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Movie Review - Netflix's The Adam Project (Spoiler-Free)

Past meets future.

The Adam Project is a 2022 science fiction adventure comedy-drama film directed by Shawn Levy, written by Jonathan Tropper, T.S. Nowlin, Jennifer Flackett, and Mark Levin, produced by Skydance Media, Maximum Effort, and 21 Laps Entertainment, and distributed by Netflix. It stars Ryan Reynolds and Walker Scobell.

"I think it's easier to be angry than it is to be sad." - Young Adam Reed


12-year-old Adam Reed is left shocked when he finds a future version of himself has crash landed in 2022. Now, young Adam must team up with old Adam to save the future from certain doom.

The Sweet

The best thing about The Adam Project was that it was able to re-capture the magic of classic 80s films such as Back to the Future, The Goonies, E.T., and more. There was a run of these sci-fi, fantasy, and adventure movies in the 80s that were creative. They had a child-like sense of wonder. You felt like you were being swept up on this epic adventure with whatever characters you were following. And The Adam Project is able to give you that vibe with a modern twist.

Another thing that I really appreciated was the runtime. Over the last year, the movies that we've gotten are all really long. The Batman is three hours. No Way Home is two and a half hours. Dune is two hours and forty minutes. No Time to Die is nearly three hours long. The Adam Project clocks in at one hour and forty-six minutes. It's short and sweet. It's a very consumable movie. And I think that that is actually one of the biggest strengths of the movie. It doesn't try to stretch out it's runtime to be as long as possible. It doesn't overstay it's welcome. And that's really nice.

I also thought that they did a great job of showing two sides of the same character. We follow a younger version and an older version of Adam Reed throughout the film. And I loved how they played off of each other. Old Adam is changed by his younger self. And young Adam is guided by old Adam to live a great life. Both of them have great arcs, and I really loved that.

Another thing that I loved about The Adam Project was Walker Scobell, who plays young Adam. Ryan Reynolds is a commanding screen presence. He steals the spotlight in almost every movie he's in. But Walker Scobell is the standout performance here. This kid is thirteen years old. And he does the Ryan Reynolds shtick better than Ryan Reynolds in this movie. He's charming and really funny. I wish they gave him more of the spotlight, because it feels like they decided that Ryan Reynolds should be the main character instead of the kid. But the kid was fabulous.

This film is both funny and sad. It has a fair share of comedic moments that do make you laugh. Like I said before, Walker Scobell is great. And Ryan Reynolds is Ryan Reynolds, so he gets some funny moments in this movie. But what I found even more interesting was the emotional aspect. This film dealt with broken familial relationships, and I loved that. Mark Ruffalo's character gets some of the most heart-wrenching moments in a movie that I've seen in the past few years. I wouldn't be surprised if you shed a few tears after this movie.

The Sour

The story of The Adam Project is a big ol' mess.

I was tracking with it for the first half, but as you go along, it gets more and more convoluted and more and more complex...but not really in a good way. There's a main plotline that is confusing in and of itself, but then there are certain subplots that are introduced and feel like they are abandoned halfway through the movie. Both Zoe Saldana and Jennifer Garner have subplots that are introduced in the first half...and then it feels like the screenwriters just threw them out of the window and then revisited them for one second at the end of the movie. And that was really frustrating.

As all time travel movies do, The Adam Project spends way too much of its runtime trying to explain the laws of time travel and all of the domino effects and altering the time stream...yada yada yada. Eventually, you just tune out and all of the science jargon becomes white noise. And that's a big problem.

The film also wedges in a conflict and a villain that feel really out of place. Catherine Keener plays the main antagonist of the movie, but she isn't given a ton of screen time. They explain her plan and motivation through some exposition, but because it was just dialogue, I don't really remember what she was doing and why she was doing it. It felt unnatural. It felt like the studio told the screenwriters that they needed a villain. And it does not work.

Finally, they try to do some things with CGI and de-aging that don't work for me. Over the past year, I've really begun to hate CGI, and, with The Batman showing us that practical effects are awesome, it was the final nail in the coffin. Films that overuse CGI are always going to have problems. And, unfortunately, The Adam Project overuses CGI.

Should you see The Adam Project?

Yes. It's an easy watch. If you like sci-fi, like Back to the Future and E.T., then this is definitely a movie for you. I'd say avoid this if you don't like Ryan Reynolds or sci-fi. But otherwise, I'd give this a go.

Final Score

The Adam Project is a consumable, fun, and heartfelt sci-fi adventure. The story is a mess, but great performances and characters make this one worthwhile.

I will go Savory here. Age range is 9+.


Sweet (Great)

Savory (Good)

Sour (Bad)

Moldy (Terrible)

"The Adam Project"

Fun Factor: 7.5/10

Acting: 8.5/10

Story: 3.5/10 Characters: 8/10

Quality: 7/10

Directed by Shawn Levy

Rated PG-13 for sci-fi violence and action, language, thematic elements

Released on March 11, 2022

1 hour and 46 minutes

Ryan Reynolds as Old Adam Reed

Walker Scobell as Young Adam Reed

Mark Ruffalo as Louis Reed

Jennifer Garner as Ellie Reed

Zoe Saldana as Laura

Catherine Keener as Maya Sorian

Alex Mallari Jr. as Christos


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