The Adam Project Review: Ryan Reynolds’ sci-fi film rides high on nostalgia, emotions and affable camaraderie amongst stellar cast


Film: The Adam Project

Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Zoe Saldana, Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Garner, Walker Scobell, Catherine Keener

Director: Shawn Levy

OTT: Netflix

Rating: 3.5 Moons

After the sleeper hit Free Guy, Ryan Reynolds and director Shawn Levy team up once again for the sci-fi action-comedy The Adam Project. The film has time-travel as the basic trope but also manages to keep the humane quotient alive by depicting love, family, friendship, teenage angst, twisted family dynamics and middle-age disappointments and keeping the complex field of quantum physics and sci-fi jargon to a bare minimum. Starring Ryan Reynolds, Zoe Saldana, Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Garner, Walker Scobell and Catherine Keener, The Adam Project is an out-and-out commercial entertainer with cheeky one-liners, credible action and affable camaraderie amongst the star cast.

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The Adam Project follows Adam Reed, a fighter pilot from 2050 played by Ryan Reynolds who is grieving the loss of his wife Laura (Zoe Saldana). Laura’s death was not an outcome of natural causes. In 2018, she was out on a mission under Maya Sorian’s (Catherine Keener) supervision, but she passed away under mysterious circumstances. Adam travels back in time to save the love of his life and undo the wrong as he knows that Laura will never tamper with the time streams. However, he lands on a different date of another year than what he intended to do, that too in the lap oof his younger self. In 2022, 12-year-old Adam Reed (played by Walker Scobell) is grieving his father Louis Reed’s (Mark Ruffalo) death while being a complete nuisance and wretched son to his heartbroken mother Ellie Reed (Jennifer Garner). When the two Adams meet, all hell breaks loose as they have zero filters and indulge in hilarious bickering that result in utter chaos. With the father of time-travel dead, how will the elder Adam get to his wife and subsequently save her? Also, there is more to time-travel than meets the eye, and what are Maya’s evil intentions?

The Adam Project is not your Issac Asimov novel that will delve a lot in time-travel tropes and big scientific jargon but is more about coming to terms with family dynamics and eccentricities and the relationships between the characters. Besides the ample amount of laughs, the film also promises to be a real tear-jerker especially in the emotional scenes in the concluding act.

Ryan Reynolds is in full form here. It is just not possible to not enjoy watching him while he is on screen, even though all his characters seem an offshoot of his real self. His sarcasm is on point and delivers the laugh out loud moments with panache but is equally impressive in the emotional scenes as well. On the other hand, Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo, although don’t have a lot of screen time but manage to bring back their crackling chemistry from 18 years ago when they teamed up in 13 Going on 30.

Ruffalo plays the loveable absentee father who is oblivious to his own family’s need and showcase eclectic chemistry with both Reynolds and Scobell. Jennifer Garner, on the other hand, delivers a genuine performance as the heartbroken wife and hapless mother and really makes a deep impact in the limited screen time. Zoe Saldana does not have a big character arc but plays her sci-fi action avatar to the T, not to mention her effortless chemistry with Reynolds.

However, the real find of The Adam Project is Walker Scobell, who is just too perfect as the 12-year-old Ryan Reynolds. He manages to navigate the taut rope between the extreme emotions he is saddled with his father’s death and consciously getting in trouble with the bullies at school, not to mention the motor-mouth that he possesses and employs with full gusto. The film rests on the shoulders of the two Adams and they rarely disappoint in any scene, including where they try to make each other understand and come to terms with what life throws at them.

The Adam Project’s strong point is its stellar cast but the avid fans of the classic time-travel genre will be disappointed with the convenient storytelling employed by Shawn Levy, since he does not harp a lot on the science behind the technology and deals more with “emotions”. Nevertheless, The Adam Project is a kind of homage to all the sci-fi movies that came out in the 80s and 90s, including reference to lightsabers and previously seen action sequences. The film is coupled with tunes of Led Zeppelin and Boston that do a good job of bringing in the nostalgia.

Ryan Reynolds and Shawn Levy have managed to bring a family entertainer with lessons on reconciling with our past, coming to terms with our future and accepting the choices we have made in our lives. The Adam Project is worth a watch with a bag full of popcorn and your entire family in tow. gives The Adam Project, 3.5 Moons.