallari Jr add a bit of action, but not a lot of interest.

By the time the final act arrives, if you haven’t clicked off on to something else on Netflix good luck caring about how it all ends.

Overall there was a good film in here somewhere, but sadly it was probably left in development hell.

The Adam Project is streaming now on Netflix.

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