As kids, we often wonder what we’ll be like when we grow up. As adults, we ponder what we would say to the younger versions of ourselves. In real life, these situations are all hypotheticals. We won’t find out who we are until we become that person, and by that time it’s too late to talk to our child selves. While we can only dream of meeting ourselves, “The Adam Project” renders this concept a reality on screen.
“The Adam Project” is the newest film directed by Shawn Levy. It follows Adam Reed (Walker Scobell), a 12-year-old grieving the death of his father (Mark Ruffalo) one year prior. Adam also deals with the everyday trials and tribulations of being a preteen, like facing bullies and navigating a complicated relationship with his mother (Jennifer Garner). Everything changes for Adam when he finds a stranger (Ryan Reynolds) wounded in his garage. He quickly discovers that this man is the future version of himself investigating the mysterious disappearance and supposed death of his wife (Zoe Saldana). After coming to understand the danger lurking in the future as a result of the creation and privatization of time travel, both the young and adult Adam team up to save the world by preventing time travel from ever existing. On this mission, Adam reunites with his deceased father, who we learn was a key figure in the creation of time travel.
What makes “The Adam Project” so effective is its exploration regarding themes of growing up, coping with loss and reuniting with loved ones. While Young Adam is initially excited to find out that he’ll get married and become super buff in the future, we also see how Adult Adam is still coping with his childhood trauma. Both characters are still learning to cope with their father’s death from two different perspectives. When they eventually reunite with their dad, it is therapeutic for both Adams: the child still in shock from his death and the adult who never figured out how to properly accept it. While Young Adam sees that some of his life will get better, he also has to come to terms with the idea that it still won’t be perfect, especially if the dark future he plots to stop comes to fruition. Outside of the larger conflict, it is gratifying to see both Adam’s necessary character development. Both Adams learn to stand up to their bullies, with varying degrees of success. Adult Adam also gets to reunite with his mother and apologize for how his child self treated her. For a time-traveling action movie with strong comedic elements, this film does an excellent job tugging at the heartstrings.
I also want to emphasize the great ensemble cast that this film hosts. Catherine Keener does a stand out job as Maya Sorian and the villain she is destined to become. Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo give realistic and loving performances as Adam’s parents. Zoe Saldana is excellent as a badass time traveler in a fun turn as Adam’s future wife. The most notable performances from this movie, however, come from both of the Adams. Ryan Reynolds is famous for playing smartmouth characters like Deadpool and Adam Reed is no exception. While nobody is surprised to see Ryan Reynolds use his trademark sarcasm and wit in a leading role, Walker Scobell does an amazing job playing the younger version of the character. The mannerisms and line deliveries from Scobell would be enough to make anyone believe they are meeting a child version of Reynolds.
Ultimately, “The Adam Project” is the perfect movie for any kid who constantly wonders about the future and any adult who wants to get in touch with their inner child. This film does an effective job at telling a story that can make you both laugh and cry.
“The Adam Project” is available to stream on Netflix.