The Adam Project
There’s a meme on the Internet that pokes fun at Dwayne Johnson, depicting the star looking the same in multiple images – bald, sweaty, khaki-shirted jungle dweller – with a caption stating that the stills are all from entirely different films. An audio equivalent of this joke would exist for Ryan Reynolds too: whilst the Deadpool actor (and his hair and makeup team) may put in more effort to distinguish his looks than his Red Notice co-star, he deserves similar flak for playing the same character in everything.
From the moment he talks in The Adam Project, it’s abundantly clear that he’s reiterating his persona of the wisecracking hero with a heart of gold – you know, the type we already saw in the aforementioned films as well as Free Guy, The Hitman’s Bodyguard and Detective Pikachu. This time, he finds an ideal foil in young debutant Walker Scobell, who does as well as a pre-teen actor can do in realising a kid version of this archetype.
Together, Scobell and Reynolds play Adam, a time-travelling fighter pilot from a future conflict, who winds up in the present day next to his younger self. After an emotional confrontation, in which blunt lessons of love and respect are served by the adult to his angsty adolescent counterpart, the two Adams reconcile their feelings by understanding the personal stakes at play. They’ll need to reunite with their late father (Mark Ruffalo) to save the future from a twisted technocrat (Catherine Keener).
Though the film has a poignant hook, it doesn’t quite earn the strong emotional beats that it attempts, as it doesn’t reel viewers into the family dynamic for long enough before making its sentimental moves. It’s assumed that the audience are meant to open their tear ducts by default through the virtue of suburban family values, wherein the nostalgia of playing baseball with one’s father is a universally shared experience. Sure, one can all relate to clinging onto beautiful memories of youth, but the thoroughly algorithmic plotting to such moments is more tiresome than enthralling.
It’s a four-quadrant movie with four-quadrant trappings – namely, the issue of looking and sounding like any other family-oriented sci-fi picture, featuring a movie star who knows how to be commercially beneficial at the cost of being creatively viable. Another Reynolds project will roll around soon enough and one hopes he can move forward in time with his shtick.
The Adam Project is released on Netflix on 11th March 2022.
Watch the trailer for The Adam Project here: