Saturday, May 28, 2022

‘The Adam Project’ Review: The Ryan Reynolds & Shawn Levy Team-Up Delivers Once Again [Spoiler Free]

2021’s Free Guy already proved that the Ryan Reynolds and Shawn Levy team-up results in a spectacularly fun, emotional and uplifting movie, and Netflix’s The Adam Project doubles down on that.

I have long been of the opinion that Levy makes some of the most original and creative movies in the industry … I grew up watching the A Night at the Museum franchise and as an adult continue to partake in regular rewatches. Levy just understands how to make a fun movie that sparks the child-like imagination inside all of us. The Adam Project is no exception. Even the most cynical of adults can find pure joy in Levy’s projects, and there is always something for everyone in his movies: action, humor, unbelievable visual effects, and romance all run deep through his movies.

Levy is truly the master of providing deeply nostalgic movies that resonate with everyone and provide not only an escape from reality and spectacular entertainment, but a movie that takes a look at larger themes and deeper looks into what it means to be a human. As is to be expected with Levy’s thirteenth feature film, the third act is a beautiful testament to human emotion and experience, filled to the brim with warmth, and will leave audiences feeling touched deeply and, hopefully, allow them to walk away with an aura of positivity.

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In the intro video that played before I was lucky enough to watch this movie on February 28, Reynolds introduced the movie as being “really special” to him, and that shines through every moment he is on the screen. In the production notes for The Adam Project, Reynolds relates his character’s (Big Adam) experience in this project to his real-life experience, having lost his own father in 2020 and comes to light a number of times throughout the film in what is (in my opinion) Reynolds’ most emotionally moving performance to date. It is immensely clear that Reynolds brought everything he could to portray Big Adam, and to show the reality of dealing with such complex themes like grief and forgiveness. Anyone who has ever lost someone important to them will see themselves in Adam thanks to Reynolds’ work on this project. This is a must-see performance from Reynolds, and honestly my favorite of his to date.

“It’s easier to be angry than it is to be sad.”

The Adam Project

Jonathan Trooper, the author behind This Is Where I Leave You who also penned the screenplay for the 2014 adaptation of that film (also directed by Levy) truly understands the complexities of human emotion, particularly when it comes to grief. However, the projects he writes for are not weighed down by emotional complexity and are often imbued with a natural sense of humor that allows the projects to feel realistic. The screenplay and dialogue for The Adam Project is no exception and matches this pattern of Trooper’s delightfully. The dialogue present when Adam is re-experiencing his past and the pieces of it that have been his history for decades is believable and absolutely no moments feel forced. Whether it’s a hard-hitting emotional deep-dive from Reynolds, Jennifer Garner, or Mark Ruffalo, or one of the many side-splitting moments between Big Adam and Young Adam (Walker Scobell), The Adam Project‘s dialogue is realistic and allows audiences a true break from reality.

Speaking of Scobell, what an absolutely phenomenal and memorable break-out performance brought to screen by this thirteen-year-old, whose previous acting experience merely includes a role in a middle school play. Scobell, who had memorized the entirety of Deadpool 2 by age 11, did not let any anxiety he may have had about working with one of his favorite actors show at all in his performance. This young actor was able to match Reynolds’ speech patterns and comedy delivery so impeccably to a point where he really does take on the role of a younger version of this man. His comedy timing and witty charm aren’t the only things that make this break-out actor stand out in this project – he also demonstrates an ability to dive into deeper human emotion than probably most kids his age are. I would expect a bright future ahead of him.

Overall, the performances from everyone in this cast were some of the best we’ve seen from these actors, and everyone had phenomenal chemistry. These performances will bring a tear to your eye if you’re a baby like me or have ever experienced losing someone you love so deeply. Reynolds, Scobell, Garner, Ruffalo, and Zoe Saldaña all maintain an emotional grasp on viewers throughout this movie that will have you thinking about it for at least a few days after your first viewing.

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In addition to an Amblin-esque original theme for the movie from composer Rob Simonsen, the entire soundtrack for The Adam Project fits the themes of the movie so well – which is to be expected from any Levy project at this point. Simonsen initially composed a theme that was richly futuristic in sound, but ultimately went with the traditional route of piano, a full orchestra, drums, synths, and ambiances to deliver “The Adam Suite Theme”, which expertly presents the theme for the entire movie. The soundtrack and the original theme isn’t the only creative place this movie delivers, though – as can only be expected following Free Guy last year, The Adam Project immediately opens to stunning visuals and incredible visual effects throughout the entirety of the movie.

In a movie where the future sucks big-time, The Adam Project still manages to finish out the third act with an overall sense of hope, positivity, and love. You don’t want to miss this one when it hits Netflix. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll laugh so hard you cry, and overall feel a deep warmth once the credits roll. This one-hour-and-forty-five-minute movie will provide you with a perfect escape from reality filled with wonder and joy.

The Adam Project is available to stream on Netflix globally on March 11, 2022.

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