Flicks With Nicki – The Adam ProjectNicki Salcedo. Photo by Fox Gradin.
Do you like Ryan Reynolds? If yes, you should watch “The Adam Project.” Do you dislike Ryan Reynolds? If yes, you may still enjoy “The Adam Project.” Are you concerned that this movie might just be like every other Ryan Reynolds movie? A snarky violent “Deadpool.” A snarky romantic “The Proposal.” A snarky goofy “Free Guy.” You wouldn’t be wrong. “The Adam Project” has snarky time traveling Ryan Reynolds.
If you hate Ryan Reynolds, there’s a twist. An impressive young actor, Walker Scobell, plays Young Adam. Scobell does a better Ryan Reynolds than Ryan Reynolds does. It makes “The Adam Project” worth a watch.
If you still hate Ryan Reynolds but love the movie “13 Going on 30,” there’s another twist. We get to see Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo reunited as the parents of Young Adam and Future Adam.
In “13 Going on 30,” Jenna is a geek trying to make her mark with the popular kids. She fails to value her sweet friend Matty and wishes to be 30 years old. The morning after her birthday, she wakes to find that she’s magically aged to become 30-year-old Jenna (Jennifer Garner). She needs her old friend Matty (Mark Ruffalo) to help her navigate her new life. Time travel has never been so colorful and fun. What if Jenna and Matty had a son named Adam who could time travel because of science instead of a wish? “The Adam Project” is the logical extension of “13 Going on 30” with the addition of Ryan Reynolds.
In “The Adam Project,” Young Adam (Scobell) is a kid who gets bullied for his snarky mouth and small size. He’s grieving the loss of his father Louis Reed (Ruffalo) and navigating a fragile relationship with his mother Ellie (Garner). During the year 2022, Young Adam stumbles upon an injured version of himself from the year 2050. Future Adam needs Young Adam to fly his plane and get to the right year, 2018. Their dad invented time travel, and Future Adam knows that this discovery will soon destroy his world. Not only is their dad alive in 2018, but Future Adam’s wife Laura (Zoe Saldaña) mysteriously disappeared that same year.
Time is the enemy. We squander it. By the time we realize it, it’s too late.
Friend and business partner Maya Sorian (Catherine Keener) is also the enemy. Sorian has a legion of time traveling troopers. These enforcers dressed in black carry variations of lightsaber batons and nunchucks. Future Adam wields a double-sided lightsaber ala Darth Maul. The fight scenes are plentiful, nicely choreographed, and filled with great special effects.
At the same time, the world is strangely empty. We see a sparsely populated school and town. There’s an empty forest, beach, and office complex. There are few extras, like extra people, to fill out the scenes. It’s not something that impacts the story, but it certainly caught my notice.
There are no surprises in “The Adam Project.” The bad guys are bad. The good guys are fun. The quips come from both Scobell and Reynolds, often at each other. We expect action and laughs. And we get action and laughs.
What we don’t expect is the pairing of action and sci-fi with a heavy dose of relationship drama. What is the value of our fathers? How can we connect to our mothers? What would you do for the love of your life? The enemy is also communication, the lack of it, the lie of it, the anger of it. Fade to black. Cut to fight scenes, snarky jokes, and time travel.
“The Adam Project” doesn’t worry about the ramifications of time travel. “Star Wars” was a long, long time ago, but lightsabers are impressive in any universe. We need to know the rules. Are these “The Terminator” or “Back to the Future” rules? Here, you can meet all the variations of yourself. At one point in the film, we see Young Adam, Future Adam, and Younger Adam in the same scene. Normally, this would be a catastrophic event, but in “The Adam Project” you can talk to yourself and change the future.
“The future has not been written. There is no fate, but what we make for ourselves.” – “The Terminator”
“I made a lot of mistakes, but I don’t regret making any of them. Because if I hadn’t made them, I wouldn’t have learned how to make things right.” – “13 Going on 30”
“You’d better start caring because the future is coming. Sooner than you think.” – “The Adam Project”
We are fascinated with changing the past to save the future. I like the idea of revisiting the yesterday, but I hope the future is happy. I hope we have some laughs then and now.
I’m not mad at Ryan Reynolds for being Ryan Reynolds. I’d like him to astonish me with his acting. I’d like to see him hone his skills for an Oscar caliber role. “The Adam Project” has a lot of snarky Ryan Reynolds. Yes, it’s redundant, but it’s also fun. It’s a watchable film. Hard action exterior and snark with a gooey emotional center. We all wonder what would happen if we could go back in time and save a loved one from death. We all have regrets on how we show our love. We all want to wield a two-sided lightsaber. We all want to put our grudges against Ryan Reynolds aside. This time, I just might. Grade A-
Nicki Salcedo is a Decatur resident and Atlanta native. She is a novelist, blogger, and a working mom.